The core belief and assumption of all gun grabbers is that if the government could somehow confiscated all guns in America, legal and illegal, that murders would go down.  This belief is fundamentally flawed as they do not or refuse to grasp the difference between criminal law and prohibitionist law nor the principal of enforceability.

We already know that laws against murder don’t stop psychotic murderers, murderers who are confident in their chances of not being found, or murderers who simply don’t care for the risk (of which these three categories make up a vast majority of all first degree homicide cases).  We simply have these as law as a means of quarantine and rehabilitation (although our system is rather ineffective at that second part).  We get murderers off the street so they can’t murder anymore and hope, with false confidence, that being locked up for 25 years makes them learn their lesson.

The issue is how this translates to certain firearm restrictions.  It isn’t the gun that is getting punished, it’s the person.  Does violating a zoning ordinance make a potential mass killer fear the legal repercussions of going into a gun free zone?  No.  Was the prohibition against creating destructive devices something that gave Timothy McVeigh any moral pause about the illegality of blowing up a federal building?  No.

Can Dianne Feinstein point to one bombing that didn’t happen because bombs are illegal?  No.

Can Chuck Schumer point to one shooting that didn’t happen thanks to a gun free zone?  No.

How can gun grabbers then claim things that banning “ghost guns” is going to prevent homicide with home made guns (something of which I don’t think is a statistical reality)?  They can’t.

How can anyone claim things like banning magazines of a certain size will mean shooters will necessarily reload at the 15, I mean 10, I mean 7, I mean 5 round limit?  Am I supposed to think that the shooter at Aurora, a person who created a bomb so elaborate it took federal agents all day to disarm, couldn’t grasp basic welding and a screwdriver to turn the materials of multiple 10 round magazines into a single +25 round magazine?  They are not elaborate, they’re basically metal pez dispensers.

Laws have different enforceability.

I go 55 on the road because the flow of traffic is that limit, correlating to an established common standard, and because of the reality of getting pulled over for speeding; and I want to conserve gas.  It’s not exactly a nefarious thing to go 70 instead, it’s not even considered a criminal act. Many good people have had instances of speeding.

It’s a gross false equivalence to say that what keeps people from making bombs, from making illegal modifications to guns, and from commuting mass homicide is the fact they are illegal and that people with suicidal tendencies are worried the police may try to arrest them after they act.

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Challenge Accepted!

Dec 29, 2013

Cooter Brown wrote: I challenge you to prove the God of the Abrahamic faiths (Jehovah/Yahweh) doesn’t exist.

Yes, the god of the Abrahamic myths can be demonstrated not to actually exist by pointing out fatal contradictions in that god’s alleged character.

There is a contractions between Abrahamic god’s alleged omnibenevolence and his creation of hell. Infinite compassion does not condone or abide infinite torture. This is a fatal contradiction which demonstrates that your god cannot logically exist.

There is another clash with beings claimed to be both intrinsically immortal and omnipotent (all powerful/can do anything). Your god cannot be both, take for example suicide. If your god cannot be killed (immortal) then killing itself is beyond its power, but if your god could kill itself then it by definition cannot be immortal?
It’s been argued that such an example is irrelevant because your god cannot do things that conflict with its nature. This, however, redefines omnipotence by taking "the ability to do anything" and adding "that doesn’t conflict with the beings other properties." By that new definition I am omnipotent as I have the ability to anything which doesn’t conflict with my other properties. By myself I cannot fly or breath water, not because I’m not omnipotent but because they conflict with my nature.

Divine free will and divine omniscience present another contradiction. Does your god know or does it not know that a certain individual will be good or bad? If your god knows then it necessarily follows that the individual is compelled to act as your god knew beforehand he would act, the individual would predestined; not free. If the individual were free and could choose to do otherwise, your god’s knowledge must be imperfect. These two ideas cannot both be true, therefore your god cannot logically exist.

A biblical example of this would be the myth of Adam and Eve. An omniscience god would have known about the serpent beforehand, there could be no divine anger as your god would have known they would not obey it and could have prevented it from occurring. It makes no more sense for your god to be angered by and punish Adam and Eve as it would if you decided to drop a brick from head level knowing that gravity would cause it would break something important to you.

The mythical flood of Noah is another example, your god is said to have brought the flood after becoming disappointed with its creation of mankind. Disappointment is the non-fulfillment of what one hopes; an omniscience being does not hope, it knows.

In Genesis 22:12 An angel of god stops Abraham from killing his son saying "…now I know that thou art a god-fearing man…" ‘Now I know’? An omniscience god would already know.

For stories concerning surprise, emotion, and reassessment to be true, divine omniscience must be false. As your god is said have engaged in these contradictions your god cannot logically exist.

Finally, your god is asserted to be perfect. This sets up a problem as illustrated by Matthew 7:18 which says "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." So a PERFECT GOD creates a PERFECT HUMAN and imperfection comes of it? How could a perfect being sin? We can’t say "because it just decides to" Why? What possible need would it be serving, an imperfect need? Where did the imperfect need come from?
When we work backwards to find the transition from perfection to imperfection the problem is unworkable. Freewill or not, perfect beings (human or gods) do not make imperfect choices. To argue otherwise is to argue that a good tree CAN bear bad fruit.

There is more but I’m out of space, needless to say your god is one gigantic mess of self-contradiction. As good as you might feel being deluded in your beliefs, your god cannot logically exist.

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Now that the proverbial shit has hit the fan about Phil Robertson, a devout Christian, expressing his devoutly Christian views on homosexuals to a writer from GQ Magazine, I would like to take a step back and point out the depressing stupidity of A&E and those who agree with them.

Phil Robertson

After the author writes “He is a man who preaches the gospel of the outdoors and, to my great envy, practices what he preaches.”  He then turns suddenly and writes “…here’s where things get a bit uncomfortable … he thumps that Bible hard enough to ring the bell at a county-fair test of strength.”  Now perhaps I do not find Bible thumping uncomfortable because I was raised in Phil’s religion but the author is a journalist, his personal feelings are irrelevant.  I suspect he inserted this tidbit to distance himself from the ideas he seems to think are criminal to express.

The author then writes something which, coming from a journalist, is entirely hypocritical.  “Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free.”  That’s right, too free, as in Phil’s freedom to express himself has crossed some sort of imaginary line and should be curtailed.  I wonder if the author of the article would appreciate being told that his freedom to write what he wants is a little too free.  This brings me to the gravamen of my case, free expression being trampled by political correctness.

Sarah Kate Ellis – GLADD

Nancy Dubac – A&E

With the congratulatory praise of GLADD, A&E responded to the article by removing Phil from the “reality show” based on his family.  What part of the article prompted this hard-handed response?  Well it wasn’t the creationist nonsense, it wasn’t even his anecdotal denial that blacks were mistreated during the civil rights era, it was the fact that Phil Robertson had the [audacity!] to SAY he thought homosexual sex was revolting to him; that he did not understand why a man would not prefer sex with woman.  Phil merely expressed in words his own ignorance concerning the person sex drive of other humans, not one mention of committing violence against homosexuals, which if he were true to what his religion actually says would be a given, just that he personally didn’t understand why anyone would engage in homosexual coitus.  A view which fits perfectly with the other religious views, nothing surprising about this.  A&E and GLADD would have us think that any dislike or inability to understand homosexuality is equivalent to hate, it isn’t, but that is also irrelevant.

This mole hill, turned mountain, reminds me of a lecture by the late Christopher Hitchens on the subject of hate speech where he recommended everyone take a refresher course on the classic texts on the matter; John Milton’s Areopagitica, “Areopagitica” being the great hill of Athens for discussion and free expression; Thomas Paine’s introduction to The Age of Reason.  The most pertinent being John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty in which it is variously said that it is not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard, it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen, and to hear.

Every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something.  In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as is the right of the other to voice his or her view.  If all in society were agreed on the truth and beauty and value of one proposition, all except one person, it would be most important, in fact it would become even more important, that that one heretic be heard, because we would still benefit from his perhaps outrageous or appalling view.  As Rosa Luxembourg said, freedom of speech is meaningless unless it means the freedom of the person who thinks differently.

Archie Bunker – All in the Family

When I first read what was happening the look on my face mirrored that of Archie (right).  I’m an atheist, I don’t think for one second that we should base modern society on the archaic manuscripts which include such things as the death penalty for unruly children or working on the Sabbath.  I think that gay relationships harm nobody and that gay marriages should be recognized and treated no differently than so-called traditional marriage.  I think Phil Robertson, like the fictional Archie Bunker, is a product of the time and place in which he was raised and there isn’t very much anyone can do to change him.  Phil Robertson isn’t attempting to force his personal views on others or calling for homosexuals to be persecuted in any way, his words caused no actual harm.  The appropriate response should be the same as it was with All in the Family.  People laughed at Archie Bunker’s bigotry because bigotry doesn’t deserve serious consideration.  They did not raise hell, complain about being offended and then call for his removal from the show.

GLADD and A&E are justifying the removal of Phil with the claim that what he said was offensive to their LGBT views.  Well I’m with Steven Fry in that “[i]t’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights.  It’s actually nothing more… than a wine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”  Seriously GLADD, what Robertson thinks has ZERO effect on your members.

I’ll close with a suggestion to Phil and his family, stick together.  As a family, refuse to take part in any further production until they reverse their decision.  I may not agree with Phill but I’ll be damned if I’m going to support GLADD and A&E forbidding everyone else from hearing what he has to say.

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By: Stephen P. Halbrook                        Published in The Washington Times                 Thursday, November 7, 2013

This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, the Nazi pogrom against Germany’s Jews on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Historians have documented most everything about it except what made it so easy to attack the defenseless Jews without fear of resistance. Their guns were registered and thus easily confiscated.

To illustrate, turn the clock back further and focus on just one victim, a renowned German athlete. Alfred Flatow won first place in gymnastics at the 1896 Olympics. In 1932, he dutifully registered three handguns, as required by a decree of the liberal Weimar Republic. The decree also provided that in times of unrest, the guns could be confiscated. The government gullibly neglected to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, while political extremists and criminals would not. However, it did warn that the gun-registration records must be carefully stored so they would not fall into the hands of extremists.

The ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power just a year later, in 1933. The Nazis immediately used the firearms-registration records to identify, disarm and attack “enemies of the state,” a euphemism for Social Democrats and other political opponents of all types. Police conducted search-and-seizure operations for guns and “subversive” literature in Jewish communities and working-class neighborhoods.

Jews were increasingly deprived of more and more rights of citizenship in the coming years. The Gestapo cautioned the police that it would endanger public safety to issue gun permits to Jews. Hitler faked a show of tolerance for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but Flatow refused to attend the reunion there of former champions. He was Jewish and would not endorse the farce.

By fall of 1938, the Nazis were ratcheting up measures to expropriate the assets of Jews. To ensure that they had no means of resistance, the Jews were ordered to surrender their firearms.

Flatow walked into a Berlin police station to comply with the command and was arrested on the spot, as were other Jews standing in line. The arrest report confirmed that his pistols were duly registered, which was obviously how the police knew he had them. While no law prohibited a Jew from owning guns, the report recited the Nazi mantra: “Jews in possession of weapons are a danger to the German people.” Despite his compliance, Flatow was turned over to the Gestapo.

This scenario took place all over Germany — firearms were confiscated from all Jews registered as gun owners. As this was occurring, a wholly irrelevant event provided just the excuse needed to launch a violent attack on the Jewish community: A Polish teenager who was Jewish shot a German diplomat in Paris. The stage was set to instigate Kristallnacht, a carefully orchestrated Nazi onslaught against the entire Jewish community in Germany that horrified the world and even the German public.

Under the pretense of searching for weapons, Jewish homes were vandalized, businesses ransacked and synagogues burned. Jews were terrorized, beaten and killed. Orders were sent to shoot anyone who resisted.

SS head Heinrich Himmler decreed that possession of a gun by a Jew was punishable by 20 years in a concentration camp. An estimated 20,000 Jewish men were thrown into such camps for this reason or just for being Jewish. The Jewish community was then held at ransom to pay for the damage done by the Nazis.

These horrific events were widely reported in the American media, such as The New York Times. After Hitler launched World War II, the United States made preparations in case it was dragged into the conflict. Just before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed a law noting the Gestapo methods and declaring that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed by such measures as registration of firearms.

Kristallnacht has been called “the day the Holocaust began.” Flatow’s footsteps can be followed to see why. He would be required to wear the Star of David. In 1942, he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he starved to death.

One wonders what thoughts may have occurred to Flatow in his last days. Perhaps memories of the Olympics and of a better Germany flashed before his eyes. Did he have second thoughts about whether he should have registered his guns in 1932? Or whether he should have obediently surrendered his firearms at a Berlin police station in 1938 as ordered by Nazi decree, only to be taken into Gestapo custody? Did he fantasize about shooting Nazis? We will never know, but it is difficult to imagine that he had no regrets over his act of compliance.

Today, gun control, registration and prohibition are depicted as benign and progressive. Government should register gun owners and ban any guns it wishes, Americans are told, because government is inherently good and trustworthy. The experiences of Hitler’s Germany and, for that matter, Stalin’s Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, are beneath the realm of possibility in exceptional America. Let’s hope so.

Still, be careful what you wish for.

Stephen Halbrook is research fellow with the Independent Institute and author “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State’” (Independent Institute, 2013).

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unburdened wrote:

you sound like a very unhappy person , that is sad, because the proof you ask for is the HOLY SPIRIT and I know when it happened to me I was in autopilot , i was raised in several different churches as a child and I wrote off alot of what i heard off because i didnt want to hear it, then one day during one of the worst times in my life, I felt I could not go on anymore, and I was ready to give up and I fell down on the floor and cried out to Jesus, time seemed to stand still, and i was lifted up by hands that were unseen and I literally felt my heart just pounded away but I felt such Peace like never before, I knew my heart had been changed from a self centered brat to someone who could get through any tough times. Since then I had a horse fall over backwards on me at a show and I came out without even a mark on me, I was in the middle of a bad wreck where my car had the front end smashed in about 5 months ago didnt even need to be checked out when the ambulance arrived. That is my proof, until you have that you will have a life of doubt and anger. God BLess you !

Once again we see another example of a favorite Christian Red herring, which is a logical fallacy that misleads or detracts from the actual issue. The scenario works like so, the Christian is confronted by a statement that he/she cannot refute and instead of admitting that they dodge and redirect by accusing the person confronting them with the statement of being angry, sad, or an otherwise unhappy person. This usually works when engaging with a novice but after you debate enough Christians you soon find that this tactic is VERY common, well I’m not falling for it unburdened.

My emotional state is irrelevant to the discussion. I’m not any of those things you say I sound like but even if someone in my position were, it would not effect the argument that your belief is founded in nothing but ancient myths and hearsay.

You’re anecdotal personal testimony is not evidence that anything in your religion is factual. It is merely evidence that you were in a desperate emotional state and in that state you decided to surrender your ability to think and deal with your situation. You took the lazy way out and surrendered your reasoning to a blind belief that a magic man, which just coincidentally happens to be the central figure of the religion in which you were raised, would somehow come to your rescue, like an invisible Superman.

Your alleged evidence that anything happened is first a subjective feeling that time stood still, something that others not only have experienced with different religions but that is documented to occur when the brain is under stress from a myriad of things. Second, a feeling that you were lifted up by hands that were unseen, something called the Ideomotor phenomenon. Mystics, and religions, attribute these effects to paranormal or supernatural forces and due to confirmation bias you assumed that your actions were originating from god.
You say you "felt such Peace like never before" which can also be attributed to endorphins being released in the brain as a response to intense emotional pain. Everything you describe can be explained through purely physical phenomenon and require no appeals to supernatural intervention.

Your other alleged evidence is also subject to your own confirmation bias. So you had a horse fall over backwards on you at a show and you came out without a mark, are you the only one to have ever survived something like that? I doubt it. You were in the middle of a bad wreck where your car had the front end smashed in about 5 months ago didn’t even need to be checked out when the ambulance arrived, which means the vehicle did exactly as it was designed and absorbed the impact energy before it effected you. You should think the car engineers for saving your life, not some invisible silent magic man.

unburdened wrote:

I have my beliefs you have yours

This is a meaningless tautology. It’s way of appearing to say something without saying anything at all. Of course we have have differing beliefs, why else are we have this discussion. What you really mean to convey, I think, is that you have your reasons for assuming what you believe, reasons which I just showed be fallacious, and that you don’t care that they are fallacious. You believe things not because they are objectively true but for no other reason than they make you feel good about believing them. You enjoy having your beliefs, like a child enjoys having a favorite toy, and would rather ignore the hard truth of reality in favor of a reassuring fable; we all know children are not fond of giving up their favorite toy.

unburdened wrote:

I am not wasting my time bantering with you any further , I am here to share with other Christians and not argue , enjoy this world it will be all you get.

I’m sorry that you actually think scrutinizing extraordinary claims is a waste of time. I’m sorry you do not value truth, and I’m not talking about the pseudo-"truth" asserted by religious adherents, I’m talking about objective, verifiable truth founded on good reason and evidence.

You seemed not to think you were wasting your time sharing your so-called miraculous brushes with death. I know it must have burst your magical bubble to have it explained why those things were not so miraculous. Now you’ve seemingly run out of magical anecdotes and personal testimony of spooky experiences and want to run from the discussion. I understand.

The thing is if you want to share things with other Christians there is a place for that, it’s called church. In church you can control who talks and legitimately silence dissenting views and bothersome questions. On the other hand this is Topix and though you may wish to engage in self righteous back-patting and mutual confirmation of your fables, you can’t control who responds to those claims. If you’re claims had any merit to them whatsoever you should welcome criticism. If your claims had any basis in reality then they should be able to withstand any amount of criticism thrown their way. Can not truth defend itself from error?

As your claims cannot stand up to even the innocent questions of children, they stand no chance at all against the questions of rational adults with the instant fact checking offered by the Internet.

But thanks, I will enjoy this world and the actual marvels that reality has to offer, marvels that put to shame things like silly stories of burning bushes. I choose to be thankful that I have a life, and will forsake any vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. I hope you eventually open your eyes to reality. It would be a waste to spend your entire life chasing empty promises of pie in the sky.

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 ]

Committed to HIM wrote:
The atheists do not have the capacity to understand that a true believer of Christ is inseparable from their faith. All that I am or could ever be has been made complete through the blood of Jesus Christ!
To summarize , an atheist is anti-Christ, refusing even God’s existence. They, not even recognizing Him, can’t begin to have understanding. The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of The Holy One is understanding. Therefore , understanding is impossible because they know not The Holy One!
I am thankful I know The Holy One. Any other believers thankful on this Lord’s day?

johnheadBut I was a true believer that Jesus as the son of god and after realizing what faith actually was and finding no evidence to justify holding such a view I gave it up.

Oh but then I must not have been a TRUE believer, I must have been fucking faking it all those years. Yea, that’s a no-true-Scotsman fallacy so you can take that excuse and shove it. People are allowed to change their minds and just because they changed their mind doesn’t mean they never believed it was real. Sometimes when people realize they are living in a fantasy they manage to grow a pair, question why it is they believe and eventually free themselves from the mental delusions of their peers.

Call me an anti-Christ if you like, in fact you can call me any number of derogatory names as many times as you like. But no matter what you call me it will not change the FACT that you have the same amount of evidence that Jesus was “the anointed one”, that he was born of a virgin, that he changed water in the wine, that he cured people with touch, that he brought the dead back to life, or that he himself rose from the dead and fucking flew to heaven as a Muslim has that Mohammad was a prophet of Allah. The only thing you have is faith; blind, ignorant, gullible acceptance that the writings of middle-east story tellers are actually true. You willingly choose to abandon reason and skepticism because believing you are the center of the cosmos makes you feel good, believing that you have an eternal parent that will not let you die makes you feel good, not having to think and make tough decisions on your own feels good, and believing that people who fail to agree with you will be tormented by some malevolent deity for eternity makes you feel good.

People take drugs because it allows them to escape reality. Religion is how you escape reality, religion is a drug and you are absolutely addicted to it. You will fight tooth and nail to keep getting your next fix just like any other addict. You come here to have people confirm your delusion and kill off any seeds of doubt that might happen to take root in that wonderful brain of yours.

You demonstrate this by making completely nonsensical assertions such as “fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom” which is a baseless argument from authority. You mean to tell me that a god that supposedly loves his creation needs to be feared? That is one of the great contradictions of your religion.

“knowledge of The Holy One is understanding” is another example of a completely vapid statement. Knowledge is demonstrable, please demonstrate the existence of this alleged “Holy One” that loves us to such a degree that we should fear it.

“I am thankful I know The Holy One.” Well I’m not convinced that you know anything actually. If you know something then demonstrate how you know, if you have faith then you do not know it, you are simply choosing to believe it in the absence of evidence. You have no right to make shit up and assert without reason that you know it to be true, we will not let you get away with it unopposed.

doom

Prophet of Jesus Christ wrote:  That right there is disrespectful. And you are a liar. You do not respect me.

Can you not separate yourself from the religious bullshit you profess?

“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” – Thomas Jefferson

Prophet of Jesus Christ wrote:  Thomas Jefferson is in hell. You will be able to ask him about that when you get there.  Tell him the Prophet of Jesus Christ, sent you.

Actually Thomas Jefferson is dead and his body is in the ground. The same place you and I will be one day baring some other form of disposal for our biomass. Hell is a fabrication of humans and used as part of the old carrot and stick routine.

Here is how it works. Christianity has to convince everyone they were created sick, worm-like, contemptible, and worthless. Once the preachers of Christianity have succeeded they conveniently offer a cure. The cure is the complete and utter abandonment of reason and the surrender of your mind to the Christian dogma. The cure is appealing to some as Christianity promises that you do not have to think for yourself, it will tell you what to think and how to think. The reward for this utter abandonment of your own mind and your being complicit with the human sacrifice of a Jew named Jesus is eternity in heaven. Some preachers even talk about streets made of gold and mansions for everyone; a transparent appeal to human greed. It sounds really nice but it is a fantasy with absolutely no evidence, yet wishful thinking has a very powerful effect on humans. That’s the carrot part now let’s talk a little about the stick.

What about people who might begin to question and doubt the claims of the charlatans and hucksters who are raking in all that free money from the credulous followers of Jesus. The seeds of doubt grow very fast when planted in bullshit. What about those pesky people who dare to point out the contradictions in the Bible and ask for, the most contemptible thing of all, evidence. Evidence which supports the claims underlying the Christian religion. Well this is where the stick comes into play.

HELL!! Yes, that magical realm of unquenchable fire where people are roasted alive and tormented by demons yet cannot die. Throughout history every possible nightmare scenario that could possibly be imagined has been incorporated into the fantasy of hell. Give Dante’s Inferno a read, it’s some of the best torture porn you’ll every read. Like you, some people get off imagining other people being burned alive in agony. I have to give the hell fantasy props, it works on some people.

The problem is that I am not "some people". I am part of an ever-growing group of free thinking individuals who have begun to live, not according to supernatural authority, but according to reason. Reason demands evidence and there is absolutely no evidence that such a place exists. It’s nothing more than an adult version of the Boogie Man. Telling me, an Atheist, that I am going to hell is no different from telling me there are monsters under my bed.

I’m sorry you’re mind is not your own. I’m sorry that you are trapped in such a childlike religious mindset and are unable to experience reality for what it really is and not just what you wish and pretend it to be. I’m sorry that instead of considering that your religion might be entirely made up, you would rather imagine me and others being burned at the hands of some devil with a pitch fork and pointy tail. I’m sorry that you’re still trapped in the religion from which I was able to free myself. I hope you eventually experience reality before the one life you will ever have is over with.

Matt Dillahunty is a public speaker, internet personality and was the president of the Atheist Community of Austin until May, 2013.

 

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.