(3701) Childhood cancer
Christians make plenty of excuses for their god when confronted with many of the daunting realities of life, but the ones they present to explain why children get cancer and die at young ages do not defend the dogma that God is both omnipotent and merciful. The following was taken from:
Maybe there is a God. Maybe there isn’t. But if we apply human logic to a divine being, I believe we can conclude that a merciful God would never allow children to die of cancer.
There is no reason for a child to die slowly, agonizingly, possibly knowing their end is near and having to deal with the existential dread. This seems cruel and sadistic to allow this to happen if you have the power to stop it.
I’ve heard a few reasons people have given, but none of them have even tried to explain the rationale behind an All Powerful, and merciful God allowing a child to die of cancer.
One reason was that life is a test. So, did these children fail God’s test? This is such a ridiculous reason because a child died way too young and didn’t even get a chance to study for this sadistic test. They were too young to understand the concepts of heaven/hell, sins and free will. Why not set a minimum age for these “tests”? It doesn’t seem fair that some murderers have lived a long comfortable life while children have died young and painfully. It seems unjust to allow that to happen when you are all powerful and have the power to stop/prevent it.
Some people say God will ensure that children that die young will get the highest place in heaven. Sounds great. Only one problem. Why did they have to suffer for months before getting this place in heaven. Couldn’t a merciful God let the children die quicker and painlessly? Also, is it fair that the children’s family have to suffer in this lifetime in order to secure this child’s place in heaven? The child most likely didn’t ask to be separated from their family. So why make this choice for them, because the child sure as hell didn’t make the choice.
Another reason is that God works in mysterious ways. The biggest cop out excuse I’ve ever heard. Oh yeah let’s let kids who’ve barely begun life, suffer and die in a slow, agonizing way. That’s real mysterious all right. Not even Sherlock Holmes could deduce the logic behind such a reason. Maybe it was population control? Too many people would cause civilization to collapse. Deaths must occur to bring balance to life? Seems kind of ridiculous right? Especially since God could take out so many other people in order to ensure population control. Children should be the lowest priority. But who are we to question this mysterious God’s logic.
If you believe God is merciful, and you don’t think God allows children to die of cancer, that technically means don’t believe God interferes in this universe. Meaning God may exist as a force that created the universe but doesn’t interfere in it. That means your prayers do nothing and your religion is man made.
If you believe God interferes in this universe, that means God allows children to die, slowly, painfully of Cancer. That means God is not merciful.
So which is it?
A god who is silent, invisible, callous, and mysterious might just be a god that doesn’t exist. Childhood cancer seems to indicate that if there is a god, it is either not omnipotent or not merciful. Christians will have a hard time picking one of these two options.
(3702) Six harms of Christianity
A religion created and guided by the ultimate supreme authority of the universe should provide unmitigated benefits for humankind. Yet, in the following we see six areas where the practice of Christianity does real world harm:
I walked away from Christianity about 2 years ago and haven’t been back to church since. I’ve always been someone who questions things and just wanted to share my biggest reasons for walking away. I now believe Christianity is detrimental to the growth of the human mind and here’s why…
1) Child indoctrination / Mind control: This is up there with one of my bigger issues. The fact that children never get to choose what they believe from birth. It really messes with your head as someone who has been through child indoctrination myself. Your brain begins to believe the myths and it’s hard to discern what’s actually real and what’s not. But more importantly, you’re taught to not question the myths. It’s circular logic when you’re always referring back to the bible for truth. It’s literal mind control even if the parents don’t know, that’s what they’re doing.
2) Abortion and Christian nationalism: I don’t think most Christians know this, but through my research, I discovered that abortion wasn’t even a national discussion until the 1950s (when Brown vs Board came along.) Essentially Christians used abortion as a tool to get people on the right fired up to keep schools segregated. People like Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafley, and the moral majority made this an essential issue for the right. So really the issue was never about abortion, but has now morphed into something even worse. Christian nationalists who are brainwashed to believe it is God telling them that women shouldn’t abort their child. Which means their political strategy ultimately worked. Christians have been indoctrinated to believe abortion is a moral issue and not one that is up to the woman herself. I personally believe a man should never have the right to tell a woman what to do with their body. It’s now becoming more and more common for these anti-abortion laws to be put in place, and can lead to even more unhealthy ways of abortion with women having to work around these laws.
3) History of racism and justified violence: As a person of color (I’m black) this was another big issue for me. I never understood why or how my own people could believe in something that was the religion of the oppressor. I can understand it from one hand, being that we were never given much in America from the beginning (and it’s all we had to fall back on that gave us hope.) On the other hand, it amazes me how blindly devout we are. I personally believe this comes from slavery and through generations, whites in the past used this as a tool to distract us from fighting back and using our own critical thought. And it’s still working to this day. And we all know the justification of violence during slavery, lynchings, Jim crow, and the like. That’s just my personal belief though as a black person who struggled with their identity in religion.
4) Sexism, patriarchy, and purity culture: I’ve seen first hand Christians use the bible as a way to justify sexism. (They don’t view it as such) but some will say they don’t allow female preachers. Or the way the bible tells them, the man is the head of the household and the women is made to serve the man. I think that’s some bullshit. It’s just a way to keep women in line so they never have their own mind, or become independent. Because if you can keep a woman naive and dependent, she will never question your authority. And that’s not real love. That’s abuse. Also with purity culture, we all know how much that fucks people up, especially women. It is a direct violation of what’s completely natural in human sexual development and I hate it so much.
5) Denial of science: This mythical and magical belief system never worked for me. I was indoctrinated to never think about how the world and humans were created. I just accepted the fact that it was designed by God and I never put two and two together to ever challenge that. Now that I’m more mature and educated in my beliefs, I realize how much time I wasted ignoring the science. I think a lot of Christians are very afraid of admitting that there is nothing in the afterlife and that you just die. I think it scares them to death. Which leads them to pray harder, convert more non-believers, always live harder for God. It’s this constant state of circular shame to where you always “need God” to make you whole. It’s essentially co-dependancy on something that isn’t even real.
6) Gay conversions and fake love: This one speaks for itself. How many gay men and lesbian women have been messed up by this conversion therapy over the years? The evidence is there. I never agreed with this version of fake love of “accepting” gay men and women into your church, but on the inside you reject them. That’s not real love either. In the end, Christians only accept them because they want to change them. Otherwise why would you “accept” them if it’s not in your core belief system?
This is certainly just a partial list. Other problems created by Christianity include a tendency to dismiss long-term environmental concerns (because of inculcating a belief that Jesus is soon to return), its more than tacit acceptance of slavery, the endorsement of taking violent actions against non-believers, and the hideous concept of multi-generational punishment. It seems that a religion created by a god would have a much better track record.
(3703) Confused Christians in hell
Most Christians envision hell to contain atheists, agnostics, and followers of other religions (some give a pass to Jews), but there is scripture as well as the caustic banter of evangelical preachers that suggests that it will also contain many self-professed Christians.
The following scripture supports this view:
Matthew 7: 21-23
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’
The following was taken from:
Just saw a video with some of the super toxic ideas that I was raised with, claiming that “Hell will be filled with Christians.” It claimed that tons of people will be surprised to find themselves being fried for eternity because they found out they had been lied to and followed a false gospel.
And, no pun intended, WHAT. THE. HELL. It makes absolutely zero sense that someone who thought they were doing everything Cheezus wanted them to do would die, and God would be like, “Welp, sorry, you didn’t interpret my confusing ass book in the exact right way, so I’m not gonna just give you the benefit of the doubt and let you in anyway since I could never be bothered to just come down to earth and clear up exactly what I want people to do to be saved.” What kind of monster god would do that?
And that’s not even talking about the rest of the people in the world who genuinely think they’re in the right worldview, but after they die God is like, “Oh, sorry, you were wrong, and you should have figured that out. You are going to be tortured for all of eternity now.”
I can’t get my head around how I used to believe this shit. It’s just so stupid. Literally stupid.
This brings out the point that many people will be sent to hell because they were confused by a confusing book, and who never quite figured out the correct formula for gaining a ticket to heaven.
(3704) The missing evidence
There are lots of things that could demonstrate that a supernatural being was involved in creating or managing the universe. However, none of them are observed. The following was taken from God – The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger:
1) Purely natural processes might have been proved incapable of producing the universe, as we know it, from nothing. For example, the measured mass density of the universe might not have turned out to be exactly what is required for the universe to have begun from a state of zero energy, which we assume is the energy of nothing. This would have implied that a miracle, the violation of energy conservation, was required to produce the universe.
2) Purely natural processes might have been proved incapable of producing the order of the universe. For example, suppose the universe were not expanding but rather turned out to be a firmament (as the Bible says it is). The second law of thermodynamics would require that the universe always had total entropy less than maximum in the past. Thus, if the universe had a beginning, that beginning would have to be one of order imposed from the outside. If the universe had no beginning but extended indefinitely into the past, then we still would need to account for the source of the ever-increasing order as we go back in time.
3) Purely natural processes might have proved incapable of producing the complex structure of the world. For example, the age of Earth might have turned out to be too short for evolution. Simple processes might not have been able to produce complex structure.
4) Evidence was found that falsified evolution. Fossils might have been found that were inexplicably out of sequence. Life-forms might not have all been based on the same genetic scheme. Transitional species might not have been observed.
5) Human memories and thoughts might have provided evidence that cannot be plausibly accounted for by known physical processes. Science might have confirmed exceptional powers of the mind that it could not plausibly explain physically. Science might have uncovered convincing evidence for an afterlife. For example, a person who has been declared dead by every means known to science might return to life with detailed stories of an afterlife containing information he could not possibly have known and is later verified as factual, such as the location of the nearest planet with life.
6) A nonphysical channel of communication might have been empirically confirmed by revelations containing information that could not have been already in the head of the person reporting the revelation. For example, someone in a religious trance might learn the exact date of the end of the world, which then happens on schedule.
7) Physical and historical evidence might have been found for the miraculous events and the important narratives of the scriptures. For example, Roman records might have been found of an earthquake in Judea at the time of a crucifixion ordered by Pontius Pilate. Campsites might have been found in the Sinai Desert.
8) The void might have been found to be absolutely stable, requiring some action to bring something rather than nothing into existence.
9) The universe might have been found to be so congenial to human life that it must have been created with human life in mind. Humans might have been able to move from planet to planet, just as easily as they now move from continent to continent, and be able to survive on every planet without life support.
10) Natural events might follow some moral law, rather than morally neutral mathematical laws. For example, lightning might strike mostly wicked people; people who behave badly might fall sick more often; nuns would always survive plane crashes.
11) Believers might have had a higher moral sense than non-believers and other measurably superior qualities. For example, the jails might be filled with atheists while all believers live happy, prosperous, contented lives sur- rounded by loving families and pets.
But none of this has happened. The hypothesis of God is not confirmed by the data. Indeed that hypothesis is strongly contradicted by the data.
The only way for a theist to argue around this point is to conjecture that God deliberately designed the universe to conceal this hand in the works. This reality has caused a lot of intelligent people to disbelieve and therefore could theoretically become victims of God’s camouflage.
(3705) Jesus did not call himself the Son of Man
Although Jesus is considered by Christians to be the Son on God, according to the gospels he often referred to himself as the ‘Son of Man.’ This is a reference to prophetic scripture in the Book of Daniel. In the following it is argued that Jesus himself would not have made this association, and that it was likely an erroneous attempt by the author of the Gospel of Mark to tie Jesus to Jewish scripture:
The historical Jesus (bless him) could not have claimed to be the “Son of Man,” as that would reveal a fundamental ignorance and contradiction of the alluded source text in the Book of Daniel – which is not what one would expect from a Tanakh-literate Rabbi.
According to the Gospel narratives, Jesus implied that he was the eschatological “Son of Man”:
“Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’” (Mark 14:61-62)
That was likely an allusion to Daniel 7, in which the prophet Daniel had a vision:
“I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven . And he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
At this point, it seems possible that Jesus could be the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision. The problem, however, is that Daniel was given the interpretation of his vision:
“…my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter.” (Dan. 7.15-17)
In the subsequent interpretation of Daniel’s vision, there was no “Son of Man” figure who received kingship, rather, the “son of man” from the vision was an allegory that represented the righteous Isralites and their people:
“..the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever…As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom….The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them .” (Dan. 7.18-27)
As an erudite Rabbi, the historical Jesus would have known that the “son of man” in Daniel’s vision was not a literal person, but an allegory which represented the “holy ones of the Most High.” Thus, he would not have contradicted that interpretation by claiming to be the literal “Son of Man” figure from Daniel’s vision.
This is another in a long series of failed attempts by the gospel authors to show that Jesus was the promised Jewish messiah. In almost every facet of the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus fails to fulfill the prediction. In this case, he is made to use a title that he most certainly would have considered ridiculous.
(3706) Lack of detail post-resurrection
There is a strange reticence of the gospel authors about providing details of Jesus after he had risen from the dead. According to the Book of Acts, this was a period of 40 days:
In my first book, O Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, 2until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. 3After His suffering, He presented Himself to them with many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a span of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
It would seem that after rising from the dead, there would have been an increased interest in knowing what Jesus was teaching the apostles, given that he had proven his divinity to an extent even beyond the miracles he allegedly performed before being crucified. However, when we compare the amount of text pre- versus post-resurrection, the difference is striking:
Mark: no details at all, just an empty tomb (discounting the fraudulent verses after Verse 16:8)
Matthew: 1 chapter out of 28
Luke: 1 chapter out of 24
John: 2 chapters out of 21 (though Chapter 21 is thought to have been not original)
What this hints at is that Jesus did not resurrect, and the belief that he did was based on visions, dreams, or made-up stories. Otherwise, there should be multiple chapters in each gospel detailing the 40 days he stayed on earth before ascending to heaven.
(3707) Christianity breeds self-deprecation
A true religion should result in people being elevated in their self-esteem and self-actualizing their potentials. It should not provide reasons for folks to look down on themselves or to act more as slaves than as masters. Christianity fails this test. The following was taken from:
These people are all about “I am nothing without my lord!” “What would I be without Jesus?”.
These people don’t realize that what they do and live by ultimately boils down to something that bears an uncanny resemblance to voluntary slavery and the constant worship of a higher being that demands them to praise its majesty at all times and cost while acknowledging how worthless they are without this being. It is pitiful really.
Christianity was invented at a time when personal worth was not given an elevated status. This is no longer true, but Christians are continually trained to see themselves as undeserving and therefore thankful that God has made a generous offer to save themselves from themselves.
(3708) Restaurant evidence
The anecdotal evidence (possibly limited mostly to the United States?) of how Christians treat servers at restaurants that they frequent after attending Sunday morning services is too consistent and numerous to ignore. This amount of rude and inconsiderate behavior lets us know that they are not human representatives of any god who is worthy of worship.
The following is a good example:
Many years back when my sister first started working as a restaurant server, I was definitely a non-believer but did still carry the idea that the church-going crowd was, as a whole, a good group of people.
Oh to have that idea shattered. She was the first to tell me what I have since heard repeatedly from other people I’ve known who have worked in restaurants (I have never done so) and also read countless times in various “recovering from religion” places like this, that the Sunday after-church crowd was the one that nobody wanted to deal with, and that shift was one people would fight over to not take. The people are rude and they don’t tip, and this was the same at drive-in casual restaurants and nicer sit-down restaurants.
It was rather jarring at first, but now it doesn’t surprise me at all.
Christian apologists often cite the theory (scripturally supported) that being connected to God makes you a new person, and that non-believers should be able to see the difference that becoming a Christian makes in their behavior. But time and time again, the evidence points in the opposite direction- that becoming a Christian makes a person overly-righteous, arrogant, inconsiderate, and rude. The restaurant facts lead to a conclusion- Christians are not tied to any supernatural source of love and graciousness.
(3709) How IVF muddies the soul theory
Conservative Christians who oppose abortion rights mostly believe that a soul enters an egg at the moment of fertilization. This ‘fact’ is used to oppose not only abortion but certain forms of contraception. But theories about when a soul enters an embryo become strained when the process of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is considered. The following was taken from:
The pro-life believer believes that fertilized eggs are ensouled. That means, at the point of fertilization, when sperm joins with ovum, a human being (with accompanying soul), which has some kind of equivalence with a fully grown adult human being, comes into existence.
What IVF clinics are doing, then, amounts to mass murder, according to such people. In creating lives, they are also discarding untold numbers of both viable and less viable fertilized eggs qua human beings. So they must believe. Though abortion clinics receive almost all of the attention from placard-wielding harassers, IVF clinics will arguably be responsible for far more “murders” and “human being deaths.” This 2017 piece estimates there are about a million frozen embryos in the US, and who knows how many are disposed of.
Now, of course, conception does not produce a human being.
But for pro-lifers (generally), it does. Human life, a human being, starts at conception. This is much of what underwrites the Catholic Church’s opposition to IVF. This opposition has caused a gray moral area, as The Irish Times has reported previously:
“IVF has been available in Ireland since 1986. So why didn’t the bishops tell us this before?” asks Helen, spokeswoman for NISIG. “I think this is going to put many couples into a dilemma.” The Catholic Church’s stance is that IVF is wrong under any circumstances, even when embryos are implanted within the woman’s body.
All conception must take place naturally within a woman’s body, says Father Doran. But if a child is conceived in vitro, that child will still be welcomed by God. There is no question of children being rejected for Christening and First Holy Communion because they were conceived through IVF, he stresses.
The decision on whether or not to avail of IVF, sperm donation, egg donation or other interventions is a personal “crisis of conscience” for Catholics, Father Doran explains. Should they decide to go ahead with such procedures, they would not be excommunicated. Nor would they be acting within the church’s teaching. In other words, they would be in a grey zone which is not a sin, but a “crisis”.
Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., is unequivocal: ‘The heart of the IVF process itself, the practice of joining sperm and egg together in the fertility clinic, remains an intrinsic evil, flowing from the decision to allow our offspring to be “manufactured.”’ This position has much to do with natural law theory and the way in which such babies are created as opposed to any issues with ensoulment.
These eggs, in their Petri dishes, suddenly have souls mysteriously attached to them. Somehow. Forgetting this piece of asserted magic, let’s think about how this works when the egg is frozen.
What happens to souls with a frozen embryo?
The Catholic Church, if that is any guide worth taking seriously, is purposefully vague on the matter. The Declaration on Procured Abortion from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1974 phrases the matter by hedging its bets:
This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation [implantation in the uterus]. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent…
In “Do Embryos Have Souls?” by Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center, he states:
[T]he moral teaching of the Church is that the human embryo must be unconditionally protected and treated as if it were already ensouled, even if it might not yet be so. It must be treated as if it were a person from the moment of conception, even if there exists the theoretical possibility that it might not yet be so. Why this rather subtle, nuanced position, instead of simply declaring outright that embryos are ensouled, and therefore are persons? First, because there has never been a unanimous tradition on this point; and second, because the precise timing of ensoulment/personhood of the human embryo is irrelevant to the question of whether we may ever destroy such embryos for research or other purposes.
Of course, no one knows. Because, really, they’re just making stuff up.
So, let’s have a go at presenting some scenarios. Do these souls themselves get “frozen?” Is there a warehouse in some corner of heaven where God stores souls frozen in stasis, in preparation for the point where their material counterparts might end up thawing and continuing their life journey? Or do they hang around in The Soul Bar in another dimension drinking together and regaling each other with tales of potential lives?
And if those human couples don’t have a subsequent need for their frozen eggs because one/two/three little ones are enough, do the souls just disappear from that warehouse or bar?
Poof! Like magic.
Or perhaps they get a shortcut straight into heaven proper.
The souls of dead babies or people with dementia are similarly problematic. Are they heavenly representations of their physical bodies?
Or, Does Mother Theresa try to spark up a conversation with a blastocyst? Are there countless blastocyst souls whizzing around heaven getting in “people’s” ways?
If this soul scenario means the soul is somehow unconnected to its earthly counterpart, then how can the soul be connected enough to the body that it deserves to be punished in hell or rewarded in heaven for what the earthly human decided to do in their life? The afterlife (or beforelife) soul has to have enough degree of aboutness or connectedness to the human material entity for punishment or reward of the soul (and not the human material entity) to be coherent and warranted.
On the one hand, the soul appears completely unconnected (say, if the soul of a blastocyst in heaven is generated as a potential—what the clump of cells might have become) to the material realm. On the other hand, it has to be connected, in order for the soul to have praiseworthiness or blameworthiness.
With all this in mind, according to pro-lifers, IVF most either be outright murder or soul-itary confinement.
Souls are a hugely problematic idea. And it’s beyond me how we can make sense of the claim that there is a transcendent iteration of use worthy of eternal blame or eternal reward. But, when we add in the theologically troublesome process of IVF, the problems become ever more Frozen embryos: A chance for souls to hang out in The Soul Bar.
There is no empirical or even anecdotal evidence for souls. Everything we know about our sense of being and consciousness appears to be tied to material structures in our brains. And even if we postulate the existence of souls, the manner in which they become attached to a physical form breaks down inside any IVF clinic. In science theories that fail to work at certain boundary conditions are discarded, and because the soul hypothesis fails its boundary condition test, it should be discarded.
(3710) Disconfirming evidence
In Victor J. Stenger’s book From God – The Failed Hypothesis it is shown that the use of logical thought processes are sufficient to disconfirm the theory of a god who creates and controls the universe:
1) A God who is responsible for the complex structure of the world, especially living things, fails to agree with empirical fact that this structure can be understood to arise from simple natural processes and shows none of the expected signs of design. Indeed, the universe looks as it should look in the absence of design.
2) A God who has given humans immortal souls fails to agree with the empirical facts that human memories and personalities are determined by physical processes, that no nonphysical or extraphysical powers of the mind can be found, and that no evidence exists for an afterlife.
3) A God whose interactions with humans, including miraculous interventions, have been reported in scriptures is contradicted by the lack of independent evidence that these miraculous events took place and the fact that physical evidence now convincingly demonstrates that some of the most important biblical narratives, such as the Exodus, never took place.
4) A God who miraculously and supernaturally created the universe fails to agree with the empirical fact that no violations of physical law were required to produce the universe, its laws, or its existence rather than nonexistence. It also fails to agree with established theories, based on empirical facts, which indicate that the universe began with maximum entropy and so bears no imprint of a creator.
5) A God who fine-tuned the laws and constants of physics for life, in particular human life, fails to agree with the fact that the universe is not congenial to human life, being tremendously wasteful of time, space, and matter from the human perspective. It also fails to agree with the fact that the universe is mostly composed of particles in random motion, with complex structures such as galaxies forming less than 4 percent of the mass and less than one particle out of a billion.
6) A God who communicates directly with humans by means of revelation fails to agree with the fact that no claimed revelation has ever been confirmed empirically, while many have been falsified. No claimed revelation contains information that could not have been already in the head of the person making the claim.
7) A God who is the source of morality and human values does not exist since the evidence shows that humans define morals and values for themselves. This is not “relative morality.” Believers and nonbelievers alike agree on a common set of morals and values. Even the most devout decide for themselves what is good and what is bad. Non-believers behave no less morally than believers.
8) The existence of evil, in particular, gratuitous suffering, is logically inconsistent with an omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent God (standard problem of evil).
It seems implausible that all of these points could be asserted in a world where the Christian god exists. The only god that might exist would be a deist god, a god that does not interfere in the natural order of the universe.
(3711) Belief came before visions
Many theories about how belief in Jesus’ resurrection originated center around the idea that the bereaved disciples saw visions of Jesus after he had died. This concept is reversed in Kris Komarnitsky’s article The Rationalization Hypothesis: Is a Vision of Jesus Necessary for the Rise of the Resurrection Belief? where he theorizes that a belief in the resurrection preceded any visionary experiences (which he believes were unnecessary to sustain the resurrection belief). The idea is that when a strongly held belief is disconfirmed by events, humans have a tendency to form new beliefs to protect the one that is threatened. The following was taken from:
Although the bereavement vision hypothesis is widely regarded as a plausible naturalistic explanation for the rise of the belief that Jesus was raised from the dead, I have never quite found this hypothesis completely convincing. This article draws on social psychology to propose what I believe is a better, or at least significantly complementary, explanation for the rise of the resurrection belief, followed by a critique of the bereavement vision hypothesis. (This article was also published at the blogsite Κέλσος on the same date: http://celsus.blog/2019/01/04/therationalization-hypothesis-is-a-vision-of-jesus-necessary-for-the-rise-of-the-resurrection-belief/.)
The conviction that Jesus was raised from the dead is found in the earliest evidence of Christian origins and appears to have come about almost immediately after Jesus’ death.1 How does one account for the rise of this extraordinary belief if the later Gospel accounts of a discovered empty tomb and corporeal post-mortem appearances of Jesus are legends, as many scholars believe is the case?
One popular answer to this question is that the resurrection belief came about as an inference from an unconsciously generated and cognitive dissonance reducing bereavement vision of Jesus, described by one proponent of the vision hypothesis as “an auditory and visual experience of Jesus alive and in heavenly glory.” 2 The vision hypothesis is supported by the fact that the Gospels often connect seeing Jesus with causing belief in Jesus’ resurrection, so a historically causal connection between the two seems natural. However, the earliest statements of Jesus’ appearances (1 Cor. 15.5-7) actually do not state any causal connection between the appearances of Jesus and belief in Jesus’ resurrection; they only state that Jesus appeared.
Additionally, the Gospel appearance traditions are trying to bolster belief in Jesus’ resurrection many years or decades after Jesus’ death, so they may simply be part of a legendary trajectory that is trying to ground the initial resurrection belief in hard evidence for apologetic purposes, just like the discovered empty tomb tradition does. If so, then it is possible that the resurrection belief came first, and then the visions of Jesus followed. Allowing for this possibility, this article attempts to improve on an already developed but I believe undervalued explanation for the rise of the resurrection belief that draws on the extraordinary human phenomenon of cognitive-dissonance-induced rationalization.
What is Cognitive-Dissonance-Induced Rationalization?
Cognitive-dissonance-induced rationalization is my own term used to describe a well-known aspect of cognitive dissonance theory that is most easily explained by asking the following simple question: How would Jesus’ most intense and ardent followers, those who thought or hoped he might be the Messiah, react to the harsh reality of Jesus’ death? For most people most of the time, the reaction in such a situation would be the depressing realization that expectations were wrong, that Jesus was not the Messiah as they had hoped. However, we humans have a tendency, when we deeply believe or want to believe in something, to look for and arrive at conclusions that confirm what we already believe or want to believe. This tendency can lead to extraordinary displays of rationalization when strongly held beliefs are inescapably disconfirmed by reality, even to the point of sometimes giving birth to new beliefs. The Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling explains this aspect of human nature this way:
An individual holds beliefs or cognitions that do not fit with each other (e.g., I believe the world will end, and the world did not end as predicted). Nonfitting beliefs give rise to dissonance, a hypothetical aversive state the individual is motivated to reduce….Dissonance may be reduced by changing behavior, altering a belief, or adding a new one. (Timpe 1999: 220, emphasis added)
It is important to emphasize that this article only draws on the rationalization aspect of cognitive dissonance theory, not the proselytizing aspect of cognitive dissonance theory that has not received as much support in social psychology studies and that some have tried to apply to Christian origins (e.g., Gager 1975: 37-49). In her 2006 Terry Lectures at Yale on human cognition and belief systems, Barbara Smith noted the “firmly established” support for the rationalization component of cognitive dissonance theory (2009: 4, cf. 1-24).
The first person to formally study how cognitive-dissonance-induced rationalization can lead to a new belief was Dr. Leon Festinger, one of the most highly respected researchers and professors in the field of social psychology.3 In one of his studies from the 1950s that would probably violate research ethics today, Festinger infiltrated a small cult group and observed firsthand the emergence of a new belief when their religious beliefs were disconfirmed by the harsh reality of events (Festinger et al. 1956). This study will be summarized below, followed by three other examples of cognitive-dissonance-induced rationalization leading to a new belief in three other religious groups: the Millerites, Sabbatai Sevi’s followers, and the Lubavitchers. These four examples will serve as models for an aspect of human nature that likely affects all of us to some degree and therefore likely affected Jesus’ followers – that people can sometimes come up with new, ingenious, and complex explanations in order to make sense of a disconnect between deeply held beliefs and the harsh reality of events.
Many historical examples exist where when a deeply held belief runs afoul of real-life events, it causes the adherents to form a new belief that saves the core of the original belief. This might have happened after Jesus’ crucifixion. It certainly seems more plausible than that the dead corpse of a human body re-animated as a zombie.
(3712) Debunking morality comes from God
The standard Christian doctrine that human morality is decided by God is ruptured when we look at the issue of homosexuality. It becomes clear that humans decide their own morality. The following was taken from:
I’m certain we all know the argument by now, the idea that without the bible, nobody would know what is moral and what isn’t. Now, those who notice that the vast majority of human civilization are and were formed without the Bible and almost all had laws comparable to and often better than Israel will point out that this clearly shows humanity can reason out morality on their own. This results in the counter-argument that God wrote the “law on our hearts” and that morality still comes from God even if not from the bible.
Now ignoring how this calls into question why we’d need the bible if God can give us inherent morality, it’s a pressing contradiction when it comes to the practice of Homosexuality.
Because, unlike the easy moral questions like rape and murder, there is no logical conclusion to be anti-homosexual that doesn’t rely on double standards or falsehoods. If you take those arguments to their logical conclusion, they are nonsensical. Let’s preview some of them:
Homosexuals can’t have kids. – So then it would be immoral to marry someone who is infertile. Immoral to continue having sex once you stopped having kids. Immoral to continue a relationship with a woman who is post-menopause. And immoral to just not want kids.
Homosexual activity can transfer disease- And so can heterosexual activity. Syphilis was eating the brains of straight people for centuries before HIV existed. The issue then is safe sex, not homosexual activity.
Homosexuals make worse parents. – Emphatically untrue. Homosexual parents are better parents on average. In terms of direct parenting, they are no different than heterosexual couples, but they are better on average because homosexual parents generally have to adopt or go through surrogacy. This means that they have to have an economic standing and direct planning that makes them far more likely to raise a child well. All parents who have to go through the above two mediums are better parents on average. The only study that “contradicts” this is one where they studied the children of homosexuals who were in a heterosexual relationship and came out after divorce. You don’t need a scientist to say that children of divorced parents are worse off.
This is the point where anti-homosexual Christians will rely on the idea that it’s bad “because God said so”. They might obfuscate it along the lines of, “well God designed it this way” or “God must have a reason”, but it all boils down to the same conclusion. A conclusion that you cannot get without the bible.
And this shows in human society as well. Most human societies had no problems with homosexual behavior, in fact, it was celebrated in many of them. It wasn’t until the Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity and Islam, took power that anti-homosexuality became the “norm”. This leads to the conclusion that without being directly told to hate it, humans will not be inclined to consider it to be wrong. And as shown by the above debunks, there is no logical way to come to a conclusion on your own.
This means that Christian morality is in fact not written on our hearts and in order to believe in them specifically, they have to be indoctrinated. And I use that word because many Christians, especially Evangelicals, consider modern homosexual tolerance to be a product of indoctrination, when in fact, history shows that the opposite is true.
Which in turn debunks the idea that Morality comes from God because it shows that Humans can figure out things on their own, and have done it without God’s influence.
It is a tragedy that homosexual people have suffered for centuries because a majority of people believed that a few Iron Age men were writing words emanating from the mind of God. The day is coming when the Bible will be retired and put on the shelf next to the Iliad and the Odyssey. That day cannot come to soon for non cis-gender people.
(3713) Atheism is the most efficient approach to life
Given the information that is readily available to every person, atheism is the most efficient way to approach life. This is because no religion has produced sufficient evidence to make their claims likely to be true. The following explains why being an atheist is life’s best place to be:
Compared to any religion atheism is the most efficient approach to life’s problems.
From a practical day to day point of view:
1) Atheism doesn’t carry all the baggage of religion – learning all about Thor, what he did, who his brother is, and what he did, and do all the things that are supposed to please and learn all the things not to do. Plus all the events and this set of songs, nightly obsequiousness to make sure your wishes are made known. And so on – a lot of stuff to do and think about, most of which doesn’t have any real world use, other than indoctrination. All that free time is amazing.
2) Atheist’s money can be better directed at causes that actually help people rather than enriching a religion’s coffers. Obviously, religious organizations can also do good but they tend to spend a lot of money promoting themselves too. In fact the 10 commandments are mostly self-serving, which says a lot.
3) Atheist’s time is 100% of their own choosing, unconstrained by the artificial calendar of religious ritual. That said, thanks Christianity for Christmas and Easter!
1) Theists have to be satisfied with “because God” -type of answers. Obviously with little proof or evidence, religious rationalizations tend towards adding more to the canon of things in order to explain things that can’t really be explained. This is commonly known as theology – the “philosophy” of religion, the practice of justifying one’s pre-existing belief by inventing more things to be believed. In this mode of thinking, being logically consistent, normally the lowest possible intellectual bar to pass muster, is held up as the highest of standards. That’s a lot of intellectual time and energy wasted.
2) Have to go against modern discoveries, learnings and understandings of the universe. One only needs to look at Creationism to “Intelligent Design” to see how theists have to twist themselves into knots, usually against reality, and always wrong, to justify their beliefs. And it should be noted that theists are some of the ones making these discoveries!
3) Atheists have the advantage of having a larger pool of ideas to work from without artificial constraints that have no bearing on discovering the truth, or a truth, or opening a path to truth. Without any intellectual obligations or a moral/social edifice to overcome, atheists are able to forge forward with fewer constraints.
4) Without a religious viewpoint interfering, atheists can make intellectual leaps into the dark whereas religions tend to put up intellectual walls – Darwin’s original idea challenged the idea that a god was necessary to create the diversity of life – how useful was that discussion in he end? Stephen J Gould termed NOMA, Non-Overlapping Majesteria as solution but it’s really avoiding the problem that religion needs to get out of the business of science.
1) Are able to see the world as a spectrum and navigate moral ambiguity, particularly in situations where theists have to rely on an ancient understanding of human nature. Thus theists have to question their entire moral foundations when confronted with modern thinking on topics such as women’s rights and sexual identity issues. What should be, at this point in human history, as obvious causes much hand wringing and broken people.
2) Can take lessons from all religions and pick and choose what works and discard what doesn’t. Religious morality is a system of continuous self-justification in the light of moral facts that point to the opposite. A good example of the “gay therapies” promoted largely by religions. More broken people!
3) Atheists aren’t made to feel bad for breaking rules that are part of a religion, and being free of said constraints, are allowed to discover their own leanings. This is important because modern laws, the real constraints, have already replaced religious laws for the most obvious things and encoded secular reasons into a framework for building a multi-cultural society. This is in opposition to religious law-making which is about preserving a mono-culture.
An atheist does not have to be dedicated to this position, but can be open to receiving evidence of a supernatural claim. To date, this evidence is lacking. Until then, assuming there are no gods is most efficient approach to life.
(3714) Ten most satanic ideas in the Bible
The Bible could have been a factual history of the Jewish nation and a supremely insightful guide for how to live one’s life to the maximum degree of happiness and fulfillment of the self and the community as a whole. This it is not. In fact, it can be theorized that if Satan and Yahweh are real characters, their names have been switched. The following lists the top ten ideas in the Bible that could readily belong in Satan’s quiver:
In my opinion, the ten most satanic ideas found in the Bible are: (1) hell/eternal damnation/eternal torture, (2) predestination with an all-powerful, all-controlling God determining who would be “saved” and who would be “damned” long before they were created, (3) genocide of entire nations and cities including women and children, (4) ethnic cleansing, (5) the stoning to death of boys for misdemeanors and girls for not bleeding on their wedding nights, (6) sex slavery including fathers selling their own daughters as sex slaves, (7) slavery, (8) women being hounded as “witches” and sometimes being murdered for supernatural “crimes” that did not occur and could not have been proved if they did, (9) the brainwashing required to persuade billions of people to believe such evil nonsense is the “wisdom of God,” (10) the enforcement of this bizarre religion on innocent children by their own parents and other adults they trust.
As an atheist it is easy to see Christians as being hypnotized zombies looking at a cesspool and marveling over its beauty and pleasant scents. It is mind-blowing to witness how indoctrination can control a human mind from childhood to senescence. The stench of the Bible is right there before their eyes and noses, but they can’t see or smell it unless they make an extraordinary effort to wake up.
(3715) David was the Jewish Hitler
Christians routinely sing songs extolling King David of the Bible, Given the facts, this is similar to German people in the 1930’s and 1940’s singing “Sieg Heil!” David was the Jewish Hitler. The following was taken from:
The Bible makes little sense because it claims that its “god” was all-wise and knew the future before it happened, and yet he made mistakes. A “god” who knew the future could have foreseen, for instance, that Saul would be a terrible king. He could also have foreseen that David would be an even more terrible king. David was clearly not the “man after God’s own heart,” if Jesus is the example. Rather, David was the Jewish Hitler. He killed every woman when he “smote the land.” He ordered the slaughter of the lame and blind when Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites because he “hated” the handicapped. Jesus, of course, had compassion for the handicapped.
David tortured people in brick kilns (ovens), shades of the Nazis! And David never repented, because with his dying breath he commanded the assassination of Joab, ostensibly for having shed innocent blood. But it was David who had offered Joab the captaincy of his armies for murdering the handicapped. David was the Jewish Hitler, and the antithesis of Jesus.
1 Samuel 27:9 — “And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive…”
2 Samuel 5:8 — “And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”
2 Samuel 12:31 — “And he [David] brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.”
1 Chronicles 20:3 — “And he [David] brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
It takes a spectacular detachment from sanity and reality to praise and honor a figure like King David, no matter whether he was real or fictional. Christians have been robotized to parrot the words to songs like “David the Mighty Soldier,” “Only a Boy Named David,” and “Hosanna to the Son of David.” It is no different than a German person in today’s world singing “Hitler was our Man!”
(3716) Inventing hell was likely a play for power
If you cannot convince somebody that you will give them a big reward, then threaten them with a severe punishment, and then they will do what you want. That seems to have been the strategy of Christian theologians in the first few centuries of the modern era. Promising heaven didn’t give them the degree of power that they sought, so they invented hell to scare people into compliance. The following was taken from:
So how did “hell” enter the Bible? Ironically, the only Jews who believed in “hell” at the time of Jesus were the Pharisees. We know this from the Jewish historian Josephus, a contemporary of Paul. The Pharisees probably “borrowed” the concept of “hell” from the pagan Greeks after Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East during the “silent” period between the writing of the OT and NT. Like the ancient Greeks, the Pharisees undoubtedly found that the threat of “hell” increased their power, revenues and profits. Later, when the pagan Roman emperor Constantine demanded that Catholic bishops “come together” and agree on what became known as the Nicene Creed, he commissioned fifty Bibles, a huge and very expensive undertaking in those days.
It seems possible that the more hellish verses may have entered the Bible at that time, as “hell” was a great way to scare up money and put even more power in the hands of church and state. The verses about slaves obeying their masters and citizens obeying unjust rulers could have been added at the same time, for similar reasons. Can any Christian believe that Jesus Christ would have endorsed slavery, or people blindly obeying rulers like Hitler (or Constantine)?
It should be self-evident that no god, whether good or evil, would create a hell for even the most evil person in history. It is beyond obvious that that it was nothing more than a scare tactic, and one that proved amazingly effective.
(3717) Instructions to women
In one the most cringe-worthy passages of the Bible, Paul (allegedly, but most likely an impostor) presents instructions for women as follows:
1 Timothy 2: 9-15
Likewise, I want the women to adorn themselves with respectable apparel, with modesty, and with self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess to worship God.
A woman must learn in quietness and full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression. Women, however, will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
– women should only wear modest and inexpensive clothing
– they should not wear anything (rings, necklaces, etc.) that contains gold or pearls
– they must not braid their hair
-they should not teach men, but only other women
-when they are being taught by men, they should remain silent and submissive
-women are are damned because a fictional woman in a fictional garden committed a fictional sin by giving a fictional apple to a fictional man to eat after being seduced by a fictional talking snake
-to be saved from this curse, they must bear children
You would be hard pressed to find a single Christian today who would agree with any of the seven points above. So, it must be asked, why is this in the Bible?
An apologist would likely make the point that these edicts were appropriate for their time and place, but no longer apply to the present day (while simultaneously saying that morality is never-changing and that the Bible remains the best guide for modern life).
But there is a problem that seems to be insurmountable. If God truly is omnipotent and that he desired for the Bible to be his message to humanity, then why did he allow these verses to make the cut? Wouldn’t he have known how outdated they would become, and thus create an embarrassment for his ‘book.’
The only rational explanation is that a misogynistic man wrote these verses and that he did it out of his own mind, without the guidance of any god, spirit, or son of a god.
(3718) John of Patmos was a lunatic
The author of Revelation, allegedly named John of Patmos, was out of his mind, likely psychotic, and for sure not the same John that allegedly accompanied Jesus. The fact that this book was included die-legitimizes the Bible in total. The following was taken from:
As we count down to 2012, should anyone believe the Revelation of John of Patmos aka John the Divine? Or is the book of Revelation full of errors, contradictions and false prophecies? Was the writer of the Apocalypse a prophet, or a deeply disturbed lunatic?
Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books.”
Thomas Jefferson considered Revelation “merely the ravings of a maniac.”
Martin Luther said “Christ is neither taught nor known in it.”
John Calvin “had grave doubts about its value.”
Mark Twain said, “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” What bothers me about the Revelation of John of Patmos is not the parts I don’t understand, but the parts I do understand: the parts where God, Jesus Christ and the Angels abandon every ethical teaching enshrined in the Bible and becoming a pack of rabid, religion-besotted serial killers.
Clearly, the book of Revelation is full of errors and horrors. And the errors and horrors are not only factual, scientific and prophetic, but also theological, because John of Patmos clearly refuted core Christian beliefs. For example, John called Jesus the “bright and morning star” when that was Lucifer’s designation (Isaiah 14:11-15). John then went on to describe a God who acts like the Devil: killing women, children and innocent animals, then torturing human beings with fire and brimstone, “in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels.” What sort of “God,” what sort of “lamb” and what sort of “angels” torture other beings with fire and brimstone, or sit idly by and watch them being tortured? Will heaven be like Auschwitz? Will Jesus Christ turn out to be another Mengele and God the Father another Hitler?
In his bizarre, palpably evil “revelation,” John of Patmos said Jesus would kill the children of an adulteress “with death.” Crude grammar aside, according to the Bible, Jesus rescued an adulteress from being stoned, so why would he kill innocent children for something their mother did, when the act didn’t merit death even for her? Why do so many Christians insist on turning Jesus into a woman-killer and a child-killer, when they say he will return to destroy multitudes of non-Christians? Good men do not kill women and children purposefully for any reason, and to kill anyone, even an adult, for having sex is barbaric. When Christians calmly assume that having sex is a valid reason for other people to be killed, then tortured for all eternity, one must question whether they believe that Jesus Christ is actually the Devil. If like John of Patmos they believe Jesus will kill children because adults have sex, they make him seem perverse beyond all belief.
Of course one can “prove” that their is an afterlife, or the God exists, or that Jesus continues to live in some other dimension. But it almost seems not to matter, to me. What’s the point of “belief” if the the only “hope” is that beings worse than Hitler and Mengele will allow their obedient slaves to watch them kill, then eternally torture, other human beings?
And why such unbelievable punishments for trivial things like eating, drinking and having sex? According to John of Patmos, Christians are condemned for eating food sacrificed to idols, but according to Jesus, Peter and Paul, all food is clean. Paul said that he could eat food offered to idols with a clear conscience. Jesus said that it is what comes out of our mouths (words) that we should worry about, not the food we ingest. Among Christians, only the Judaizers that Paul opposed so vehemently believed certain foods were “unclean.” Obviously, John of Patmos was a Judaizer. There is no reason to worry about food being offered to idols, because the “gods” represented by idols are not real. So John of Patmos was a superstitious man, according to Jesus, Peter and Paul, if he believed that offering food to a nonexistent “god” made it “unclean.”
That John is a Judaizer is clear, because even if a church is doing well, it must continue doing works to be saved. Salvation is not by grace, but depends on works, eating the right things, not having the wrong kind of sex, etc. This is clearly illustrated in these verses:
Revelation 20:12-13—And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
So obviously grace had nothing to do with salvation, according to John. The only thing that mattered was works.
It is also important to note that Hades was not “hell,” but the grave. This is also true for the Hebrew word Sheol. Sheol and Hades were not hell, but the grave or the abode of all the dead (not just the “wicked”). It makes no sense to say that God sent people to “hell” only to judge them and decide that they were righteous, after all. So Bibles such as the KJV are obviously wrong when they translate Sheol and Hades as “hell.” Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol; King David said God would be with him if he made his bed in Sheol (i.e., if he died); the sons of Korah said God would redeem them from Sheol; and Israel himself said that he and Joseph would be reunited in Sheol.
Obviously, they were not talking about a place of eternal suffering that could never be escaped. They were talking about the grave: a place where there would be no more suffering. But Christians have been terrified of a place called “hell” for centuries because of a Bible they fail to understand. There is no reason to believe in a place called “hell” as a revelation of an all-knowing God, because the God of the Bible never mentioned “hell” or suffering after death to his best human friends: Adam, Eve, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, or a long line of Hebrew prophets (the prophets said even Sodom would be restored in the end). Nor did Paul ever mention a place called “hell” in his epistles, the earliest-written Christian texts. Nor did the word “hell” appear in any of the early Christian sermons recorded in the book of Acts (ostensibly the self-recorded history of the early church).
When Peter spoke directly to the men who had murdered Jesus forty days before Pentecost, he spoke of the “restitution of all things to God, spoken of by all the Holy Prophets since the world began,” but he never mentioned anyone going to a place called “hell” for any reason. The only Sheol/Hades references in the book of Acts are two quotations of David saying that his soul would not remain in Sheol (the grave). The early Christians were clearly using the resurrection of Jesus to claim that verses in the Hebrew Bible that prophesied a resurrection had been fulfilled. They claimed that this proved that Jesus was the Messiah. But there was nothing in the Hebrew Bible about a place called “hell” where people suffered after death. So while most Christians today assume that the Jews and early Christians believed in a place called “hell,” this is obviously not the case. Because Sheol and Hades did not mean “hell,” people like John of Patmos actually created a new, nameless place where human beings would be tortured after death. Later, it seems Sheol, Hades and this nameless “lake of fire” became confused, but if any of the parts of the Bible that prophesied the Messiah and a resurrection and a peaceful kingdom came from God, there never was a “hell” or a “lake of fire” for anyone to fear.
Ironically, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, it was the Pharisees who introduced the idea of suffering after death to the Judaism of their day. So even more ironically, it seems John of Patmos may have been a Pharisee, one of the sworn enemies of Jesus.
And here’s another area of disagreement: the Bible clearly teaches that human beings die only once, but John spoke of a “second death,” which Christians were in danger of. If there is a second death, why didn’t God or Jesus or any prophet or apostle ever mention it anywhere else in the Bible?
John said that Jesus would turn his back on Christians if they grew cold or even lukewarm, but this refutes the promise of Jesus never to leave or forsake Christians, “even to the ends of the earth.”
John’s “God” is evil and unjust, a monster. For instance, John heard all the creatures of the earth praise God, after which he turned around and destroyed them.
John’s “God” made ridiculous mistakes. For instance, all the grass was destroyed by fire, but then later God “forgot” that the grass had been destroyed and told the giant locusts not to harm the grass.
John said Jesus had “paps” (female breasts). Nowhere else in the Bible is God or the Messiah described as being a hermaphrodite, although some pagan “gods” had such attributes.
John said Jesus would search the hearts and kidneys (“reins”) of believers. Kidneys, really? No one believes kidneys play a role in how we think, act or feel, today. We know the will and emotions spring from our brains, not our kidneys!
John obviously believed that the earth was flat, with corners, and that the stars were tiny pinpoints of light. He said he saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth. We know that his earth was flat because he said that every eye would see Jesus when he descended from the clouds. That can only happen on a flat earth. And John obviously believed that this would happen in his own lifetime, because he said that the people who had “pierced” Jesus would see him return. The people who had pierced Jesus were the Roman soldiers who crucified him. John may have written his original text while living in Jerusalem as it was being besieged by the Romans (circa AD 70). If so, John was understandably full of hatred for the Romans and wanted Jesus to return and destroy them. In John’s vision, which seems to have been wishful thinking, the people who had murdered Jesus would see him return to judge the “Beast” (the Roman emperor) and “Babylon” (the Roman empire).
His hatred of the Romans probably led John to say they would be tortured with fire and brimstone “in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels.” But Jesus had asked God to forgive his murderers because they didn’t know what they were doing. How can these two very different visions of Jesus be reconciled? And how can anyone believe Jesus and the Angels are going to torture human beings, in heaven? So much for hell being “separation from God.”
While most Christians now believe that Revelation forecasts future events, it seems clear that the early Christians believed Jesus would return to their generation:
Mathew 16:28―”I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Luke 9:27―”I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
Mark 13:30―I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Mark 14:62―[Jesus speaking to his accusers said] “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Yet another disagreement: John said God has seven spirits. This is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.
John also got the names of the twelve tribes wrong, leaving out Dan and Ephraim, but including Joseph. Joseph’s sons were generally considered separate tribes in their own right because they were allotted tribal territories within Israel, but if Joseph’s sons are included there are fourteen tribes rather than twelve (or thirteen if Joseph is not counted). It seems highly unlikely that an all-wise God would have forgotten the names of the twelve tribes of Israel! But it’s easy for human beings to make mistakes, when they think there are twelve tribes but there are actually fourteen.
John said the things he described must soon take place because the time was near. And in a way he was right, because Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans, and the Jews who lived went into Diaspora. So their world really did end. But even if he was right about the timing, John was wrong about the victors.
In John’s book, the churches are judged collectively, not as individuals, and it is not faith in Jesus that saves the churches, or the grace of God, but works.
The early church fathers knew the writer of Revelation was not the writer of the Gospel of John, because Revelation is a poorly written book. Ancient church fathers who denied that the author of John also wrote Revelation included John Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, Denis of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Gregory Nazianzen. For example, Eusebius wrote of Revelation: “The phrasing itself also helps to differentiate between the Gospel and Epistle[s of John] on the one hand and the book of Revelation on the other. The first two are written not only without errors in the Greek, but also with real skill with respect to vocabulary, logic and coherence of meaning. You won’t find any barbaric expression, grammatical flaw, or vulgar expression in them. … I don’t deny that this other author [John of Patmos] had revelations … but I notice that in neither language nor in style does he write accurate Greek. He makes use of barbaric expressions and is sometimes guilty even of grammatical error … I don’t say this in order to accuse him (far from it!), but simply to demonstrate that the two books are not at all similar.”
Eighteen hundred years ago, Dionysius (Bishop of the Patriarchy of Alexandria) stated that Revelation was not written by the same person who wrote John’s Gospel and Letters. He compared the writing styles and found John of Patmos to be unlike any other New Testament writer.
Tom Harpur describes Revelation’s Greek style as “barbarous.”
Martin Luther believed Revelation contradicted much of the content of the Gospel of John and the synoptic Gospels, so he relegated it to an appendix in his German translation of the Bible.
John of Patmos contradicts John the Apostle at nearly every turn. And we should remember that Revelation was doubted by many early Christians and was not generally accepted as part of the New Testament canon until AD 508. Some Christian sects still do not include it in their Bibles. Therefore criticism of Revelation is not new.
Revelation should never have been included in the Bible. The fact that it is indicates that the Christian god was not inspiring the people who constructed the Bible, and so was either negligent of non-existent.
(3719) Bastards and descendants go straight to hell
There can be no doubt that there are (virtually?) no Christians who would agree that the following verse is consistent with modern morals and ethics:
No one of illegitimate birth may enter the assembly of the LORD, nor may any of his descendants, even to the tenth generation.
This conflicts with two important pillars of morality- that a person should not be judged on the basis of how they were conceived (their parentage), and that no one should be punished because of conditions relative to their distant ancestors. The following was taken from:
Deuteronomy 23:2 KJV “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
If we accept that God created every person, he created bastards and 10 generations of their descendants to live on Earth and go to hell, even if they accept Jesus as their savior, which I believe is the only thing required for salvation unless otherwise specified, as with bastards.
Jesus died to forgive the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), so the biological parents of the bastard still get to go to heaven if they accept Jesus, but not the resulting individual or their descendants. That’s a lot of people going to hell in a handbasket.
One could also argue that God doesn’t make mistakes; the 2 people who are responsible for all those subsequent lives are the ones who created them, not God, which proves that not all people are created equal (or created by God at all).
Also, wouldn’t bastard children attending church, taking communion, etc. be an affront to God? He explicitly said he doesn’t accept them. Therefore if you were born out of wedlock and you attend church, you’re disobeying God right there.
But if God is omnipotent, then he intended for this damnable verse to be placed in his Bible for all time. It is certain that if it was possible, Christians would eliminate it. It is an embarrassing stain and a tell-tale sign that it was not inspired by a supernatural being.
(3720) Eighteen failed predictions in the New Testament
The New Testament is replete with predictions related to the end times and Jesus’ promised return to the earth. They have all failed, and it takes a lot of hand waiving by apologists to fend off this fact (to no avail). The following taken from:
According to the Bible the “End Times” Should Have Already Occurred!
Jesus and his apostles made many prophecies concerning the Armageddon. Christians would have you believe that it shall come as “a thief in the night”. Yet, the Bible is rather clear concerning when it would happen. Matter of fact, the Bible consistently said it would follow soon after Jesus’ death. When you point out such verses to Christians they will try to weasel it out of it by saying Christ was talking about his “future” apostles versus the ones he was directly speaking to. All it takes is a close examinations of the pronouns used in order to see that Christ truly did believe the end times would have happened nearly 2,000 years ago. Keep in mind that the Bible claims it is “fit for reproof’ and Christianity “lives and dies on the resurrection and end times”. If we are to believe these verses and accept that the end time prophecies failed then surely the whole book is invalid.
False Prophecies About the Armageddon:
1)Jesus falsely prophesies directly to the high priest (Caiphas) that he would live to see his second coming. Jesus uses the term “coming on the clouds of heaven”. This clearly negates the “coming” as the resurrection but as a return to the earth on CLOUDS, not his return in human form from the dead. (Matthew 26:64 & Mark 14:62)
“But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (Matthew 26:64 NAB)
Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” (Mark 14:62 NAB)
2) Jesus mistakenly tells his followers that he will return and establish his kingdom within their lifetime. Matthew 23:36 & 24:34
Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:36 NAB)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:29-35 NAB)
3) YET AGAIN, Jesus claims those standing RIGHT BEFORE HIM shall see the Armageddon. Matthew 16:28 “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Don’t let Christians lie to you and claim Jesus was referring to his modern day believers. The words “some standing HERE will not taste death” clearly refutes such nonsense. Obviously the people he was speaking to died, and curiously Jesus STILL isn’t here to claim his kingdom.
4) Jesus falsely prophesies that the end of the world will come within his listeners’ lifetimes.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mark 13:30-31 NAB)
He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.” (Mark 9:1 NAB)
5) Jesus falsely predicts that some of his listeners would live to see him return and establish the kingdom of God.
“Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27 NAB)
6) Jesus implies that he will return to earth during the lifetime of John. (John 21:22)
7) Jesus says that all that he describes (his return, signs in the sun, moon, wars, stars, etc.) will occur within the lifetime of his listeners. He purposely defines their generation and NOT a future one. Considering that NONE of those signs took place during the resurrection and that he uses the term of “Heaven and earth shall pass away”, Clearly Jesus is prophesying that nearly 2,000 years ago Armageddon SHOULD have occurred. (Luke 21:25-33)
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” He taught them a lesson. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Luke 21:25-33 NAB)
[Editor’s note: Matthew 10:23 also has Jesus telling his disciples that the second coming will occur before the disciples finish preaching in Israel: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23 NAB)]
8) John believes “the time is at hand,” and that the things that he writes about in Revelation will “shortly come to pass.” (Revelations 1:1-3)
9) John quotes Jesus (1900 years ago) as saying he will come “quickly.” (Revelations 22:7, 12 & 20)
10) John thinks he is living in “the last times.” He knows this because he sees so many antichrists around. (1 John 2:18)
11) John says that the antichrist was already present at the time 1 John was written. (1 John 4:3)
12) John quotes Jesus (1900 years ago) as saying he will come “quickly.” (Revelations 3:11, 22:7, 12 & 20)
13) Paul thought that the end was near and that Jesus would return soon after he wrote these words. (Philippians 4:5)
14) Paul believes he is living in the “last days.” (Hebrews 1:2)
15) Paul believed that Jesus would come “in a little while, and will not tarry.” (Hebrews 10:37)
16) In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul stated: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: And the dead Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Paul shared the delusion, taught by Jesus, in that he expected to be snatched up bodily into heaven with other saints then living, who would, thus, never taste death. The use of “we” clearly proves as much. It is difficult to deny that Paul was certain that the end of the world was coming in the lifetime of his contemporaries.
Other Prophecies About Armageddon:
17) James thought that Jesus would return soon. (James 5:8)
18) Peter wrongly believed that he was living in the “last times” and that “the end of all things is at hand.” (1 Peter 1:20 & 4:7)
If people were reading the Bible from an objective, logical, and reason-based approach, it would long ago have been discarded as a failed religious movement. But instead they continue to make excuses when the prophecies fail, when prayers don’t get answered, and when its morality becomes outdated.
(3721) Alternate Christian history
There is another explanation for how Christianity developed, as follows:
Jesus was a regular person, birthed normally, who became a traveling preacher. He never performed miracles or predicted his death or resurrection, but rather was trying to reform some aspects of Judaism because he had differences with the Pharisees and Sadducees, while being more inline with the Essenes.
In other words, Jesus had no intentions of starting a new religion, but rather was attempting to purify Judaism and make it more consistent with what he envisioned Yahweh would want.
In Jerusalem, he became incensed at the commercialization of the Temple grounds and caused an angry disturbance that caught the attention of the Temple guards. The Romans saw him as a threat to the social order and he was crucified. Like other victims, he remained on the cross for several days, then he died, and his body was placed in a mass grave.
Jesus’ disciples were upset, but they were not in any personal danger from the Romans. Although their leader had died, they vowed to continue his cause, and retain the identity of this novel sect of Judaism.
Unbeknownst to them, another person, Paul, who had never met Jesus, but had heard about him, had a vision or dream of Jesus as a revitalized spirit. Paul was somewhat psychotic and took this vision to reflect a true measure of reality. Taking themes from his knowledge of paganism and mixing them with Jewish themes, he came up with the idea that Jesus had died as the final blood sacrifice for peoples’ sins, and that accepting Jesus was the key to attaining heaven.
Paul’s interactions with Jesus’ disciples were strained because they didn’t see Jesus as being a supernatural person, or a god himself (which would have been a very anti-Jewish belief). So early Jesus followers in Jerusalem and Galilee saw him as a prophet, but strictly human, who had started a new theme for Judaism that was worthy of being continued even after Jesus had died.
But Paul promoted his new ideas to several cities in the Middle East where he recruited new followers and established the doctrine that Jesus was a supernatural being who brought salvation to the world.
The followers of the Jesus (as a human) movement were mostly killed or displaced during the Roman-Jewish war of 70 CE, leaving in existence mostly the followers of Paul’s movement, which later mushroomed over time.
The gospels were written by the followers of Paul’s theology, so these authors added in elements of miracles and claims by Jesus of being God’s son, along with a miraculous birth, lineage, and resurrection.
This explains how how Christianity could have developed using purely natural events.
(3722) God is impossible
Christians have mindlessly imbued their god with unlimited powers without thinking about what that really implies. It takes only a small measure of logic to deconstruct this divine theory and to realize that if a god does exist, it must be a limited one. The following was taken from:
God is Impossible
Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth that no sane man could deny. I strongly disagree with this assumption not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory.
Proving a Universal Negative
It is taken for granted by Christians, as well as many atheists, that a universal negative cannot be proven. In this case, that universal negative is the statement that the Christian God does not exist. One would have to have omniscience, they say, in order to prove that anything does not exist. I disagree with this position, however, because omniscience is not needed in order to prove that a thing whose nature is a self-contradiction cannot, and therefore does not exist.
I do not need a complete knowledge of the universe to prove to you that cubic spheres do not exist. Such objects have mutually-exclusive attributes which would render their existence impossible. For example, a cube, by definition, has 8 corners, while a sphere has none. These properties are completely incompatible: they cannot be held simultaneously by the same object. It is my intent to show that the supposed properties of the Christian God Yahweh, like those of a cubic sphere, are incompatible, and by so doing, to show Yahweh’s existence to be an impossibility.
Before we can discuss the existence of a thing, we must define it. Christians have endowed their God with all of the following attributes: He is eternal, all-powerful, and created everything. He created all the laws of nature and can change anything by an act of will. He is all-good, all-loving, and perfectly just. He is a personal God who experiences all of the emotions a human does. He is all-knowing. He sees everything past and future.
God’s creation was originally perfect, but humans, by disobeying him, brought imperfection into the world. Humans are evil and sinful, and must suffer in this world because of their sinfulness. God gives humans the opportunity to accept forgiveness for their sin, and all who do will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven, but while they are on earth, they must suffer for his sake. All humans who choose not to accept this forgiveness must go to hell and be tormented for eternity.
One Bible verse which Christians are fond of quoting says that atheists are fools. I intend to show that the above concepts of God are completely incompatible and so reveal the impossibility of all of them being true. Who is the fool? The fool is the one who believes impossible things and calls them divine mysteries.
Perfection Begets Imperfection
But, for the sake of argument, let’s continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God’s image and have the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, and yet this “perfect” God created a “perfect” universe which was rendered imperfect by the “perfect” humans. The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot become imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.
The Freewill Argument
The Christians’ objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God’s originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.
Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.
Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?
The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.
All-good God Knowingly Creates Future Suffering
God is omniscient. When he created the universe, he saw the sufferings which humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans. He heard the screams of the damned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.
Infinite Punishment for Finite Sins
God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment. God’s sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely more unjust than this punishment. The absurd injustice of this infinite punishment is even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of human imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.
Belief More Important Than Action
Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the “gospel” of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire for not believing in Jesus. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.
Perfection’s Imperfect Revelation
The Bible is supposedly God’s perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means of overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books which is the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man.
No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigmatic symbols. And yet the perfect God expects us imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
One need look to no source other than the Bible to discover its imperfections, for it contradicts itself and thus exposes its own imperfection. It contradicts itself on matters of justice, for the same just God who assures his people that sons shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers turns around and destroys an entire household for the sin of one man (he had stolen some of Yahweh’s war loot). It was this same Yahweh who afflicted thousands of his innocent people with plague and death to punish their evil king David for taking a census (?!). It was this same Yahweh who allowed the humans to slaughter his son because the perfect Yahweh had botched his own creation. Consider how many have been stoned, burned, slaughtered, raped, and enslaved because of Yahweh’s skewed sense of justice. The blood of innocent babies is on the perfect, just, compassionate hands of Yahweh.
The Bible contradicts itself on matters of history. A person who reads and compares the contents of the Bible will be confused about exactly who Esau’s wives were, whether Timnah was a concubine or a son, and whether Jesus’ earthly lineage is through Solomon or his brother Nathan. These are but a few of hundreds of documented historical contradictions. If the Bible cannot confirm itself in mundane earthly matters, how are we to trust it on moral and spiritual matters?
The Bible misinterprets its own prophecies. Read Isaiah 7 and compare it to Matthew 1 to find but one of many misinterpreted prophecies of which Christians are either passively or willfully ignorant. The fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible is cited as proof of its divine inspiration, and yet here is but one major example of a prophecy whose intended meaning has been and continues to be twisted to support subsequent absurd and false doctrines. There are no ends to which the credulous will not go to support their feeble beliefs in the face of compelling evidence against them.
The Bible is imperfect. It only takes one imperfection to destroy the supposed perfection of this alleged Word of God. Many have been found. A perfect God who reveals his perfect will in an imperfect book is impossible.
The Omniscient Changes the Future
A God who knows the future is powerless to change it. An omniscient God who is all-powerful and freewilled is impossible.
The Omniscient is Surprised
A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife’s infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may emotively react.
We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.
The Conclusion of the matter
I have offered arguments for the impossibility, and thus the non- existence, of the Christian God Yahweh. No reasonable and freethinking individual can accept the existence of a being whose nature is so contradictory as that of Yahweh, the “perfect” creator of our imperfect universe. The existence of Yahweh is as impossible as the existence of cubic spheres or invisible pink unicorns.
In effect, Christians painted themselves into a corner and now they are trapped- they must admit either that Yahweh cannot be omnipotent or else admit that their theology is self-contradictory.
(3723) The Bible is a worthless book
Other than its importance as a book that has been used to engineer a religious movement, the Bible is virtually worthless. Its esteem depends mostly on indoctrination and the fact that most people do not read it objectively. Once that is done, the veneer falls off and the Bible is laid bare as a pedestrian relic of humanity’s past. The following was taken from:
Despite having a lot of influence on history and literature, the bible is a completely worthless book. As a guide, it fails on virtually every single level. All of the value the bible does have is totally independent of any actual content.
The bible fails as a:
1) Moral guide. Actually the bible is quite immoral, endorsing genocide, slavery, a property-based view of rape, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, child sexual and physical abuse and eternal torment for all who reject its falsehoods.
2) Historical guide. All of the stories related in the book, i.e. the exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the united monarchy, the life and miracles of Jesus are fiction.
3) Scientific guide. The bible is actually pre-scientific, with all of its authors–including those immersed in Hellenistic culture–believing the world is supported by four pillars and surrounded by a dome protecting the terrestrial surface from the waters above.
4) Reliable guide to the life and opinions of its purported authors. This is because of the book’s many pseudepigraphical issues. Often the traditional authorship designates the authorship of many anonymous scribes.
The bible is quite literally a piece of garbage, worth less than toilet paper, although it is the object of near idolatrous worship by deluded Christians. This isn’t to say the bible doesn’t have any value, considered as a physical object, but that whatever value it does have is extrinsic i.e. related to its compositional structure and textual transmission.
Every day and in every way, the Bible becomes less relevant, less insightful, and less useful for modern living. This is because civilization is progressing in knowledge and ethics that steers it farther and farther from what the Bible has to offer. Soon, it will be relegated and be seen as uninspired fiction that originated during a benighted stage of human history.
(3724) Paul’s Testimony to Agrippa
Chapter 26 of Acts contains a long speech by Paul to King Agrippa that includes some ‘verbatim’ quotes that Jesus allegedly spoke to Paul during his Damascus road conversion. In the following it is discussed how this sourceless account is almost assuredly pure fiction:
In Chapter 26, the apostle Paul, under arrest by the Romans, and on his way to Rome for his case to be heard by the Emperor, defends himself before King Agrippa. So most of this chapter consists of the words of Paul. But is that actually the case? Here too the careful, curious reader is obliged to ask questions—the questions that professional historians ask. How did the author of the Book of Acts know that Paul said all these things—what were his sources? The scholarly consensus is that this book was written late first or early second century—so forty or fifty years after the events depicted in this chapter. How did the author find out this information?
It’s not complicated: Was anyone there taking notes? Was it the kind of event that required taking notes? Even if this was done, did the notes end up in an archive somewhere—to which the author of Acts somehow had access decades later, many years after the devastating First Jewish Roman War, 66-73 CE? It’s far more likely that this chapter came from the creative imagination of the book’s author. Father Joseph A. Fitzmyer, in his important commentary on Acts (The Anchor Yale Bible, Volume 31, The Acts of the Apostles), says that this is “a finely crafted discourse…In effect, it is a Lucan composition…” (pp. 754-755)—he but assures his readers that it is “based on information from Luke’s Pauline source.” No, this won’t do. What Pauline source? Fitzmyer was guessing, speculating, hoping that the author of Acts had such a source. Imagined sources are useless to historians! But he needed to avoid admitting that this chapter is most likely fiction. It was common practice in the ancient world for authors to make up speeches for heroes they were writing about.
Either the author of Acts had sources from which he used to document this speech or he didn’t. If he didn’t, there is no reason to conclude that this was anything other than the standard practice of its day- to invent dramatic quotations for someone who the author is ‘putting on a pedestal’.
If it was based on sources, where are they now? These sources must have existed for at least 40 years after this event occurred. But, conveniently they were lost to history, or so an apologist would claim.
The former explanation is by far the more likely.
(3725) Selling daughter rules
If anyone thinks that the entire Bible is inspired by God and remains relevant for modern living, they should read these verses:
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
How many things are wrong about this scripture?
1) It implies a father’s right to sell his daughter.
2) It implies that a daughter sold as a slave had fewer rights than a son sold likewise.
3) The daughter’s rights are dependent on pleasing her master.
4) The daughter’s marriage can be arranged without her consent.
5) If her master takes her as his wife, she must be OK with him having sexual relations with a second wife.
Those who say that modern morals are abysmal and that we need to return to the Bible for guidance must not have read this passage. Either God inspired these rules or not, but either way presents a problem for any Christian who assumes the Bible’s status as God’s timeless and infallible message to humanity.
(3726) Carnivorous predation
Animals have been eating other animals for at least the past one billion years, causing a tsunami of pain, suffering, fear, and torturous death. This is something that happens every day, every hour, every minute, and every second.
Did the world have to be like this? This depends on the fundamental assumptions of how the earth developed. If there was no intelligent being guiding the process, in other words it was just mindless evolution, then carnivorous predation was inevitable.
If instead, a supernatural being existed, perhaps a benign and compassionate one, then other possibilities existed. It would have been possible for a creator god or even a god who manipulated the mechanics of evolution to have engineered a world where all animals are herbivores. This would not have precluded the existence of large and very strong animals (for example, gorillas, elephants, and giraffes are herbivores).
So the fact that carnivorous predation exists, and that it threatens all animals including humans, is evidence of either mindless (godless) evolution, or a faulty creation by a compassionate god, or a failed guided evolution by a compassionate god, or a successful creation or guided evolution by a cruel god. Christians will squirm making this choice.
(3737) God changes divorce rules
Christians like to claim that God is changeless and that morality is objective and also changeless. They will have a difficult time reconciling that theory with the following two verses:
If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds some indecency in her, he may write her a certificate of divorce, hand it to her, and send her away from his house.
Mark 10: 5-12
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
If rules for divorce can change, then why can’t the same happen for homosexuality? Or women’s rights? Or slavery? Yes, there is little doubt that what people have perceived as God’s laws has gone though a progression over time. The doctrine that God is changeless or that morality is set in stone is unsupportable.
For instance, if Jesus came back, he might say the following:
“You have heard it said that if a man lies with a man as with a woman, they shall both be put to death. But I tell you that love is love, and my Father in heaven loves everyone for who they are.”
This verse would be functionally similar to Matthew 19:8 in that, even though it reverses the ‘can do/can’t do’ algorithm, it represents a change in God’s rules.
So, if God can change his mind about divorce, then he can change his mind about homosexuality.
(3728) Reasonable unbelief should be impossible
If the god of Christianity exists, then reasonable unbelief should not exist. This assumes that there are dire consequences for unbelief and that the Christian god is compassionate and fair. The following was taken from:
The argument goes as follows:
P1: If a perfectly loving God exists then reasonable unbelief should be impossible.
P2: Reasonable unbelief occurs.
C: Therefore a perfectly loving God does not exist.
Allow me to support the first premise. Allowing reasonable unbelief is evil and thus unfitting of a loving god because it is denying a would-be fulfilling and amazing relationship with god with people who honestly seek it, and depending on your interpretation of the Bible it may also prohibit people from entering heaven which also depending on your interpretation could lead them to burn in hell or be annihilated.
Support for premise two: There may be some atheists who have come to doubt god without looking or who just pretend to disbelieve to sin. However many have been exposed to Christianity and many other religions and they honestly were not convinced by any of them. Also there are hundreds of millions of atheists and I find it hard to believe that all of them were dishonest or unreasonable.
Reasonable unbelief is when someone honestly evaluated the evidence for god, but doesn’t find it convincing. Now how do we know if people don’t believe based off of reason and not something like self interest? Well we can examine their motives. If someone says they disbelieved based on reason or have a philosophy on logical examination that would be evidence right? No, they may have major subconscious biases though if it isn’t a super major bias I think it could still be reasonable. Or they could be lying.
So how do we justify this claim. We should look at people’s actions If someone truly disbelieved based on reason they would disbelieve even if it was to their detriment emotionally or socially or financially. Lo and behold, this happens a lot. People are ostracized and hurt and psychologically distressed by things like the prospect of hell due to their deconversion, yet people still disbelieve which is good evidence for premise two.
Support for conclusion: it simply follows logically.
Some may doubt that unbelievers are being reasonable, perhaps that they are being stubborn or deliberately avoiding what they would otherwise conclude is convincing evidence. But the fact is that there are millions of earnest seekers who have thoroughly studied the evidence and found it lacking. The Christian god is either not compassionate or non-existent.
(3729) The cursing god
The generalized concept of a god who is omniscient and omnipotent is that such a being would be very calm, even-tempered, and level-headed. Nothing that would happen would either surprise or upset a god such as this. And for that reason, the following diatribe seems to be totally out of sync with that expectation. God, the cursor, makes his greatest hit here:
If, however, you do not obey the LORD your God by carefully following all His commandments and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
You will be cursed in the city.
and cursed in the country.
Your basket and kneading bowl will be cursed.
The fruit of your womb will be cursed,
as well as the produce of your land,
the calves of your herds,
and the lambs of your flocks.
You will be cursed when you come in
and cursed when you go out.
The LORD will send curses upon you, confusion and reproof in all to which you put your hand, until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the wickedness you have committed in forsaking Him.
The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has exterminated you from the land that you are entering to possess. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron.
The LORD will turn the rain of your land into dust and powder; it will descend on you from the sky until you are destroyed.
The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will march out against them in one direction but flee from them in seven. You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. Your corpses will be food for all the birds of the air and beasts of the earth, with no one to scare them away.
The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors and scabs and itch from which you cannot be cured.
The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness, and confusion of mind and at noon you will grope about like a blind man in the darkness. You will not prosper in your ways. Day after day you will be oppressed and plundered, with no one to save you.
You will be pledged in marriage to a woman, but another man will violate her. You will build a house but will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but will not enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it. Your donkey will be taken away and not returned to you. Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will save you.
Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, while your eyes grow weary looking for them day after day, with no power in your hand. A people you do not know will eat the produce of your land and of all your toil. All your days you will be oppressed and crushed. You will be driven mad by the sights you see.
The LORD will afflict you with painful, incurable boils on your knees and thighs, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
The LORD will bring you and the king you appoint to a nation neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone. You will become an object of horror, scorn, and ridicule among all the nations to which the LORD will drive you.
You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because the locusts will consume it. You will plant and cultivate vineyards, but will neither drink the wine nor gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.You will have olive trees throughout your territory but will never anoint yourself with oil, because the olives will drop off. You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will go into captivity. Swarms of locusts will consume all your trees and the produce of your land.
The foreigner living among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink down lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.
All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the LORD your God and keep the commandments and statutes He gave you. These curses will be a sign and a wonder upon you and your descendants forever.
Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart in all your abundance, you will serve your enemies the LORD will send against you in famine, thirst, nakedness, and destitution. He will place an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.
The LORD will bring a nation from afar, from the ends of the earth, to swoop down upon you like an eagle—a nation whose language you will not understand, a ruthless nation with no respect for the old and no pity for the young. They will eat the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain or new wine or oil, no calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks, until they have caused you to perish. They will besiege all the cities throughout your land, until the high and fortified walls in which you trust have fallen. They will besiege all your cities throughout the land that the LORD your God has given you.
Then you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you.
The most gentle and refined man among you will begrudge his brother, the wife he embraces, and the rest of his children who have survived, refusing to share with any of them the flesh of his children he will eat because he has nothing left in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you within all your gates.
The most gentle and refined woman among you, so gentle and refined she would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground, will begrudge the husband she embracese and her son and daughter the afterbirth that comes from between her legs and the children she bears, because she will secretly eat them for lack of anything else in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you within your gates.
If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God— He will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary disasters, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses. He will afflict you again with all the diseases you dreaded in Egypt, and they will cling to you.
The LORD will also bring upon you every sickness and plague not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left few in number, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and multiply, so also it will please Him to annihilate you and destroy you. And you will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.
Then the LORD will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, not even a resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despairing soul.
So your life will hang in doubt before you, and you will be afraid night and day, never certain of survival. In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’—because of the dread in your hearts of the terrifying sights you will see.
The LORD will return you to Egypt in ships by a route that I said you should never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”
Though I would not want to be the very first, everybody must get cursed.
So this allegedly omnipotent god, who knows of the fallibilities of humans, takes exacting revenge on them because they are not behaving perfectly. Something important is amiss here.
(3730) Secular home breeds higher intelligence
A unique separated twin study suggests that being raised in a religious-oriented home can stunt the intellectual ability of a child. In this case, the difference in IQ was statistically significant, even though it examined only one specific case. The following was taken from:
A new study of monozygotic twins raised apart in South Korea and the United States provides unique insight into how genetic, cultural, and environmental factors influence human development. The new research has been published in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences.
“I have studied identical twins reared apart for many years. They pose a simple, yet elegant experiment for disentangling genetic and environmental influences on human traits. This case was unique in that the twins were raised in different countries,” said researcher Nancy L. Segal, a professor and director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University in Fullerton.
The twins were born in 1974 in Seoul, South Korea. One of the twins became lost at age two after visiting a market with her grandmother. She was later taken to a hospital that was approximately 100 miles away from her family’s residence and diagnosed with the measles. Despite her family’s attempt to find her, she was placed into the foster system and ended up being adopted by a couple residing in the United States.
She later discovered she had a twin sister after submitting a DNA sample in 2018 as part of South Korea’s program for reuniting family members.
In the new study, the twins completed assessments of family environment, general intelligence, nonverbal reasoning ability, personality traits, individualism-collectivism, self-esteem, mental health, job satisfaction, and medical life history. They also completed structured interviews about their general life history.
Not only did the twins experience different cultures growing up, they also were raised in very different family environments. The twin who remained in South Korea was raised in a more supportive and cohesive family atmosphere. The twin who was adopted by the U.S. couple, in contrast, reported a stricter, more religiously-oriented environment that had higher levels of family conflict.
The researchers found “striking” differences in cognitive abilities. The twin raised in South Korea scored considerably higher on intelligence tests related to perceptual reasoning and processing speed, with an overall IQ difference of 16 points.
In line with their cultural environment, the twin raised in the United States had more individualistic values, while the twin raised in South Korea had more collectivist values.
However, the twins had a similar personality. Both scored high on measures of conscientiousness and low on measures of neuroticism. They also had a similar level of satisfaction with their job, even though their occupations were quite different — a government administrator and a cook. The twins also had similar mental health profiles and had identical scores on the measure of self-esteem.
“Genes have a more pervasive effect on development than we ever would have supposed — still, environmental effects are important. These twins showed cultural difference in some respects,” Segal told PsyPost.
“We need to identify more such cases if they exist,” she added. “And we still do not understand all the mechanisms involved from the genes at the molecular level to the behaviors we observe every day.”
Segal is also the author of the book “Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart.”
The study, “Personality traits, mental abilities and other individual differences: Monozygotic female twins raised apart in South Korea and the United States“, was authored by Nancy L. Segal and Yoon-Mi Hur.
This study does not necessarily provide evidence against Christianity, in that Christianity could be true while at the same time stunting the intellectual ability of a child. But the mechanics of a philosophy that provides definitive answers to complicated questions does suggest that those answers can cause cognitive dissonance and a tendency to surrender ones’ creative thinking ability- a core fertilizer for intelligence. If Christianity was true, those pat answers would align with observational facts, and the dissonance would not occur. In this way, a result such as this is suggestive of the religious dogma being off-center from reality.
(3731) Power of indoctrination
The following quote from a speech by Bill Burr illuminates how indoctrination at an early age can skew one’s perception of reality:
Everybody else’s religion sounds stupid. The first time I heard the story of Scientology I was like, that is the dumbest shit I have ever heard in my life…while simultaneously still kind of believing that a woman who never got f*cked had a baby that walked on the water, died and came back three days later. Yeah, that made total sense to me. So it just hit me one day. Why doesn’t Scientology make sense and my shit does? I think it’s because I heard their story when I was an adult. I heard my story when I was four years old. What was I going to do? I had to make a decision. Just let go of it. Let go of it like that creepy moment in curling… That’s what I did with my religion. I just let go of it. It just floated away.
Religions rely heavily on teaching their dogma to young people, imprinting (like scribbling with indelible ink) on their brains, such that it can never be fully erased even in advanced adulthood. It makes the implausible seem possible or even probable. It usually takes a meritorious effort for someone to wash the brain so they can see their childhood religion in a truly objective light.
(3732) Christian statement of faith
The following is taken from the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America, which is an association of autonomous churches united around a defined set of theological convictions. The following is their belief pertaining to how God will judge humans:
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
commands everyone… there is no choice in this, if you are born, you are in this game
everywhere… whether you are born in a Christian home, country, or not
raise the dead bodily… meaning that if your body has decayed or been cremated, it will somehow be rebuilt and reanimated?
eternal conscious punishment… OK, so you can be the nicest person in the world, loving your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, the people you work with, the people you meet on the street, giving generously of your time, your money, and your efforts to help make everyone comfortable and happy, and yet, if for some reason you don’t believe in this god, who by the way doesn’t go out his way to reveal himself, then you will be punished eternally- that is for trillions and trillions of years. BUT, if you are a nasty person, who cheats on his spouse, who treats others like shit, but believes in God and begs forgiveness, you will enjoy eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord.
Ladies and gentlemen, if there is more revolting philosophy of life, I don’t know what it is. Any Christian who endorses this statement of faith is not a good person.
(3733) God, the teaser
If we assume that God created the world from scratch not that long ago as some Christians believe, then he was playing a game that he knew would confound future generations of believers. The following was taken from:
What sort of sane Designer creates a universe full of evidential traps, teases, and smokescreens. For example…
God sure made it look like the Universe is very old, because we can see distant stars whose light has already reached us somehow. Why would God create a young Universe that looks old? That is horribly misleading.
And God made it look like we are close cousins of chimps, since our DNA is almost 99% identical. So it would seem that even though we are very “special” creatures, God was lazy and just went copy and paste. That is quite misleading.
And God made it look like animals evolved, since islands have unique flora and fauna. It’s what you would expect given enough time and isolation. But instead, God made the executive decision to give islands (and other isolated areas) unique forms of life? How misleading.
And God made it look like penguins once flew. Since… you know… He gave them wings. “They obviously used to be able to fly”, is what any sane investigator would conclude. But actually, God gave some birds all the equipment for flight without the actual ability to fly. How horribly misleading.
And my personal favorite. God made it look like the Moon has been routinely bombarded by impacts, since it is covered in impact craters. But you’re telling me that actually the Moon just looks that way because God felt like giving it an Impact CraterTM pattern? That’s like if God covered a wall with bullet holes and blood spatter, and then when the detective investigates the scene and finishes his report God goes, “Actually bro, I know it looks like someone’s been shot here, but I’m really just into the whole bullet holes and blood spatter look. So… you know… maybe change your report n stuff. Teehee k bye.”
C’mon you guys. Seriously.
So, either God practiced deliberate deception, or the universe evolved in a natural way. There are no other choices, and Christians, at least those that espouse the creationism theory, will be hard pressed to make their choice.
(3734) Bible is a pro-rape instruction manual
It should be obvious that a book inspired by a benign, universal deity with intent to instruct morality would forcefully prohibit the rape of women, or anyone for that matter. The Bible fails spectacularly on this point. No Christian can defend this problem other than to mumble ‘well, that’s in the Old Testament,’ effectively conceding that God changed his mind about rape…right. The following was taken from:
Far from condemning rape, the bible specifies under what conditions a man is allowed to rape. For example, a man is allowed to rape female prisoners of war (Deut. 21:10-14); his own female slaves (Ex. 21:7-11) and unmarried virgins, provided he pays a fine to her father and marries her after he rapes her (Deut. 22: 28-29). The bible lays out in some detail what a man is to do in these situations. This makes the bible a pro-rape instruction manual. Any Christian who sees this legislation as the commands of an objectively moral god must be written off as a pro-rape advocate.
Further, following a bible-based Christianity places women at significant risk of rape. The bible commands women to submit to their husbands, as if they were chattel property (Eph. 5:22). In another passage, after women are advised to be in “subjection” to their own husbands, husbands are asked to respect their wives, despite their mental and physical inferiority (as weaker vessels 1 Pet. 3:1-7). At 1 Tim. 2:11-15, women’s inferior position to man is justified, in part, because of Eve’s role as temptress in the garden of Eden.
These patriarchal values of total female submission and male hierarchical dominance, informed by an ideology of female inferiority, are what places women at increased risk of sexual violence. If a woman is expected to submit to her husband and be saved through childbearing, she cannot be raped. Nor can she complain to the relevant authorities because the bible categorically denies the equality of the sexes. Instead, from a biblical perspective, women are seen as breeding stock with no voice of their own.
Christianity doesn’t protect women; it dehumanizes them.
It should concern Christians that the Bible endorses the view of Iron Age men at the time it was written. How could this be the inspired words of a supreme deity? It can’t. The Bible is piece of shit.
(3735) Dramatic drop in Bible usage
Although ad populum arguments are unreliable for ascertaining truth, in this case, it does provide some insight. The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant drop in people using their Bibles. Why would this be so? Wouldn’t a worldwide catastrophe cause people to ‘return to the Bible’ for assurance and hope? Apparently not. The following was taken from:
For more than a decade, the American Bible Society has sponsored an annual survey of how Americans interact with Scripture. In the 2022 State of the Bible survey they noticed an unprecedented drop in the percentage of “Bible Users,” that is, Americans who use the Bible at least 3–4 times each year on their own, outside of a church setting.
In every study since 2018, Bible Users have accounted for between 47 and 49 percent of American adults. But in 2022, data showed a 10-percent decrease from the same time in 2021. That means nearly 26 million Americans reduced or stopped their interaction with Scripture in the past year.
The survey team also looked at a subcategory of the “Scripture Engaged.” They defined “scripture engagement” as consistent interaction with the Bible that shapes people’s choices and transforms their relationships with God, self, and others. Only 19 percent of American adults qualify as Scripture Engaged.
The demographic categories that were most engaged with the Bible were women (21 percent, compared to 16 percent for men), seniors 77 years and older (31 percent), African Americans (29 percent) the widowed (25 percent) and married (24 percent), people living in cities with a population between 5,000–30,000 population (25 percent), and people living in the American South (25 percent).
There are many plausible explanations for why this happened. One of the best is that people became disenchanted with the Bible after seeing so many of their prayers go unanswered as the pandemic raged on. This was probably intensified when their religious family and friends who refused the COVID-19 vaccines (because they claimed to be inoculated by Jesus) became infected and died or were hospitalized often with long-term health problems.
The ineffectiveness of prayer became a palpable sore, and it was hard to dismiss. It makes sense that a book that promises the power of prayer would lose its popularity when the prayers of so many believers went unanswered. And so, the Bible took a big hit.
(3736) NT references OT > 200 times
Most scripturally-literate Christians realize that there are critical problems with hundreds of passages in the Old Testament (OT) that conflict with modern conventions of morality and ethics. The common defense is to say that the New Testament (NT) replaced the OT, and so the atrocities of the OT no longer burden the faith. In the following it is shown that this ‘separation’ is a myth- the connection between the two testaments is strong, and Christians must own the OT or else risk being seen as ignorant of their own scriptures. The following was taken from:
Did you know that the New Testament ratifies the Old Testament over two hundred times? This point is included because many apologists and preachers would have you believe that the New Testament did away with the many cruel and immoral things of the Old. Where is the love and mercy in the New Testament when it ratifies and praises rather than rebukes any of the terrible things taught in the Old Testament? How about the teaching of an eternal hell fire that even the Old Testament never mentioned?
We can not simply ignore the fact that the New Testament accepted as historical truth the Old Testament’s stories. The leaders of those events are repeatedly honored and praised in the New Testament without one word of rebuke. The fact that it is not possible to separate the New Testament from the Old becomes even more evident when we count the number of times that the key characters in the Old Testaments are mentioned in the New: Moses 79 times, Abraham 70 times, David 54, Adam and/or Eve 10, and Noah 8 times.
The New Testament clearly ratifies the Old and often uses the Old Testament to explain the New. Again, it is just plain wrong to claim that the Old Testament was done away with, especially if Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and was a key player in many Old Testament events as Christians claim He was.
In order for Christianity to be considered legitimate, it must incorporate the Old Testament within its orbit of belief. The problem is that in so doing, it is signing its death warrant as a plausible enterprise, given that the type of god it wants to worship is not the same god portrayed in its holy scriptures.
(3737) God’s endless succession of failures
For a being who is supposedly omniscient and omnipotent, God has experienced an unusual amount of failures in his dealings with humanity. Something is not right, not right at all. The following was taken from:
God created the world and humanity and “saw that it was good” – yet shortly afterwards, His creation disobeyed and sin entered the world (if you believe Jewish mythology, this actually happened twice, with Lucifer’s rebellion being the first time).
Mankind’s sinful ways became so bad that God wiped out His entire creation with a flood, save for Noah and his family …
… which accomplished nothing whatsoever, since a few generations later, Noah’s descendants worshipped all sorts of false gods again, so God confounded their language and scattered them around the world …
… which accomplished nothing whatsoever, since Christianity teaches that all humans were and are still wretched sinners in need of salvation.
God freed His people from Egyptian captivity – only for them to fall into Babylonian captivity later. Still He couldn’t make them obey, and despite destroying the Pharaoh’s armies, God’s followers reverted to idol worship shortly afterwards.
Eventually God executed His grand plan for humanity: Free salvation for anyone who accepts Jesus Christ! Yet that offer turned out to be so unattractive that even 2000 years later, less than 30% of people are taking Him up on it (and that’s a very generous estimate – many of those are “Christians” in name only).
That after millennia of effort, with God killing millions to compel humanity into obedience, and with millions more killed by His followers in His name. And still humanity doesn’t obey, and God is still separated from most of His creation.
There is an old saying: “If one man calls you a cow, call him an ox. If a second man calls you a cow, slap him in the face. If a third man calls you a cow – start looking for a stable.” The idea is that when someone keeps encountering the same problem, there is a limit to how many times they can blame it on others rather than themselves. With God and His creation, that limit has clearly been reached.
God has failed to create a humanity free of the possibility of sin, He has failed to prevent sin from entering His creation, and all His efforts to remedy that (flood, covenant, Jesus) have failed to save even a simple majority of people, never mind all of them. These failures are too colossal and too frequent to blame them on the creation every time. The common denominator is the creator Himself.
God’s grade card at best is a D-. His plan and execution have been abysmal failures, and he continues to fail in the present day by failing to reveal himself to earnest seekers, many of whom would wish to believe, but can’t do so given the status of the available evidence. If there are many universes and many gods, Yahweh must be one of the worst ones.
(3738) Jesus’ scorecard
Christians claim that Jesus was the Jewish messiah prophesized in the Old Testament. The whole religion depends on the truth of this assertion. But when we look at the 11 criteria that needed to be met (11 out of 11 required), Jesus met only 1. This is a abysmal failure on a grand scale. The following was taken from:
“Candidate” Jesus, the Messiah of Christianity, satisfied only one out of the eleven requirements described in the “Job Requisition” for the position of Jewish Messiah. Does he qualify for the title of Jewish Messiah? Would you hire him?
Conclusion: Jesus was a failed candidate for the job of Jewish Messiah
(3739) Heaven and hell in the OT
Christianity is all about whether you will end up in heaven or hell for all eternity. Not much else really matters. Which elicits a big mystery. Why didn’t God emphasize the existence, significance, and entry requirements for these places in the Old Testament? The following was taken from:
Why are heaven and hell not taught in the Old Testament? Yes, both heaven and hell are mentioned in the Old Testament (at least in the King James Version). The word “heaven” occurs 414 times and the word “hell” 31 times (per search at BibleGateway.com). However, heaven is never mentioned as a place for human beings to aspire to live. It is mentioned as the place of God’s abode, as in 2 Chronicles 20:37, “their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.” There are places where the Old Testament mentions other beings in heaven besides God, but these are angels or spirits, not people. (Interestingly, several passages seem to equate stars, which we, of course, know to be suns, to be these angels or messengers of God. See Nehemiah 9:6 or Daniel 8:10.)
The only place where there is any association between human beings and the place called heaven is in the second chapter of 2 Kings where Elijah is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. Although hell is mentioned in the Old Testament 31 times, nowhere is there any mention of a “lake of fire”. Although it refers to the “sorrows of hell”, there is no place where any mention is made as hell of a place of fire or eternal torment. If hell is a place of fiery torment to be avoided and heaven is a place of wonderful bliss for saved humans to enjoy, why did God not warn us of this eternal fire or promise us eternal paradise in heaven anywhere in the Old Testament?
This is not a trivial problem for Christianity, because there are only a few possibilities, and they are all distasteful to Christians:
1) God didn’t construct a place for humans to go after death until Jesus came to the Earth- until then humans did not have an afterlife.
2) God deliberately withheld information about heaven and hell from his chosen people.
3) Christians imagined heaven and hell into existence as being a venue for afterlife reward and punishment, in contrast to how Yahweh is actually running things.
4) The whole thing is a scam, there is no god, and no afterlife.
No Christian wants to choose from these options, but to be genuine, they must.
(3740) Multiple wives for God’s favorite men
Although contemporary Christians insist that God’s plan is for one man to marry one woman to the exclusion of all other arrangements, the Bible tells a different story. As shown below, a lot of God’s favorite men had multiple wives, and God did not object:
The Bible gives many examples of God’s favorite men having multiple wives. Solomon, the wisest man on earth had seven hundred wives and three hundred sex slaves (concubines), but if a woman married, her husband better not suspect that she was not a virgin. Abraham: Two wives plus a concubine. Jacob: His two wives and two concubines gave birth to the leaders of the twelve tribes. Moses: Two. David: Eight of them, plus God told him he could have had more if he only asked. The Bible quotes God as saying that David was a man after His own heart. Gideon: Yes, even Gideon had many wives and sex slaves. Judges 8:30–31 Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech.
Christians are fighting their own Bible. Based on it, there can be no doubt that Yahweh supported the concept of multiple wives and concubines. Either the Bible is wrong, or Christian are wrong in how they portray Yahweh’s sense of marital morality.
(3741) Unintelligent design
Theists often tout the human body as being so amazingly designed that it couldn’t have happened without the guidance of a supernatural intelligence. However, when we compare aspects of human anatomy to human-created engineering components, a problem begins to emerge. The following was taken from:
The Immune System
This is one of the most popular things theists cite as brilliantly designed. This is such a brilliant system, they say, that it can’t have simply evolved. Really? Are you sure about that? Imagine for a moment that I decide to adopt a new security software suite for my business. This suite is touted as the most advanced ever created. After adoption of this new system, we find that the company’s IT systems are compromised at least on an annual basis. The systems go down. We lose productivity, and thus revenue. We lose files. It’s a really bad situation. In addition, the security system also targets and attacks files and suites that are not only important to the business, but would add significant value to the business. So, there are two problems with this security software. 1) it fails to protect us from actual threats adequately and, 2) it attacks items of value that the business needs. Would anyone call this a brilliant system? No! As I said in the executive summary, I would abandon the system post-haste, and depending on damages to the business I might even file some kind of lawsuit against the developer of the security software.
Why is this relevant to the human immune system? Well, on average on at least an annual basis, human beings get sick. It may be a cold, or a flu, or a bacterial infection, or something truly deadly. Reality is, though, that our “security system” fails us and we lose personal and professional productivity, time at work, family time, etc. I, myself, just got over a nasty flu that had me in bed for several days (I tested negative for COVID over and over and over again, so it was in fact just a flu and not the “the vid”). Once again, if my company’s security system failed me to the point that the company was down for several days, I would be looking for replacement software, in particular if this failure occurred every single year. In addition, our immune system attacks things that not only don’t pose any threat to us, but might actually be of some value. Pollen allergies are caused by your immune response to pollen. Pollen is not dangerous, and should not be attacked. Peanuts are a great food source! Yet, some people’s immune systems attack this food source for no reason whatsoever. That is just like the security system at a company attacking random files that the company needs. Any software system that behaved the way the human immune system does would be replaced immediately by something more robust and more reliable. No, the human immune system is not an example of brilliant design.
The eye is often touted as an example of amazingly brilliant design that could not have just evolved. I mean, irreducible complexity, folks! However, if we take a good look at the actual structure of the human eye, we quickly find some pretty profound flaws that any competent engineer would resolve. Consider a camera. What if I told you that I had designed the world’s most advanced camera? This camera, however, has some wires that hang down and create a blind spot right in the center of the image. This blind spot is automatically corrected for by the camera’s processor/software, but the blind spot due to the wires exists, nonetheless. In addition, the image captured by the lens arrives at the image processor upside down. Once again, the processor and software correct this, but the camera is spending processing power correcting these things when the camera could have just been designed better. Would you agree that this was the best-designed camera on the market? No???
That is exactly how the human eye, however, is structured. There are nerves/blood vessels that do in fact create a blind spot in the center of our vision that our brain corrects for before delivering a 3D model of the world to our conscious mind. The brain corrects for this so well that we’re not even consciously aware of it. You can actually experience this blind spot, however, in the following way. My hometown is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California in the high desert. My folks still live in the house I grew up in at an elevation of 6,000 feet. On a moonless and cloudless night, the stars appear in such numbers that it boggles comprehension. Upon looking at these stars and allowing one’s eyes to adjust to the darkness, one can perceive very faint stars out of one’s peripheral vision. However, when one looks directly at these faint stars … they can’t be seen. You can only see them out of your peripheral vision and not when you look directly at them. Why? The blind spot. Your brain does not correct for the very faint points of light that are extremely distant or dim stars in the night sky. Thus, you can actually experience this blind spot resulting from the “design flaw” in your eye by looking at a deep night sky full of myriad stars. Also, as per my camera example, the image your eye delivers to your brain is in fact upside down and your brain must spend processing power correcting for this in addition to correcting for the blind spot. This is not an example of a brilliant design. It is, however, explained by evolution by means of natural selection. Natural selection isn’t a perfect process, and thus delivers “designs” that would never make sense to any engineer.
Our respiratory system is also touted by theists as something too brilliant to have “occurred by chance.” Once again, this is simply not the case and upon reflection, it becomes clear that the structure could be far better. Consider an architect who has designed the HVAC system for a building. This design is touted as the most brilliant ever. Oh, by the way, the architect tells you that the building’s plumbing pipes run through part of the HVAC system. There are valves that are designed to automatically open and close in order to prevent water from entering the HVAC, the architect says, so that should prevent any problems. Would you consider this a brilliant design? I wouldn’t. Any design that if malfunctioning would flood a building with water is just not a good design.
Our respiratory system, however, runs its main pipes through the same system that we drink fluid and eat food through. There are indeed valves that are designed to open and close automatically to prevent these fluids or foods from entering the “HVAC system” (lungs), but as we all know these systems malfunction and cause death. This is a fatal structural flaw, and any intelligent engineer would immediately recognize this and avoid such a design. Once again, the human body has structural flaws, and this time they are potentially lethal. Brilliant design? Not so much.
If one takes the time to walk through the various “systems” in the human body, and one simultaneously considers these systems from an engineering standpoint, it becomes quickly obvious that intelligent design was simply not involved here. The most intelligent and brilliant designer in the entire universe could not have designed these systems because they all have flaws of varying degrees up to and including flaws that are potentially lethal to us. Evolution by means of natural selection does explain why these structural flaws could come to be. There are genetic mutations that are not in any way “managed” or “directed” by any intelligence. These mutations simply take place. Natural selection, that is, does this mutation increase the likelihood of survival and reproduction or does it decrease the same, is what determines whether this mutation is passed on to new generations or whether it perishes upon appearance. Mutations building over time via natural selection processes are a reasonable explanation for why these “structural flaws” would exist. A perfect and brilliant designer would simply not make these mistakes.
Unless Christians are willing to admit that God is less skilled as an engineer than humanity’s finest, then they will need to rethink this line of apologetics.
(3742) Salvation confusion
If someone unfamiliar with Christianity picked up a Bible and tried to figure out how they could make it to heaven, they would suffer a lot of confusion. Biblical authors put out a lot of ideas on this subject. It seems that if the Holy Spirit was the guiding force for this project, it got itself confused along with the rest of us. The following was taken from:
Most Christians are taught that there is only one way to be saved. However, their source for this, the Bible, actually records more than twenty diverse ways, many of which are clear contradictions. What basis did you use to pick yours?
Paul says in Galatians 2:16 & Romans 3:20 that it’s by faith alone. James 2:21–24 states that it is by works. Acts 2:21 & Romans 10:13 says to just call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved, HOWEVER, Matthew 7:21 states that not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Matthew 25:34–46 teaches that heaven is obtained only by helping the poor and needy and without doing so, one is eternally condemned.
Romans 8:29–30 & Romans 9:15–16 makes it very clear that salvation is only the result of election and predestination by God regardless of what anyone does. Yet, in the same book we are instructed in Romans 10:9 that we actually must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord AND believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Can someone truly believe something that they have no evidence for? Is believing in Jesus any different than the billions of other people who believed in one of the other thousands of gods that history informs us of? Almost all believers of any religion simply believe that what their parents and culture taught them was true. Pure and simple.
Mark 16:16 declares you must be baptized, but then in 1 Corinthians 1:14 we hear the great missionary Paul thanking God that he didn’t baptize any of them, except for one or two. Romans 2:13 teaches that you must keep the law. Then we have Matthew 10:22 & Mark 13:13 saying that only those who endure to the end will be saved. Philippians 2:12 warns the reader to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling while John 3:16 says all you need to do is believe. James 2:14 makes it clear that faith alone is of no value while Galatians 5:4 says you are damned if you do not use faith alone.
John 6:53–54 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” And yes some, mainly Catholics, take this verse as literal.
The New Testament is allegedly a road map for how to get to heaven. Imagine you are writing a book about how to get to X from Y, and in the book, you say take Highway 28, but then later say that Highway 28 will not get you there, so you need to take Highway 39 as well, but then later in the book, you say that Highway 28 will take you in the wrong direction, and instead you should take Highway 55. All of this under one cover. Certainly, it would be confusing. And this is the Bible, fumbling embarrassingly in setting down the criteria for the central focus and reason for its existence.
(3743) God failed to align the Bible to an accurate view of the universe.
The Bible teaches that the Earth and humans were God’s special creation and the focus of his attention. This idea worked fine during the times that people thought that the Earth was the only large structure, with the sun, moon, and stars being little more than decorations that moved across the sky. But once the true scale of the universe was discovered, this theory came under severe pressure. The following was taken from:
Four thousand years ago, people looked up at the sky and saw a bunch of pretty flickering dots. They could use these dots to navigate and track seasonal cycles, and so concluded that that is what they’re for, and that they were placed there for our benefit.
Two thousand years ago, people looked up at the sky and saw the same thing. Our world was all that was, and the lights in the sky existed for our benefit.
Today, we have a different picture of the night sky. With advances in astronomy and physics, we have gained an understanding of a universe that is not just pretty lights in the night sky, but an incomprehensibly vast void containing hundreds of billions of stars like our own sun, just in our own galaxy. And beyond our galaxy, there are at least hundreds of billions of other galaxies. And we now know that orbiting most of those stars are planets, many of which are seemingly not dissimilar from our own.
In the new picture of the universe, our planet Earth, and us humans who inhabit it, exist in a position that seems, by all accounts, more or less random. While still unproven, it’s seeming increasingly unlikely that intelligences like ours exist only on our world, and nowhere else, let alone life in general.
Now, on its face, none of that addresses the existence or non-existence of a deity. I personally lean toward non-existence, but I also recognize that I can’t prove it one way or another. But this post isn’t about the existence or non-existence of a deity.
Christianity, and the other Abrahamic faiths, is notably anthropocentric, which is to say that it revolves around humanity in particular. The classical view of the world from a Christian perspective is one that places our world (and especially our species) literally at the center of creation, with everything else existing to service, in some form, that creation. It posits humanity not just as a creation of a deity, but THE creation, crafted in its own image. I recognize that many modern Christians ease up the literal interpretation to make room for modern science, but there are also a huge amount that still subscribe to that classical geocentric view (in a broad sense, not in a ‘sun orbits the earth’ sense).
I don’t believe that it’s possible to recognize the validity of modern cosmology while also maintaining the belief that we are the point of creation, and the center (literal or otherwise) of it. Consider this. The universe as we see it is a time capsule. The further you go from Earth, the further back in time we’re looking. Due to cosmic expansion, anything outside of our local galactic neighborhood will be forever outside of our reach, even if we manage to travel at light speed.
Considering all of that, I’m left wondering how Christianity can still be viewed as a logical conclusion in the modern age. How does one reconcile the sheer enormity of existence, and our miniscule place in it, with the idea that God created our world and THEN created everything else around it (one single day for Earth, another single day for billions of other galaxies each containing billions of stars, many of which are likely orbited by other Earths)? How does one maintain a belief that the creator of the entire universe sent not just his son, but notably his ONLY son, to save mankind in particular? And why would a deity create a universe for us to live in, just to fill it with physical places we will never be able to reach?
I recognize that there are many people who are open to possibilities like God having created many species on many worlds, and coming to them in their own way, but those explanations are obviously extra-biblical, and in many cases directly contradictory. So for people who don’t subscribe to such addendums, how do you simultaneously hold a modern view of the universe with a belief in Christianity?
The question that should be asked is that if the Bible was actually inspired by a universal God, shouldn’t it have been fashioned in a different way- allowing for the fact that the universe is very large, the stars are actually suns like ours, and that it was very old. That is, wouldn’t a god have known that humans would eventually discover their place in the universe, and wouldn’t he have wanted his scriptures to be consistent with that future discovery? According to Christians, apparently not.
(3744) God’s alleged attributes collide disastrously
When you put all of the qualities of God, as described by Christians, into a box, the box will explode because the ingredients are mutually exclusive. Christians are ‘playing tennis without the net.’ The following was taken from:
Oft-repeated items from childhood stick in the mind. Our mealtime grace was “God is good, God is great, thank you for this food. Amen.” Full-blown, industrial strength, Sunday School naivety about religion. Drivel. I’m tempted now to ask, “What were we thinking?” —but of course we weren’t thinking at all. How is it even remotely possible that the creative force that (supposedly) runs the Cosmos requires/desires/appreciates being told by countless humans that he/she/it is good and great? What a useless idea. Moreover, instead of the word “God,” we could just have well have said “our food supply chain” is good and great. If you didn’t eat everything on your plate, the cliché we heard was, “Think of all the starving people in China.” If God is good and great, how could that happen? We were fortunate to have a well-functioning food supply chain.
With this kind of banality—god is great/good—Christian theology set itself up for failure from the get-go. It proposes and urges/demands belief in an omni-god: omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent: power, knowledge, and goodness at the highest levels imaginable. But when we look at life, here on the ground on Planet Earth, this combination of attributes cannot be sustained. They collide disastrously, rendering this theology incoherent. In fact, this god cannot possibly exist. Or, if he/she/it does exist, we’ve been cheated by the Cosmos: there’s a higher power trying to manage this mess? Sorry, that deserves an F grade.
Or, as John Loftus puts it, “Rather than an omni-god, what we find instead is an incompetent, ignorant, inept deity.”
Christians are placed in the metaphorical role of the villagers who were encouraged to complement the king on his new clothes while he pranced around naked. Yes, God is both good and all-powerful, so don’t let what you observe steer you away from this ‘truth.’ The cognitive dissonance of Christians is reinforced daily by the pain, sadness, disease, and violence that visits they and their acquaintances Something is not matching up, but for most, they throw up their arms and say that ‘God is mysterious.’ It often never dawns of them that there is a much simpler and more elegant solution-’God doesn’t exist.’
(3745) Biblical versus scientific authority
The Bible contains some stories that are palpably false such as the Great Flood of Noah, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, and the Garden of Eden. Likewise, there have been scientific theories that were proven wrong, such as a geocentric universe, the ether, the steady-state universe, the four elements, and the idea that humans evolved from Neanderthals. So, it might suit a Christian apologist to say that this is a ‘push,’- just because the Bible contains some false stories doesn’t impugn the rest of it, just as some bad scientific theories do not invalidate the entire field of science.
However, this argument runs into trouble because there is a critical asymmetry at play. The Bible supposedly is supported by a central authority, God, who allegedly is the force that inspired its entire creation. Science, on the other hand, does not have a central controlling authority. So an error in the Bible is much more significant- it implies that that the central governing force is either absent of negligent. Whereas an error in science is easily explained by episodic human fallibility.
Therefore, the rationalization that Bible errors don’t invalidate the Bible any more than scientific errors invalidate science is, itself, invalid.
(3746) The waterfall analogy
Suppose you take a walk to a spectacular waterfall. After viewing it you find a trail that takes you up to the crest of the falls, and then proceed to follow the upstream river. As you continue your hike above the falls, you see someone rafting on the river, heading directly toward the top of the falls and near certain death. What do you do?
1) You do nothing, simply waive at the rafter as he goes by, because it is his fault- the information was available that rafting on this portion of the river is dangerous, and he failed to access it, or
2) You warn the rafter that there is a falls immediately ahead and that he needs to navigate quickly to the shoreline to avoid a deadly plunge.
If you are Yahweh, you would choose #1. Daily, he sees people going about their lives without having the proper belief to be sent to heaven, and does nothing, expecting them to somehow figure it out by themselves, while failing to give them the evidence they need to avoid this terrible fate.
Now some will argue and say that God has given the necessary information and that in this analogy the rafter did receive the warning (that reasonably should have caused him to avoid the raft ride) but he chose to ignore it. This counter-argument fails because even if this is true, and somehow you know the rafter was properly warned but chose to ignore it, you would still choose #2, and give him additional information- that the falls is directly ahead, you’ve just been there, and that it is large and has ragged boulders and is not survivable). Once he hears this, he navigates to the shoreline and is saved.
So Yahweh gives us what he might consider ‘sufficient information’ to be saved- the Bible, the ‘wonders’ of the world, and so on, but once he sees someone not being convinced by this, he does nothing and just lets them die on the falls (go to hell). Being omnipotent, this is his choice, not something that he can’t do.
So, the bottom line is, once again– virtually every human being is better than Yahweh.
(3747) How Paul invented Christianity
There is good evidence that if it hadn’t been for Paul, Christianity would not have become a world religion. The following is a description of how he managed his ministry:
Paul wanted his new religion to supersede Judaism. For this to happen the Jews would have to accept that the Law was now redundant. It had done well enough to teach mankind how to be righteous until the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. More than likely he tried to persuade some Jews of the truth of his vision and failed – a failure of which he himself , not surprisingly, made no (known) deliberate record. The obvious place for him to start was with the surviving followers of Jesus. But he needed their goodwill, couldn’t risk alienating them – and preaching blasphemy to them would have done that for sure. The recorded stories of his encounters with “the saints in Jerusalem”, as he calls them, are transparently spun to present a picture of amity. But try as they might, neither Paul himself nor his shill, the author of Acts, managed to conceal the disagreement, opposition, indignation, accusation, rivalry, and finally violent anger that arose between Paul and the Jews who were for Jesus in Jerusalem.  The Jewish followers of Jesus – called the “first Christians” by Christians – went on believing in one God only and that the Law of Moses was for ever.
Paul must have despaired quite early on of converting Jews in large numbers (though he did convert some who lived outside Judea). He concentrated his efforts on gentiles. He found ready convert-material in the small crowds of Greeks who associated themselves with the synagogues in the eastern Empire. Called “God-fearers” by the Jews, and given a set of only seven laws easy to obey , they were attracted to Judaism, but hesitant or unwilling to take the prescribed steps to become Jews – perhaps because, for men, the process of conversion involved circumcision.  Paul told them they need not be circumcised (initiation would be by water); need not refrain from eating foods they liked which the Jews called unclean; and need not obey the Law, but only have faith in Christ.
He succeeded in winning some tens or hundreds or even perhaps thousands of gentiles – how many is not known – but they often lapsed from the new faith. Paul’s letters show his anger and disappointment when he learned that after he’d moved on from an apparently convinced congregation to conquer more hearts and minds, some other missionary (or “apostle”) had arrived among his converts or at their synagogue and preached something different about Jesus: perhaps a “saint” from Jerusalem who denied that Jesus was the Son of God, but was the Messiah who would overthrow Roman rule, and that to be ready for that day the congregants must scrupulously obey the Law.
No, no!, only have faith in Christ, Paul repeated in his letters to them.
But why should gentiles want to be saved from sin if they were not subject to the Jewish Law, disobedience to which was the very definition of sin? Those who did not know the Law could not know that they sinned, Paul says in his confession.
This problem of his own making Paul overcame with a stroke of pure genius. He decreed that all human beings are sinful, not because of anything each of them has done or failed to do, but by moral inheritance. He invented “original sin”. Because the first man and first woman had sinned by disobeying God (in the myth of Eden and the temptation), all their descendants, Paul decided, were guilty of sin and every one of them had to suffer the punishment, which was death.
But then, after many an age, Christ had come, the Son of God born as a man, to save mankind from his terrible fate by his own suffering and death. “Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead.”  And, with Paul’s typical illogicality: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses [who gave the Law] … For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 
Thus the gentiles learnt from Paul that they all needed to be saved from sin by the Christ Jesus. Being saved from sin meant being saved from death, and an eternal afterlife of bliss was on offer as a free gift to those whom Christ chooses to save. Those whom Christ does not choose to save will be dead forever. 
That uncertain hope of eternal bliss, and Original Sin, and a theology of one God who is two gods, and a rite of symbolically devouring God, and a prescription for a life of austerity and toil are what this randy, bandy, burly, cunning little man with an ape-like brow and a reedy voice gave the world as “Christianity”. And the world caught it like a terrible disease from which it has not yet fully recovered.
Absent Paul, there would be very few letters in the New Testament, probably no vision of Jesus as a divine figure, the gospels would not project Jesus with divine features, and Jesus would belong to history as a failed Jewish messiah. No Paul = no Christianity.
(3748) Exorcism death
There are multiple issues related to the death of a 3 year-old girl who was being abused by church officials in an attempt to rid her of a demon. The following was taken from:
San Jose police have arrested two more family members of a young girl killed during an apparent exorcism inside a small San Jose church.
The child’s grandfather, Rene Trigueros Hernandez, as well as her uncle, Rene Aaron-Hernandez Santos, were booked into Santa Clara County Jail Thursday on suspicion of felony child abuse leading to death, according to police.
Hernandez is a pastor at the church where the girl died last September, and can be seen on videos posted to YouTube delivering fiery sermons to a small congregation.
Authorities say the girl suffocated during an exorcism-type ceremony performed by the girl’s family, who told police they were trying to drive an evil spirit from her body.
The church where she died is the same one that was searched last month after 3-month-old baby Brandon Cuellar was kidnapped from a San Jose home. The church is known as la Iglesia Apostoles y Profetas and its members meet inside a back room of an East San Jose home.
The girl’s mother, Claudia Hernandez, was arrested in January on felony child abuse charges and remains in custody without bail. She declined NBC Bay Area’s request to speak with her from jail.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office recently ruled the girl’s death a homicide, concluding she died from asphyxia due to suffocation.
According to court documents first obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit, the girl’s mother and uncle brought her to the church last September, believing she was possessed by a demon because she would sometimes wake up at night screaming or crying.
According to the family’s statement to police, the three family members held the girl down for seven hours, repeatedly forcing her to throw up in an attempt to, they say, rid her body of the evil spirit.
Hernandez also choked her daughter several times during the attempted exorcism to the point the child lost consciousness, according to a written opposition to Hernandez’s pre-trial release filed by prosecutors.
Police say the family waited two hours after her death to call 911 and that nobody in the family attempted any life-saving measures. Responding officers found the girl unresponsive on the floor of the church, according to police.
When police arrived, they found the girl with multiple injuries around her eyes, face, neck and chest, according to court records from the mother’s criminal case. Police say the victim was given nothing except about six ounces of water during the 20-or-so hours leading up to her death.
Earlier this week, NBC Bay Area confirmed Hernandez posted a video on YouTube talking about her child’s death. In the video, Hernandez doesn’t reveal details about the alleged exorcism, but she talks about how people turned their backs on her after what happened to her daughter.
“I could sit here and be negative and say ‘I wish I could go back.’ But there’s no point of me doing that. Because I cannot change what is. It is what it is,” said the woman in the video, which was recorded months after the child’s death.
She was arrested a few days after the video was posted.
This brings up a few comments:
1) Where was God during this tragedy? Was it OK with him that a child would die needlessly as a result of false doctrine (the existence of demons) which he himself allowed to be placed in his holy scriptures?
2) Wouldn’t a god have known that promoting demonology in the scriptures would lead to countless cases of people being injured or killed in attempts to remove non-existent evil spirits from peoples’ bodies?
3) Wouldn’t a god have known that the promotion of demonology would cause many people afflicted with mental issues to be exorcised in lieu of receiving effective treatments?
At the very least, the demonology of the Bible is an indication that it is a reflection of human ignorance that existed at the time it was written.
(3749) God heals only what is healable without God
Christians have the disingenuous habit of inserting God into certain situations, while excluding him from others that should, by the same rules, legitimately apply. The result is that they are fooling themselves and making themselves look stupid. The following was taken from:
About the God healing amputees thing:
I was asking TikTok live users (who all seem to be people of faith, oddly enough) about this and didn’t get any useful answers.
So it seems that some believers would have us believe that God can and does actively heal people:
- My grandma no longer has cancer and the doctors are stunned. God did it.
- The tumor in my brain was removed my a surgeon. Thank God.
- My sister was having trouble with her pregnancy and everything turned out just fine. God did it.
- My whole family got the flu but nobody was out for more than 5 days. Glory be.
You get the idea.
But what I find interesting is how every disease or miracle around healing seems to be stuff they aren’t directly monitoring 24/7. Stomach aches. Brain disorders. Anxiety. Etc.
They’d surely admit that God has had his hand in every single disease cure ever. But why is it never miraculous things on the outside of the body that would be truly miraculous to see?
Why doesn’t God regrow someone’s missing eye. Or lost limbs. Or deformed face. Or bone structure abnormalities. Or obesity.
The common denominator here is easy to spot: God heals only what is healable without God. Therefore God is probably (I’d say definitely, as an atheist) not healing any of them.
What’s happening instead is they are healing naturally and then the believer inserts God into the story. This is why folks with Downs Syndrome aren’t ever included in God’s healing works. It’s why people born without limbs don’t spontaneously regrow them.
A Christian will never ask himself why prayers for cancer work (sometimes) whereas prayers for Downs or amputees don’t work (ever). This cognitive bias shelters their fantasy view that there is a super powerful man in the sky who is on their side.
(3750) Command to kill non-believers
Christianity has a long history of killing infidels, and though apologists might dismiss this fact as being the actions of ‘bad actors,’ they cannot hide from the fact that infidelicide is baked right into their scriptures:
2 Chronicles 15:12-13
And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
“But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
Most Christians are taught that God inspired the authors of the books of the Bible and also inspired the committees who selected which books belong in the Bible. Therefore, this command must have come from God, as per Christian dogma. Of course, killing non-believers is a minor inconvenience compared to the eternal horrors of hell.
Follow this link to #3751