It’s one of the oldest lines in the book (I’m not referring to the Bible), that Jesus, upon his coming to Earth as the son of God and eventual crucifixion, created a New Covenant for Christians (then the Jews) to live by, thereby abolishing the Old Covenant of Moses and the laws of the Old Testament, referred to as the Mosaic Law.
This is why certain Christians today claim that they do not have to follow the laws where God commands the stoning of gays (Lev. 20:13), supposed witches (Exo. 22:17), adulterers (Lev. 20:10), fornicators (Lev. 21:9), people of other faiths (Exo. 22:19), disobedient children (Lev. 20:9), entire towns of nonbelievers, including their women, children, infants, and livestock (Deut. 13:13-19), women who aren’t virgins on their wedding nights (Deut. 22:20-21), people who work on the Sabbath (Exo. 31:12-15), blasphemers/infidels (Lev. 24:10-16), and many more.
There are, however, many Christians who would gladly quote these verses and say that we are still bound by these laws, such as the extremely homophobic Kansas and North Carolina pastors that have been in the news recently. Which is it then?
By today’s standards, this is barbaric and disgusting. If someone today tried to kill someone else for any of these reasons, they would be considered a murderous psychopath, not someone who is doing good by carrying out the will of some god, even if those might be their intentions.
This rightfully so should be considered such, because it is barbaric; it is evil and backwards. If God is so loving, how can he ask this of his people? Even if these aren’t in effect right now, which I will get to in a second, what kind of “loving father” would command at any point in time his children to kill others, God’s other children, for just happening to be born in a different nation, for being born into a family of a differing religion, or for being born gay? “God is love,” I guess.
The claim made by Christians is that Jesus abolished these laws. This may be true, and let’s assume that it is for a minute. Now, I’m not going to argue if there is a new covenant. There is. It is laid out in the Old and New Testaments that God was going to create such a thing. In fact, here is a Christian explanation for the New Covenant. My only contention is when people say that since the Old Covenant was abolished, they no longer have to kill sinners, such as gays, supposed witches, adulterers, etc.
One Christian apologist blog claims that it has been abolished in one of their posts “Has the Mosaic Law Been Abolished?“
Since it was fulfilled, its requirements no longer apply. Thus practically, it has been abolished. As such, we are not required to follow it.
The author of the post gives numerous biblical verses that support the idea that the Mosaic Law has been abolished, or at least that we are no longer required to follow it. I suggest reading them all. If this is so, then what are the laws that people should follow? One of the people in the comments had this very same problem, except they were a Christian. They claimed, “According to [the author], we can now have sex with animals, commit incest…” and do all sorts of other things that were forbidden in the Old Testament.
A different Christian apologist site called Truth on the Web, has a different perspective on the matter. Emphasis his, not mine.
The apostle John taught throughout his writings that the law is still to be observed by God’s people. You could read in John 5:14 & 8:11 where Jesus told people to “sin no more”. WHAT IS SIN? I John 3:4 states, ” …sin is the transgression of the law”. SIN IS THE BREAKING OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS! Jesus said not to break them anymore!
More disagreements between Christians on their own scripture and Messiah. Fun.
From what I’ve gathered from the latter of the two apologists, the Ten Commandments are still in effect, because Jesus, the Apostles, and others cite them throughout the New Testament, but the author says nothing of the 600 or so other commandments of God.
Are they the laws that were abolished upon Jesus’ crucifixion? If it is true that we are supposed to follow the Ten Commandments alone, then what are the punishments for breaking them? The Old Testament says to stone and kill people who break them. It is suggested in the New Testament that the same punishment be dealt when Jesus quotes the laws of Moses in Mark 7:9-13.
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
So even if the laws I mentioned at the beginning were abolished, the Ten Commandments were not and are still commanded of Christians to this day. Do not forget too, the punishment for breaking the Ten Commandments “is to be put to death.” Hey, Jesus’ words, not mine (well, technically Moses, but Jesus is quoting him).
Now, God (Jesus’ daddy…who is also him…who is also a part…that is still separate from him…and…what?) did not seem to change his mind about the laws and commandments I have mentioned when they moved into the New Testament, as is abundantly clear in Romans 1:26-32.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
I’m going to ignore the part where God just made people gay, fully knowing that they would be punished for what he made them do.
According to this, things like homosexuality and other sins mentioned are to be punished by killing the sinner. Remember, this is not the Old Testament. Romans is in the New Testament, so there is no getting around it. God is telling us in the New Testament that homosexuality, among other things, is still a sin that must be punished with death according to “God’s righteous decree.” God wants us to kill gays (Leviticus 20:13), but we’ve been “released from the law” (Romans 7:6), so we don’t have to, but God still wants us to, because gays “deserve death” (Romans 1:32).
Some verses point towards a New Covenant being established, but there are also verses where Jesus himself is quoting Mosaic Laws, such as stoning disobedient children. Then there are laws and commandments in the New Testament that are identical to those in the Old. This further proves that 1) the Bible can be interpreted and cherry-picked however one sees fit in order to justify their beliefs and actions, and that 2) there are contradictions upon contradictions contained within the Bible.
So apparently, John Christy, the Christian that was on Dogma Debate recently who I wrote about in my most recent post The Christian Listener, has his own blog. I was unaware of this until I got a call from David Smalley about John’s response to the discussion we had on the show.
After thanking us for having him on the show for half the post, he starts off with this:
Smalley kept using Malachi 3:6 as a reference stating, “I the Lord do not change.” Smalley used this claim as the Bible’s support of killing homosexuals and slavery. What he did not read, and I failed to bring to his attention, was the second half of that verse which also states “So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed”.
Looking at the full context of this verse, which John is so big about, we see that what David said was not out of context.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
Always, every time, every single time an atheist quotes the Bible, a Christian will say some variation of, “You’re taking it out of context!” Even if they’re wrong, they will say it, because they will immediately say that we are wrong for “taking it out of context” once you say something from the Bible that they disagree with. “I the Lord do not change,” is not taken out of context. I have seen Christian apologists even quote Malachi 3:6 just as David did to prove similar points.
However, there are verses from the Old Testament where God does change his mind on things, as is clear from Jeremiah 18:7-10.
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
This could be construed as changing his mind, but if God is omniscient, then he knows what nations and kingdoms will do what he wanted and which ones will not, so it’s not really changing his mind if he knows what is going to happen.
Then Hebrews 7:21 says, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind…”
So God does change his mind from the Jeremiah verses, but also he doesn’t from the Malachi and Hebrews verses. This is but another contradiction in the Bible for people to cherry-pick all the verses that support their interpretations of it.
Next in his post, John says this.
Smalley also avoided my continual usage of Jesus’ statement to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). This is why a proper contextual understanding of the Bible is so critical to not only bring balance and understanding to God’s word but also to his nature.
Yes, it is true. Jesus did say the greatest commandments are to love God to love your neighbour. So what? It doesn’t mean the Malachi verse was taken out of context.
“You’re taking it out of context!” is not an argument unless you can show how it actually has been taken out of context. If someone quotes a person as saying, “I want to kill everyone,” and we look at the actual context of what that person said and what they actually said was, “It’s not like I want to kill everyone, but I am angry,” then that is an example of something being taken out of context. Quoting Malachi 3:6 as, “I the Lord do not change,” is not something that has been taken out of context. Please understand the difference.
During the most recent episode of Dogma Debate, we had on John Christy, a Christian listener of the show, for David Smalley and the rest of us to converse with. The segment was supposed to be only about twenty minutes long, maybe forty at the most, but we ended up talking to him for over an hour and a half. A reason for that is because 1) we had a lot to talk about, and 2) he takes forever to say anything.
He was a nice guy. I am not trying to hate on John. I like him as a person. I am not a bigot against Christians, as much as Christians (and some atheists) would like to think I am. I do not like his beliefs. I do not like what he stands for. I do not like the source he claims is his moral compass. There’s a difference. If the Christian can say, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” then we can say, “Hate the beliefs, not the believer,” which is how I felt about John.
A very big problem I did have with him during the show was how when asked very specific and direct questions, he would employ how it takes forever for him to say anything, which derails the conversation to avoid actually answering the question. While the show was going on, I got comments from listeners who were saying exactly that. When repeatedly asked the same question because he was avoiding it, he just continued to ramble on as if he did not hear a thing (which maybe he honestly didn’t because he was calling in on Skype).
Getting onto some specific points from the discussion.
John claimed that Jesus was breaking the Mosaic Laws, such as when he broke the Sabbath, and this is why we shouldn’t follow those laws anymore. The problem here is that it’s not biblically accurate, which is funny, because John kept saying that we weren’t being biblically accurate, neither was the North Carolina pastor who wanted every gay to be put into a giant concentration camp for them to die off in.
The reason John is not biblically accurate is because Jesus was angered by the Pharisees for not following the Laws of Moses, as is clear in Mark 7:9-13.
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Jesus is clearly mad that people are not following the Old Testament laws, especially the hypocrites who claimed he was not. Jesus wants us to follow the Old Testament laws of Moses. Jesus wants disobedient children to be executed. It’s right there in black and white.
In response to when I pressured him about this, John claimed that Jesus was a law-breaker, that he broke the Sabbath repeatedly. This is partially true. Jesus was accused of working the Sabbath by the Pharisees, because he ate grain on the Sabbath, which required work. Also, the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by healing the sick. However, according to an apologetics site, Jesus was not sinning when he worked on the Sabbath.
When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He was not breaking the Sabbath, but fulfilling it, because one is not at rest when afflicted, oppressed and bound by disease or infirmity. As many scriptures show, God delights in redeeming and restoring the afflicted, and giving them the rest exemplified by His Sabbath. God “hears the cry of the afflicted. When he gives quietness [rest], who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:28–29).
I’m not saying that I agree with the either John or the apologetics site, but it’s funny to see how Christians disagree with each other so much with their interpretations of who Jesus was, what he did, what he taught, and how we should live our lives according to his teachings.
Now the reason John brought this up was because he was saying that the coming of Jesus, that his time here on Earth, was him creating a new covenant and getting rid of the Mosaic Laws, such as stoning gays, disobedient children, people of other faiths, people who work on the Sabbath, and other people for what today would be considered barbaric and for arbitrary reasons. Well, that same article on Jesus breaking the Sabbath has this to say on that.
Had Jesus Christ actually broken the Sabbath, He would have been sinning. But the Scripture says that He “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22). Had He sinned, He could not be our Savior. But He, being undefiled and separate from sinners, offered Himself without spot and without blemish to God for our redemption (Hebrews 7:26; 9:14; 1 Peter 1:18–19).
Breaking the Sabbath, according to these Christians, is a sin even today. John did not say that Jesus did not break the Sabbath because he was doing God’s will or because it was a matter of life or death, only that Jesus broke the Sabbath, because he was creating a new covenant for people to live by. I, if I were a Christian, would spin this to say that the new covenant had already been made, so Jesus was still perfect and had not sinned, therefore he could still be sacrificed to God (who is himself…but is also his father…but is also a part of him…who is still separate…and then there’s that Holy Ghost thing…what?) for the sins that he let happen.
Speaking of, Smalley also tried to get an answer out of John on this one. Jesus was a sacrifice to God for the sins that God was fully aware were going to happen. God knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin by eating from the Tree of Knowledge. John responded to this by going around the question and speaking for a really long time without really saying anything that had anything to do with the question.
Here is the difference between Christians and atheists. Christians, when faced with the tough questions, will make excuses and/or go around the question itself. Atheists will straight up answer that question.
Another thing he claimed was that Christianity does not command the murder of people for things such as homosexuality, fornication, adultery, working on the Sabbath, etc. This is why he thought, when we played the audio of it, that the North Carolina pastor was being biblically inaccurate for what he said. However, nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus, or anyone for that matter, say that the laws of Moses have been voided, and it is all the more clear that Jesus himself wants us to follow those laws with how he quoted them himself. If he did not want us to follow these laws, then it would be just another contradiction added to the mountain of contradictions found in the Bible.
My favourite part of the interview, the part where you just want to facepalm so badly, is when John said this.
I’m not even allowed now to have my own opinion to myself. I don’t go out and attack homosexuals. I disagree with the Westboro Baptist Church, you know. But I can’t even just think that it’s sin in my own life. Now I have to conform to what society believes, otherwise, I’m gonna be in trouble. I’m gonna lose my friends…
Bigots should be ostracised. Why is the KKK ostracised? Why is it considered a hate group? Because it is! Soon NOM and other anti-gay groups and people will be seen as the same, and they should be. Persecuting others for their sexuality or their gender or their race is not acceptable. Thinking that they are inferior, that they are going to hell, that they are going to be eternally punished because of something that they can’t control should be frowned upon for so many reasons.
However, Christians are not persecuted in America. Christians are not banned from holding public office in several states. Christians are not misrepresented in the media. Christians are not told that less than half of all Americans would vote for them. Christians are not legally allowed to be discriminated against in the workplace. Atheists are. Gays are. No Christian can say they feel persecuted in a country where 80% of the population are Christian.
I have taken GodandSociety’s original post and made my comments basically in the margins, more so at the end of each paragraph, so that people know what I am referring to when I talk about something in his post. Sorry for subjecting my readers to Christian idiocy such as this which tries to masquerade as intelligence and just comes off as a pseudointellectual that mocks people to make it seem like he’s somehow smarter than them. You may say that was an ad hominem; no, it was just an insult.
Re: Refuting God and his fan club
Taking pride in my orthodox Christianity means many things, and the call to defend it is one of those things. Before you can even begin to defend what you consider truth, you must first, subject yourself to dissenting viewpoints. Some of these viewpoints may raise good objections, while others may fail miserably – in this case they fail, and rather spectacularly at that. However, sometimes you just have to get these things done no matter how bad they are [; I wonder if I could be considered a masochist for putting myself through reading these viewpoints?]. So in my attempt to clear up a few problems I have with Daniel’s [TheBarkingAtheist] post – Refuting God and his fan club – I will split my response into some categories: theology, Christian theology, philosophy, science and general errors.
To begin with, I would like to congratulate Daniel on realising there is more to theology – especially natural theology – than what one; who is lacking the basics, may first think about the subject. Over and over again, Daniel makes the comment about which god – Allah, Yahweh, Zeus, Jupiter etc. – the god arguments are trying to prove, and the simple answer may be confusing. The god arguments are not trying to prove a particular deity, but instead the general concept of god – so the attempt to use the, which god [non]argument is rather futile to all but the most uneducated.
I don’t see how you think my question is “futile.” I am asking the question, if a god or gods exist, which one is it? How do you know it is Jehovah/Yahweh? It could be Allah. It could be Vishnu. It could be Zeus. How do you know which one it truly is? Saying, “It just is my god, because I believe in this one god,” means nothing to nonbelievers or believers of other faiths, because it offers nothing other than to assert something without evidence, and it can be just as easily dismissed without evidence. All religions say that their holy book is the one true holy book handed down by the one true god that is their god and that all others are wrong and that they have the advantage over all other faiths. How do you know which one is really the right one when they are ALL mutually exclusive and seem just as (in)valid as the next one?
So onto my first grievance with Daniel’s rendition of the cosmological argument – I am not criticising the reasoning, though that will come – because without even naming the argument it may cause future grievances over the changing of ideas being discussed. Thankfully, I do know who originated the argument that Daniel is quoting; and the basic ideas being used to support it (which I am sure that St. Thomas Aquinas would approve). If you didn’t catch on with my subtle clue to who originated the argument that Daniel quoted, then let me be clear; Saint Thomas Aquinas first originated the argument in his five ways.
Here is a simple version of the Cosmological argument that I found on the website Philosophy of Religion.
(1) Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe exists.
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.
(5) God exists.
First thing is first, the first three are correct. Everything has a cause, but we don’t know the cause to everything. The universe does indeed exist. So yes, the universe had a cause of some sort; we just don’t know what that was yet.
Number four is downright false, because it makes an assertion without evidence or just cause. It just throws a god into the equation for no reason other than the belief without evidence that a god exists. Just because we don’t know the cause to everything does not mean that you can randomly throw in a god or gods because you feel like it. You might as well say that the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is aliens. Therefore, aliens exist. Both are unfounded claims that lack any evidence and have zero validity behind them.
Christian theism has always concluded that God has always existed, – without a cause – this was first established with the story of God in the Old Testament telling Moses that I am was the one who sent you – at the time, something like that would have been revolutionary compared to the surrounding beliefs. So the question: who created god is ultimately a futile one. It is meaningless to a Christian; it is like saying, who caused the thing to exist that has always existed.
“God has always existed,” is an unproven assertion, so your argument fails right off the back. Again, if you assume that a god or gods exists, specifically the Christian one, then you must prove that assertion somehow. Saying “the bible says so” is not proof, because the bible is not proof. A demotivational that I once saw said, “Trying to prove God with the bible is like trying to prove Superman with a comic book.” It is meaningless to anyone with some common sense to say that something that has yet to be proven to exist has just always existed, because you believe that it exists without any evidence.
I am one of those not so strange Christians that accept there are errors in the Bible, but doesn’t throw it away – that would be like me saying: ‘Your reasoning is flawed, I am going to stop listing to you now’ [and then never bother to listen to you ever again]. I personally think these contradictions actually make the Bible stronger, this may seem strange but, those contradictions arise from the retellings of different people, so where they converge it is a good indication that you should give it more credit to those areas. The Christian is in a catch-22, no differences [in manuscripts] and it is evidence that it was some master forgery; if there are some differences [in the manuscripts] then the authors don’t know what they were talking about (and the atheist 2000 years later do!).
Yes, the bible has errors. It has multitudes of mistakes that contradict everything that we know about: biology, taxonomy, genetics, archaeology, geology, anthropology, mathematics, and other fields of science. It says that bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13-19; Deuteronomy 14:11-18). That whales are fish (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40). That rabbits chew cud (Leviticus 11:6). That snakes and donkeys can talk (Genesis 3; Numbers 22:1-35). That pi is a round number (1st Kings 7:23; 2nd Chronicles 4:2). It says that if you use bird blood you can cure someone of leprosy (Leviticus 14:4-7) and even your house of “leprosy” (Leviticus 14:52). The bible says that if you present striped patterns to a flock of animals and they mate in front of the patterns that they will have striped offspring (Genesis 30:37-43). How could a supposed omniscient being make such huge mistakes about science that not even a five-year-old would make? Why does the knowledge of the Judeo-Christian deity fit perfectly in with what the people of the time and area thought of the natural world?
According to the bible, all living animals, which is about two to five million different species of animals, lived within walking distance of Noah’s Ark, could fit inside the Ark without killing or eating each other, and could get somehow to where they all now inhabit, even though oceans, mountains, and much more lie between Mount Ararat, the place where Noah’s Ark supposedly landed after the flood, and Australia, North America, South America, and Antarctica. How did all the marsupials make it all the way to the land down under?
What about the other species of animals that have existed throughout the 3.4 billion years that life has existed on Earth? Today’s two to five million are only 1% of all life that has ever existed on this hunk of rock that is hurtling through space. How does the flood account for them? Were they wiped away in the flood? Then why does it say that Noah had two of EVERY animal? Did Noah just forget them? Did they just miss the Ark by a few close minutes?
However, I almost forgot to mention that in the first place Noah’s Flood has no evidence for itself. No evidence in the geological strata can be found that would suggest a world-wide flood. Also, if it was a world-wide flood, how come civilisations at the time of the flood, which according to the Answers In Genesis website was about 2300 BCE, in India and China that were a couple hundred years old at that point not affected one bit?
What about the Tower of Babel? No historian or linguist that knew anything about history or the origin and evolution of language could ever honestly say that the Tower of Babel, one, ever existed, two, is the explanation for why there are so many different languages in the world and still be taken seriously by their peers.
These alone are enough to discredit most, if not all, of the bible, which is supposed to be the inherent word of a supreme being that is supposed to know everything!
If you simply say, “Well, things like the Tower of Babel and Noah’s Flood are metaphors and parables, or they aren’t to be taken literally,” then what in the bible is supposed to be taken as literal? Who decides what is taken literally and how literally to take it? You would think that if a supposed omniscient being wanted something to be taken as literal or metaphorical, he would have said something beforehand.
In the field of science, which I’m sure you know nothing about, if someone presents something and their reasoning is flawed and their evidence is lacking, then you don’t listen to them anymore until they can prove themselves and their assertions somehow. That’s how science works. It weeds out the stupid ideas and promotes those that have evidence to support them. That’s why a god, gods, ghosts, unicorns, and other supernatural things have yet to be proven in any way, shape, or form, because there is no substantial evidence that would suggest their existences.
I fail to see why contradictions somehow make a story stronger. If you have three witnesses to the same crime, and one of the witnesses says the murderer was a black man with a pistol, another says he was white using an Uzi, and the last says it was actually a woman of unknown race, do you think any of them have any real validity behind them? Maybe one of them does at the most, or all could be utterly wrong. How can you be sure if any of them are right when all of them disagree on key facts like race, gender, and the murder weapon? Sure, they all say that there was a murder that happened with a gun, but which of them are correct? It can’t be all of them. And yet, we are told to take all four of the Gospel accounts as equally true and accurate, and if we are not told that, then people who believe in the bible as the word of God are trying to discredit certain parts of it, because simple logic is getting in the way.
Look at the Gospels and how they contradict each other over the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) argue that Jesus was crucified on the Passover in the early morning, while the Gospel of John says that it was the day before the Passover at midday. Which was it?
All of the Gospels tell of supernatural events occurring immediately after Jesus’ crucifixion (this is in no particular order). One says an earthquake. Another says a mass of people rising from the dead and heading into Jerusalem. Another says that there was a darkness that covered the lands. The last says that the temple in Jerusalem magically split in half. Which was it? All of them? Then why don’t any of the other Gospels mention any of these other events occurring? None of them? Then why are they in there? Some of them but not all? Which ones then and why don’t they all just mention those select few?
I could go on, but I’d rather link you to something that explains this to save myself some time. I think two examples is enough anyway for now. http://www.skepticmoney.com/the-ultimate-easter-quiz-jesus-gets-nailed/
So are those “some differences”? This supposed catch-22 that you speak of does not exist. No one has ever said that if they all said the same thing then it is proof of forgery, because if they all said the same things and actually were written through independent accounts of these events and could be verified as such, then that would be proof that the bible has some validity behind it. If it really was written or inspired by a supreme being that knew everything, then the bible would not contain ANY of the things it currently does, but because it claims to be inspired by an all-knowing being and yet contains such obvious mistakes and contradictions, that is the proof that it is a forgery, or at least that it is not what believers claim it is.
While I am interested in how you rationalise the Catholic Church editing the Bible hundreds of times because honestly I think Daniel is talking out of his ass. I would like to raise your attention to some faulty reasoning, how can it be safe to assume that Jesus wasn’t the son of God? The attacking of the gospels – which the claim that they were written 100 years after the death of Jesus is utter nonsense, because the first fragment we have of John’s gospel is dated to 125AD, five years before the date Daniel claims – doesn’t even establish that the Christian story is wrong. St. Paul’s letters were some of the first Biblical documents, far earlier than the gospels and they affirm Jesus’ death and resurrection. As far as I can see, that assumption – that Jesus was just an average Joe – is unfounded.
“Pulling it out of [my] ass” you say? Have you ever heard of the Council of Nicaea? The Catholic Church left out entire books for no reason other than “no one was using them.” Nearly twenty different Gospels were rejected by popular vote at the council. Apparently majority rule of humans decides what people are going to listen to and be taught as the inherent word of God. The church even had arguments within itself at the council as to whether Jesus was who he said he was, which was the son of God, if he was merely a prophet for God, or if Jesus was actually God in disguise. By a show of hands, the idea that Jesus was part of some trinity with God and the Holy Ghost was the majority rule, and all other interpretations were banned and those who preached them were deemed heretics by the church because they were in the minority.
You yourself have just admitted that the Gospel of John is nearly one-hundred years after the supposed death of Jesus, so my point remains. Again, with the dating of the Gospels to be around 60 CE – 130 CE, then the people who wrote them were still so old that they probably couldn’t even hold a pen, let alone remember things that happened decades ago. Even if it was being written down by others being told the story or trying to remember what they had been told about the story years ago, then there is still the problem of ambiguity, mistranslation, memory loss, and memory distortion, which really hurts the reliability of any claim.
As well, scholars generally agree that several of the Pauline epistles were not actually written by Paul, these are: 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews. Some are disputed as to whether or not Paul wrote them, but most of them are agreed to be written by Paul after his conversion to Christianity when supposedly the resurrected Jesus just appeared to him one day while he was travelling to Damascus with two companions, which both heard (Acts 9:7) and did not hear (Acts 22:9) the voice of Jesus.
So even if all the Pauline epistles were written by Paul, it doesn’t mean that he knew anything about Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection other than what others may have told him, which again leaves room for so many mistakes, so they are not proof of Jesus’ existence, let alone allow you to assume that he is the son of some deity.
Very quickly into the attempt to refute Paley’s watchmaker argument – an argument that I consider rubbish – Daniel erects a straw man. When you decide to refute an analogy (Paley’s watchmaker argument is really an analogy used as a prelude to the teleological argument) why change it to form the weakest possible argument and then proceed to nock it flat? This can be show in the jump between (3) and (4) in Daniel’s amended watchmakers argument, because it doesn’t allow for discourse – as can be show by the money tree argument directly below – but still allows the atheist to outright deny without the need to rationalise their decision. A much better amendment to the argument would be to allow the ideas of design by necessity, chance or design (as in Dr. Craig’s teleological argument) into the mix which would cause all parties to make a case.
Straw man? Where?! Oh, the one you erected in an attempt to paint my argument as a straw man, when it is clearly not.
Paley’s Watchmaker says that complex things, such as a watch, have a designer. Organs, such as the eye, are complex, biological structures, therefore they must have a designer; the universe is complex, therefore it must also have a designer, and that designer is God.
That is what Paley’s Watchmaker says. If you want to say it says anything different, please do tell. I’m dying to know what you think it says. And if you think that Paley’s Watchmaker is “rubbish” then why do you follow, I assume, the teleological argument? Paley’s Watchmaker is an argument from design, and so is the teleological argument, so why do you value one over the other when they are both basically the same thing, just different names and time periods?
Assumptions allow you to get away with almost anything, so assuming that the universe has always been there is rather lazy. So what happens if you call into question this particular axiom that Daniel holds [which wasn’t supported in the original post]?
Assumptions allow you to get away with almost anything, so assuming that a god has always been there is rather lazy.
Usually when you can’t articulate something well, you stop right there and pull out a book about the topic, because clearly it is a good indication of much needed education. So when instead of refuting the argument, you go on to prove it – by saying this: “nothing can be great or perfect that does not first exist…” – I can not help but giggle like a thirteen year old school girl. To make a complex argument short; all the ontological argument is saying is that if god exists, he would be a necessary being (all or nothing). There would not be a contingent god. On a side note, replacing words on the ontological argument is not a good way to refute it; unless of course the word is red herring.
Much needed education? No, I just turned to someone who has already refuted the ontological argument. It doesn’t mean that I lack an education. It was using a resource to help make my case, so your attempt to mock me fails.
Here is another big one – like question begging and favouring own position big – and it is a common ploy done by atheists. Here Daniel makes an off cuff remark: “believe that there is some magical man in the sky than to look at the evidence and sees where it points you.” So what do we have here? Daniel has just begged the question about his ability to look at evidence [go check out the YouTube user CartesianTheist, he does a few videos on the topic], and favours his own position by thinking if theist would “look at the evidence” we would come out any differently. Honestly, grow up.
Yes, that is what I am saying. Look at the evidence and for evidence to support your claims, because without evidence you are making statements that mean nothing to the scientific community and are not worth even mentioning, let alone taking seriously enough to consider them. There exists no evidence for your god or any other supernatural being. I don’t see how you think I have a bias. Because I actually am using evidence unlike you when you assume the existence of a god without ANY evidence to support you? Honestly, grow up.
There was only one scientific error that I cared to address, and in my note taking I simply put: You can’t jump from Texas to Alaska, don’t be stupid [with another word somewhere in there that rhymes with trucking]. The first time I have heard an absurd claim like this was in Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion; where instead of jumping thousands of kilometres cross country, it is a cow jumping over the moon [as the nursery rhyme goes]. Sorry to burst your bubble, there is a thing called gravity; that I dunno, delivers a constant force causing you to fall back to the ground. I do not know what is worse, a person who doesn’t know better but acts like a fool; or one that does but still acts like a fool nonetheless.
It is possible. Anything is possible. Now probable is a different story, and I believe I explained this distinction when I said that it is so improbable to do things such as jumping from Texas to Alaska that it is considered impossible, because no evidence whatsoever exists that would support that claim whatsoever. It is possible that aliens came down millions of years ago and genetically altered our ancestors in the African savannah to have their brains grow at an extremely accelerated rate (I actually know a person who believes this, which is kind of sad) for some unknown reason. However, the probability is so low that it is considered impossible, because of the lack of evidence. Still possible. Just not probable.
It is possible that a god or gods exist, but the extreme lack of evidence makes it very improbable. What is even less probable is choosing the right god, if one exists that is. As was the case in my original post, if there is one true god and one true religion, you have the same odds of picking the right deity as if you had 60,000 playing cards and told to find the right one. That is not even a hyperbole; in the course of human history there have been over 60,000 different faith systems that have existed, including the over 4,000 that still exist today, and that is not including the 34,000 different denominations of Christianity, all of which are still mutually exclusive. So take your pick of really about 90,000 different playing cards and find the one true Ace of Spades. As well, you have to take into account, not only did you pick the right card, but also if you truly believed that you had picked the right card before you had known what it was and if you had followed that one true card in all that it preached. You have basically the same odds as being a nonbeliever, who choose just not to play, for they see no point to these silly games that contribute nothing to society other than scientific oppression, hatred, and war and don’t even really guarantee any reward in the end. So yes, still possible. Very improbable.
At first I wasn’t sure where to put the next annoyance in, but as I thought about it, a simple reading error can not be filed in under as a philosophical error. The third sentence in the cosmological argument explicitly states that not everything has a cause, the “unmoved mover.” So when Daniel then forgot what he just copied and pasted about a minute ago to claim that “if every thing had a cause” it calls into question your general understanding of the topic he claims to be refuting.
I call into question your understanding of anything really. How can you have an “unmoved mover”? You can’t just say that “God did it, because God has always been there, because God said that he has always been there!” and really expect to be taken seriously by anyone except the most uneducated.
Another general error I find common within the debate, is the appeal to Zeus done by atheists. Honestly, I do not care about Zeus or Santa for that matter. The debate is between a Christian and an atheist, not some pagan and an atheist. The exact same appeal can be flipped directly back onto an atheist; maybe they should share why they don’t believe in Zeus?
The point made with figures such as Zeus or Santa is that none of them have ever been proven to be real, yet people used to really believe that they were real at one point, just like how any Christian today believes in the existence of Jehovah and Jesus. What makes a belief in Zeus or Santa any less valid than a belief in Jehovah? What proof do you have that your god and fairytales are real and theirs are not? I don’t believe in Zeus for the same reason, hopefully, that you don’t, because there is no evidence for their existence. I don’t believe in ghosts, unicorns, leprechauns, Ra, Odin, Vishnu, or Jehovah for the same reason.
So now we are onto a double package: “The nonbeliever is not weighed down by dogma and superstition.” – Atheistic new speak aside; let’s have a look at this claim. Taken at face value, everyone has dogma [when defined as: A principle or belief or a group of them] because dogma may come in other forms than religious dogmas. (Just open the “you really want to know me tab” on Daniel’s blog, and you will find he is Democratic socialist; I wonder what dogmas they hold? Does anti-capitalism ring a bell [, what is extremely funny is that anti-capitalism is a belief against the evidence, capitalism works, and works well it does]). So now onto superstition, [superstition can be defined as a belief sprung from ignorance or ignorance of the natural laws]. How can someone honestly say that we are superstitious – do we believe the rain is a god? We quite well know how the natural laws work, and the mechanics of them are not attributed to the constant upholding of a god.
My political “dogma” can be changed. I am willing to change my beliefs in economics and politics if given enough reason to do so. Religious dogma does not allow for that, because most religions, including Christianity, say that if someone leaves the faith or is not of that faith at all then they should be killed or that they are damned to an eternity of torture. I have definitions too you know. This is the first one that comes up when you type “dogma” into Google, “A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” What about Democratic Socialism, communism, capitalism, anarchism, or other socio-economic theories are incontrovertibly true? Nothing. The only reason I even call myself a Democratic Socialist is because that is the socio-economic views that I most agree with.
As for capitalism working or not working or socialism working or not working, that is completely subjective. What do you mean by “capitalism works” exactly? I look at America today, and I think that capitalism has failed miserably, because the rich are getting richer at the expense of the lower and middle classes. You see this as a good thing; I don’t. Now, I could change my beliefs about this, but again only if I am given enough reason to. Same with Christianity. I am more than willing to believe in Jesus, God, and talking snakes if there is enough evidence to do so. So far, nothing has convinced me, because all arguments in favour of capitalism fail to convince me, all arguments in favour of communism fail to convince me, all arguments for the existence of a god fails, all arguments for creationism/intelligent design fail, all arguments for Jesus’ existence fail, etc. because of facts and reality.
Next up is your superstition claim. Christians used to attribute rain to God, and some Christians still do, such is the case here in the state of Texas where Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry told Texans to pray for rain. I can’t make this shit up; he actually told people to pray to God and Jesus for rain, and then he asked for people to come to Houston to pray to help the economy, because apparently enough faith in Jesus allows you to absolve all your responsibility as a publicly elected figure and just turn it over to something that has no proof for its existence.
They also used to attribute rainbows, thunder, earthquakes, tornadoes, and most other completely natural things to God until they figured out that they weren’t his doing but that of nature, and we used science to figure that out. You are playing a “god of the gaps” argument throughout your entire response by saying that we don’t know what caused the universe, therefore it must be the god I choose to worship, but I know now because of science that these things that used to be attributed to my god are not actually their work. If you can gladly accept the things science has to offer about things like the weather, medicine, or the computer you used to type up your tripe of a response, why can’t you accept certain aspects of it when it conflicts with your dogma, such as evolution? Because you lack an understanding of the theory of evolution, biology, and science in general and desperately want the preconceived notions that are clouding your perception of reality to be real.
As I look back over what I have wrote, thinking, do I really need to do this? Shouldn’t ex-Christians know these mistakes that they making; but then honestly who am I kidding? While to me it seems a lot, this response is actually smaller than what I was planning to make, but I simply became bored with typing out response to criticisms that would fail my first year of secondary Christian education class. As I see it, Daniel hasn’t done much refuting and his ability to rest on the usual atheist quip: there is no evidence, is so wrong he might as well go jump off the flat earth.
As I look back over what I wrote, I think to myself, “Why don’t Christians see the mistakes that they are making? Why do they believe in anything really that has no proof for its existence?” But then who am I kidding? This person wouldn’t pass a second grade science course. You might as well take a space shuttle and go hit the firmament that was put in place over the Earth by God.