Even Christians Know Their Beliefs Are Nonsense

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote:

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:19-20

 

Let’s just get the point. Paul had it completely backwards. Anyone can look at the world around them and see immediately that God has not been perceived in any way whatsoever. Everyone looks at the natural world and either sees it for what it is, or for what they want it to be. It can mean very different things to the Christian than it does to the Hindu than it does to the Atheist (though I would argue that the atheist is closest, despite knowing there is still much to learn). Nothing about it is plain or consistent at all… if it were, why all the confusion?

But the crux of the matter is the fact that Christians enjoy using this verse as an argument that even atheists don’t really deny the existence of God. We may claim that we do, but deep down, we all know the truth is that God (not just any God, but the Christian God) exists. This is my counter-argument. I would say that not only is this view entirely wrong, but that the exact opposite is in fact true. It isn’t atheists who actually believe in Christianity. It’s Christians who don’t believe in it.

Here are 10 reasons why this is the case.

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#1 – They Cherry Pick the Bible… and Still Don’t Follow the Parts They “Believe”

No Christian follows every command given by God in the Bible. I challenge anyone reading this to find me one who does. But if the Bible is God’s perfect word, why wouldn’t they want to follow it in its entirety? It’s because it’s impossible to do so. Instead, the Christian determines which parts best line up with what they already believe.

But even after they have chosen the perfectly pruned sections that the Christian incorporates into his or her own personal doctrine, they don’t actually demonstrate it in their day-to-day lives. For example, some Christians (not all) would say that the majority of the law in the Old Testament is superseded by the new covenant of Jesus. So those people should at the very least adhere to the direct teachings of Jesus and Paul. However, when was the last time you saw a Christian actually go and sell all of their possessions and give everything to the poor? When was the last time you saw a pastor tell the women in his church to make sure and cover their heads before entering the sanctuary? These things almost never happen, because even Christians don’t really buy it, despite claiming that they do.

(As an aside, Christians actually have no basis to claim that the New Testament supersedes the Old. In fact, Christ himself said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:17-18)

#2 – Christians Don’t Understand Their Own Dogma

Concepts such as the Trinity are so nonsensical that there is no agreement on how it actually even works. Even within Protestantism, different denominations can’t come to a single agreement on how it works. And those that do ascribe to a particular interpretation are generally unable to explain it. Explain in layman’s terms what it means for the Son to be eternally begotten and for the Spirit to eternally proceed. It’s complete nonsense, and even theologians have to throw their hands up and call it a mystery that no one can ever understand. And if they don’t understand it, they must not truly believe it, because it is impossible to believe in something one doesn’t even understand.

#3 – (Most) Christians Aren’t Evil People

Much of what the Bible says about the nature of God and how we are to live our lives can only be described as evil. God asked a man to murder his own son to test his faith. God sent a pair of bears to maul 42 innocent children for making fun of a prophet’s baldness. God ordered the merciless slaughter of infants. And this is the God that the Bible wants us to believe we should worship? No decent human being would let this being within a mile of their kids, much less worship him. For them to do so and adhere to his teachings, they would have to be purposefully evil. Thankfully, most Christians don’t, and aren’t, even if they say they do.

#4 – They Still Sin

Christians sin willfully and knowingly, despite also supposedly believing that God is constantly watching them even while they are doing it. How many Christians (including many pastors and church leaders) have engaged in secret long-term affairs, knowing they are directly breaking a commandment? How many lie to their families, or cheat on their taxes, all while the God of the universe and their creator and savior is looking over their shoulder? It’s because they don’t actually believe anyone is watching what they do in secret. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it.

#5 – No One Truly Considers the Implications of Hell

Just stop for a moment and think about a person actually being burned alive in torturous agony forever and ever. If I actually believed this would be the fate of someone I loved, and by getting them to turn to God that I could save them from it, I would do everything in my power to preach to them and try to convince them to turn back, and I’d do it constantly, every minute of every day, until my dying breath. But no Christian does this. There are people in their lives, even some very close to them, that they are supposedly certain will end up in Hell. Yet they do virtually nothing to save them from it other than maybe an occasional empty platitude about their concern for their soul, if even that much. The truth is, they don’t actually think anyone will truly end up in eternal torture. Their behavior would be very different toward those around them if they did.

#6 – The Gamble of Their Children’s Eternal Souls

Christians know there’s a reasonable chance that their child will turn away from God when they get older and end up in Hell. Yet, even knowing this, they consciously decide to have children anyway. Any moral person, knowing that such a fate is even a possibility, would spare them such a fate by never having them in the first place. If there’s even a fraction of a chance that your future child could one day end up in eternal agony, why would you ever take that risk?

#7 – God Doesn’t Exist in Their Imagination

Christians have no difficulty imagining a world without God. Virtually any secular media, a great portion of which is consumed by Christians, never mentions God at all, and they never think about God existing in those universes when they consume it. When they watch The Walking Dead, are they concerned about why God allowed the zombie apocalypse to occur? When they read 50 Shades of Grey (and believe me, they do read it), are they concerned about God’s judgment for all the naughty sex the characters are having? Of course not. Given the freedom to shed that aspect of themselves, they cut it away in a heartbeat.

#8 – Christians Won’t Test God

No Christian is willing to put God to the test, even though many in the Bible did exactly that. They say that it’s not something they’re supposed to do, but is that really true? Don’t numerous honorable characters from the bible do this, such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and even Jesus? He said to ask and it will be given unto you. It is not testing God to ask him to do something well within his supposed capabilities, especially if it would further his cause on Earth to unbelievers (and make no mistake, it certainly would). And yet no Christian would dare such a thing. Is it because they think it is somehow taboo or blasphemous, or is it actually that they don’t believe God is there to be tested in the first place?

#9 – They Fear Death

Despite “knowing” that they should look forward to death, since it will immediately bring them everlasting life, they still fight it with every breath they take. They do everything in their power to mitigate the possibility of dying, and when it comes close, they fear it. My Grandfather died a few months ago, after a lifetime dedicated to the ministry. He preached for decades about the reward awaiting us in heaven for our belief. But when he was in his final days, he admitted to my mother that he was scared. Why? How could that be? Maybe it’s because he knew deep down that death really is the end, and he never gave himself a chance to come to terms with it. He didn’t want to die, and if there had been any viable options afforded to him to stay alive even a few years more, he would have taken them. No Christian looks forward to death, even though they should. That alone is remarkably telling of what they truly believe.

#10 – Christians Don’t Believe in True Miracles

A Christian never prays for or expects a true miracle. The things they pray for are always within the realm of natural possibility. For example, a Christian will pray for vague “healing,” but will never pray for something to happen which cannot occur naturally, such as for an arm or leg to grow back, or for someone to come back to life after being dead for several days. Why is that? Certainly God is capable of regenerating a person’s arm. He certainly can bring someone back to life, or make the sun stand still in the sky for a day, as both of these are things he already did once according to the Bible. But would any Christian ever pray for God to make the Sun stand still and actually believe God might honor their request? Of course not. Because Christians know such a request would never be honored, because in their heart of hearts, they know God is not there to answer in the first place.

The (Real) Good News!

If any of these reasons apply to you, or even if all of them do, it’s okay. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It makes you a rational, thinking human being who has simply been misled, usually by the people you trust the most. And it isn’t their fault either, because the same thing was done to them. Indoctrination is a powerful tool that can be nearly impossible for most people to break. Don’t be ashamed for believing something when you never knew any better, and don’t hold it against those who taught you those beliefs in the first place.

Now though, there is no excuse. There’s a better way to live than with the constant struggle of fighting against the fundamentals of reality and logic you know to be true, and that better way is to finally accept them and discard the faith that has held you back for so long. You don’t have to struggle any longer. Accept what you already know: that there is no God, no Hell, no supernatural beings of any kind. It’s time to start living your life as you already know you should be. All you have to do is wake up and take that first step.

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113 Responses to Even Christians Know Their Beliefs Are Nonsense

  1. Matt says:

    #9 hits particularly home for me for personal reasons. I had a very similar situation (though I’d already left my beliefs behind years earlier).

    • I almost considered not mentioning the personal anecdote because it will likely hurt some in my extended family, but we shouldn’t be afraid of saying things just because it’s hard to do so. It pained me personally to think he was scared in those final days, knowing he couldn’t quite fully buy into the lie he’d been told and retold himself over his long life.

      • Matt says:

        In my case, it was my mother.

      • While I agree generally with your assessments about Christians and how they are relative to the schizo teachings of the bible, I must point out that disproving a ridiculous argument about the nature of potential deity isn’t the same as disproving the potential for diety.

        This is why atheism is an equally presumptive belief system as theism. To say one knows that death is something final for the individual experiencing it or that there is no deity without evidence flies in the face of the empirical method.

        Ah, the challenges of our varying degrees of certainty about the mysteries of the universe!

        • Richard Scott Mills says:

          Actually, the default assumption in the absence of empirical evidence must be that nothing happens after you die because there is no empirical evidence of anything happening after you die. The empirical data available supporting an afterlife, deities, and the supernatural is identical to the empirical data supporting flying purple unicorns. Presumption that things without observable evidence are false is the very foundation of empiricism.

        • Argus says:

          Atheism states that the evidence presented by theists is either insufficient for proof or nonexistent. You are thinking of an anti-theist (“there are definitively no gods”).

          In fact, I daresay most atheists are also agnostic (they are not mutually exclusive — you can also be an agnostic theist).

          As an atheist, my position is more about the validity of god CLAIMS by my fellow humans rather than do gods actually exist (and good luck defining what a god is).

          • Laurie C says:

            Good answer. I was going to answer more aggressively, and that would be wrong. For me, atheism is simply living my life as if there is/are no deities, afterlife, etc. It has nothing to do with belief, except that it is the absence of belief.

          • Karl says:

            As an atheist, I don’t like saying I am an atheist.

            The point I want to make is that as much as I don’t believe in God and deities… What I really don’t believe in is the BIBLE… It is a creation by MAN and even if it was inspired by a “God” or gods, it has been tarnished by MAN over thousands of years.

            Also, I severely dislike the denial of science and specifically, evolution.

            Lastly, no one should ever WORSHIP another being.

        • Gerald Moore says:

          What you wrote about was gnosticism – KNOWing that death is something final. Atheism is about belief. Most, verging on all, atheists don’t claim to know that. Reason – lack of evidence either way.

          • Michael Rudas says:

            Actually, the *lack* of evidence concerning an afterlife IS telling—please point to me the physical structure to support consciousness after death. It’s pretty clear to the scientifically literate that there is no “soul” apart from the physical processes of the brain. Would a person who died in a coma or because of Alzheimer’s regain their full faculties in the afterlife? I have studied brain physiology enough that I don’t see how it would be even *remotely* possible.

        • SFRussell1963 says:

          Atheists, at least this one, do not say “death is something final”. We say we do not know what happens after death. There may or may not be something in the hereafter. We simply cannot ascribe that to a god because god’s (the entirety of the 5000+ known to our historical lexicon) because none of them have been proven to exist in any way. Until science finds a way to penetrate the barrier of consciousness after death in an ordered, reasoned, provable way, no one, not christians or atheists can say what happens. There simply is no proof for any currently ascribed system. Be it christian notions of heaven/hell, reincarnation or simply nothingness. Mankind does not know. That is not a presumptive belief. That is an admission of the limits or our understanding. Nothing more.

        • John M says:

          The empirical method requires evidence. To require evidence does not fly in the face of it, it is required by it. And Atheism, or as I prefer, skepticism, is a non-belief. not a system of beliefs. To claim I won’t believe in god without proof is no more a belief system than the statement that I won’t believe in the easter bunny without proof. I don’t claim to have disproved the existence of a deity. I am simply stating that those who claim one, haven’t come close to meeting their burden of proof. After all, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far, not even ordinary evidence has been offered.

        • Jimmy says:

          And not collecting stamps is my hobby.

        • Joel Hess says:

          Atheism is not a belief system at all. It is merely a response to the claim that a deity exists. If you answer “Yes” to the question “Does a god or gods exist?” then you are a theist. If you answer “No” or “I don’t know,” you are an atheist. No more no less.

  2. Dawn says:

    What do you say to someone when you demonstrate that they are not a “Christian” by their actions and they throw in that “asking for forgiveness and the will and power to do better” as a way to continue non-Christian actions.

    • From the biblical standpoint, I say that Christ himself gave an answer for that, which was “Go and sin no more.” But since I don’t follow a biblical standpoint, my more humanistic answer is that making mistakes and doing things wrong is a part of growing as a human being, but that they should be learning from those mistakes instead of asking for imaginary forgiveness and repeating then over and over again. It’s only when people stop giving their power to something else and instead relying only on themselves to improve will they actually begin to see progress.

    • Argus says:

      Go with the Epistle of James: Faith without works is dead ;)

  3. joshuaism says:

    Christian grieving habits are certainly tops for me (issues 5 and 9). You would think they would express different grieving habits for Christians and non-Christians in their lives but invariably they grieve for both in the same way. Either Christians are the most selfish people in the world seeking to maximize their time with family and friends or they have great unexpressed doubts about the afterlife. I must note that no one states with certainty that a loved family member is burning in hell for their disbelief after their death.

    I stumbled across 6 myself recently when asked if I’m glad my mother didn’t abort me. Clearly abortion should be celebrated by Christians (at least those that believe in an “age of accountability”) because it sends souls strait to heaven without suffering a day in this fallen world.

    Number 4 is a very good point about Christian behaviors. If they were worried about God holding them accountable they would be in a state of constant glum remorse. Instead Christians only show penitence after they are caught and revealed to other men.

    But it may just be that we are wrong about issue number 3. Perhaps most Christians are truly evil. So they are glad to be saved by grace instead of by action because they don’t particularly like to do good. They don’t appreciate having to repent so they only do so when held accountable by other men. And they are disappointed to be born in today’s age where they have to be civil to homosexuals instead of stoning them, where they have to respect a black man’s rights instead of enslaving him, and where they aren’t free to commit atrocities against the enemy in armed conflict. Christians hate to be held to the higher standards of today and eagerly await the chance to return to the more barbaric times written about in the Bible.

    • Thanks Josh, great comment. The abortion point is an especially good one that I think Christians would rather not even think about. By their rules, one could make a strong argument that abortion clinics have sent more souls to heaven than churches have.

      Though I definitely see your point about Christians being potentially evil, and though you probably meant it a bit tongue-in-cheek just as I did the original post, I do think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Some certainty fit that mold, but I honestly believe most of it can be ascribed to both ignorance and indoctrination. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I truly think that if you can show a person both where they were taught incorrectly and then fill those new gaps in with actual truth, they will at least consider it. Maybe not immediately, but with enough time, most people can learn to eventually see where they were wrong. Most people simply are never exposed to those gaps, and so are left to continue in their ignorance and to indoctrinate the next generation.

      But the tides are turning. Thanks again, I really appreciate the read and great comments!

      • Jesse M. says:

        I agree, Justin. I don’t think the majority of Christians are evil. But wearing the label, appearing pious and saying the proper words gives some TRULY horrible people a license to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be allow to do. I’m thinking of Catholic priest molesters, of course, but also people like Jim Bakker, Peter Popoff, Creflo Dollar and the like. The problem is that people are HIGHLY allergic to change. I believe that, at their core, the majority of the religious are non-believers. It’s simply much more comfortable to remain in the congregation, sing the hymns, drop the right platitudes and go with the flow. There is also the matter of people’s aversion to saying “I was wrong”. And the discomfort they would experience by professing what they really believe. I honestly think that, for many, it’s more difficult right now in the US to come out as Atheist than it is to come out as homosexual. And less accepted. Soon, maybe, but not now.

  4. Megan says:

    Hi Justin!

    I’m a Christian and stumbled upon your blog. I just wanted to say that I respect your point of view. I struggle with my theology and don’t have it all together, obviously, and at the same time I do think about things that you mentioned, like the severity of hell and miraculous stuff. I knkw we don’t have it all together. I can be an absolute mess at times and the redeeming aspect of having a personal relationship with God is that He does have it all together. He wants us to use our brain and He wants to show us mercy and love even in our sin. And that kind of love doesn’t make me want to sin. It makes me want to live for God. Grace, when understood, changes people. I know because I’ve been changed. I’m not perfect that’s for sure, but I know God is real and really kind :) That is my experience. Anyway, thanks for being real on your blog. I appreciate your honesty and transparency.

    • John Gills says:

      Agnostic like me, or believer, I’d like to think we can all agree with Tennyson who wrote in “Ulysses” ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’

    • Thanks for reading Megan, I’m always impressed when people take the time to read and consider something that is obviously at odds with a deeply held belief. You have more reason than many, so maybe there is hope for you yet. =)

      In all seriousness, you aren’t alone in struggling with these issues. I did myself as a Christian for years before finally realizing the truth. All of us are a mess, no one really has it together. But that’s what makes humanity and life beautiful. It would be a very boring existence if everyone eventually realized the perfect sinless utopia that Christians strive for. Our faults and issues and messes make us unique, they are threads of the tapestry of human existence.

      And the great thing about humanism is that you don’t NEED grace and forgiveness to do good. It’s entirely possible to do what’s right and good for no other reason than that it is right and good. What is more altruistic, forgiveness for someone because God forgave us, or forgiveness for no reason at all? I believe people are good because that’s who we are inherently, not because God tells us to be good.

    • Gerald Moore says:

      Compliments on such a thoughtful and polite comment. I would like to comment on your statement, “that kind of love doesn’t make me want to sin.” Therein lies the problem. To some people that feeling makes them want to obey (not sin) everything in the Bible and the Bible is simply full of evil. Steven Weinberg wisely said, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.” It’s quite easy to list bad things good people have been fooled into doing in the name of religion. Things they surely would not have done on their own. You sound like a very good person. Here’s wishing you’re not unknowingly doing or supporting evil.

  5. JamesGriffin says:

    Not a single one of these applies to me. I’m not claiming to be perfect, but I know who God is and have complete faith in him. This is a very distorted view of Christians, and is full of inaccuracies and generalizations.

    • JamesGriffin's inner voice says:

      Heh, like I even read any of this blog post! I won’t even attempt to engage these points any further because if I had a single critical thought it might unravel my entire belief system. Let me just add a uselessly vague and inaccurate generalization of a one liner so the blogger feels dumb for trying to reason with me.

    • Jevons says:

      James Please explain. You can’t call out what you claim are generalizations with generalized statement like that. Which points do you think are distorted & why? I’m happy to engage in conversation.

      • Sarah says:

        I agree, many of these are distorted and show an ignorance of both Scripture and church history. I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, so this will be somewhat concise, but if you answer I will return later and further engage.

        1) Please reread the quote from Matthew. It says nothing will pass away from the law until accomplished, but the writer of this article seems to have ignored the previous statement that Jesus came to fulfill (accomplish) the law. Which means it’s accomplished. Which means we’re no longer held to the ceremonial law. Also, the command (embedded in a narrative) to go sell everything and give it to the poor was only given to that one man. Jesus interacted with thousands of other people and never told them the same, so it was obviously not a universal command. However, He did give general commands to take care of the poor and stated that whatever anyone does for those in need, they do for Him. The author of this post would do well to take into account literary context and genre.

        2) Christians have agreed on the concept of the Trinity since AD 325, and even then they were just putting into words what was already believed in order to address the teachings of one man who had come up with a new and unbiblical belief about Jesus.

        3) He was never going to let him kill Isaac (plus the whole thing was a symbolic picture of Christ being our replacement), they weren’t children, and the people in that story were sacrificing and burning their own children so God said they needed to be stopped once and for all. Christians do believe that God is sovereign and knows way more about what needs to be done than we do, which is why in that case (and in our everyday lives when bad things happen) we have to trust He knows what He’s doing even when His ways aren’t our ways. That may sound like a cop-out, but it’s quoting Scripture which the author of the article inaccurately believes in not actually important to Christians when in reality it is the basis of our worldview (and thus the basis of our answers to these types of questions).

        4) It would be advisable for the author to read the Bible before commenting on this issue, particularly the book of Romans. Everyone still sins regardless of their beliefs because it’s in our nature. That doesn’t make it okay nor does it mean the guy cheating on his wife or his taxes gets a pass.

        5) That’s horrible if they don’t share truth with their family and friends. If Christians around you haven’t shared the gospel with you, they are in the wrong, and I am sorry. So just to make sure you’ve heard it, all of us are separated from God by our sin and all the ways we hurt each other and the world. Heaven is perfect, just as God is perfect, so none of us can have a relationship with Him or go to heaven if we’re not perfect. God knows we can’t be perfect on our own so because of His grace He came to earth as a baby, lived a perfect life, died on the cross with our sins on Him to satisfy His own wrath against sin and hate, and came back to life to defeat death’s hold on us. If we believe in Him, He will take our sin from us and give us His own righteousness (perfection) so we can be seen as justified in God’s eyes and fit for heaven and a relationship with Him. Without His righteousness, we will go to hell because He cannot tolerate sin.

        6) There’s an even greater chance that children raised in a loving household where God is honored will grow up and help others, do good works, and glorify God with their lives. Other people’s children are just as important as mine, and if I can raise mine (both biological and adopted) to grow up and help other people’s children who maybe didn’t have a good home life, it’s worth the risk. The world needs more helpers, not less.

        7) I can only speak for myself on this point, but I can honestly say that I do view movies and tv shows through a Christian worldview and think about what I would do as a Christian if I were in those situations. However, I’ve never read 50 Shades of Gray, nor do I plan to.

        8) The Bible does say not to test God, but asking Him for something is not the same as testing. I’m not entirely sure where the author is going with this point, but I’m assuming He means we should ask God to do something miraculous in order to “prove” Himself to people. On this point, I’d suggest doing some research on Muslims who have become Christians after having dreams about Jesus (for which Christians pray) and on people all over the world who have become Christians after seeing people healed after Christians pray for them.

        9) I’m sorry for what happened to the author’s grandfather, but this point shows a gross ignorance of both church history and modern day stories from across the world. Martyrs throughout church history sang while being burned at the stake, shouted out things such as “God, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing” while being stoned, and bravely marched into the Colosseum while quoting Scripture. Coptic Christians who were recently beheaded by ISIL refused to even pretend to convert to Islam in order to avoid death and died while boldly proclaiming that they loved Jesus and were going to see Him soon in heaven. On a less dramatic note, I’ve held the hands of many cancer patients who told me they couldn’t wait to go ahead and be finished with the pain and in heaven where they can see God face-to-face. I personally live in a place that is considered by many to be “unsafe,” and I would not live here if I was scared of death. To live is Christ, but to die is gain, and if I die here, I die.

        10) This again shows a gross ignorance of what is happening around the world, and I’m kind of surprised at the audacity of such an absolutist claim that Christians “never” pray for miracles when that claim is so categorically untrue. Christians do pray for healing, and it does happen. I have no reason to need the sun to stand still, so he’s right that I’m not going to pray for that, but I do pray for other things to happen, and sometimes they do. My dad was told by doctors that he had 6 months to live and that his malignant tumor was inoperable. We prayed, the tumor disappeared, and he’s still alive 25 years later. But, even if it hadn’t disappeared and he had died, we still asked which proves this claim false.

        My faith has not held me back. It has emboldened me to move to a developing, war-torn country and help others. It has given me peace when horrible things have happened, including the death of my own child (due to natural causes) and the deaths of people around me in bombings. I have no desire to discard my faith and live a comfortable, selfish life in America. If that means I’m wasting my life, so be it. Jesus is worth it.

        • Gerald Moore says:

          1. Jesus told you not to think that he came to abolish the law. What are you doing, woman! You’ll go to hell for thinking that.
          2. Agreeing on a concept is a far, far cry from understanding the concept.
          3. There is a reason your apologetics sound like a cop-out.
          4. No, it’s not in our nature to “sin” (do evil) willfully and knowingly while someone is watching them. Psychological science has established this pretty firmly. There is either a double standard at work here, or Christians don’t think anyone is watching.
          5. Well at least you agree with this one. If you think disbelievers are going to burn in hell for eternity, and you aren’t constantly proselytizing, you can’t claim to love your neighbor. I admit there does seem to be a few (very annoying) believers by this standard.

          6. Greater chance?… oh, it’s a gamble. But wait, if the prize is guaranteed if you don’t take the chance, why gamble?
          7. So you imagine you are God allowing a zombie apocalypse? What justifications do you make up for that?
          8. Few Christians are praying for God to heal amputees or move mountains. Why is that? Nor, do we see any mountains moving or limbs regenerating. Before, therefore because of, is bad bad logic. It’s post hoc rationalization.
          9. One has little control over the situation while being burned at the stake, being stoned or marched into the Colosseum. The time for mitigating the possibility of dying is over at that point. People occasionally choose to die to further ideologies, that’s why they call it a “sacrifice.” I really doubt your brag that the reason you live where you do boils down to lack of fear of death.
          You failed to address #10. By “true” miracles the author laid out the fact he wasn’t talking about things that occur naturally. He didn’t audaciously and categorically claim that Christians do not pray for healing. Lie if you want, but isn’t God watching? If you’re going to comment, try to read and understand first. What you did say though, shows a gross ignorance science and cause and effect. When someone reasons that as they prayed for something and it then happened, it therefore must have happened because they prayed for it, they are committing the post hoc fallacy. When science properly examines prayer for healing no correlation is ever seen.

          • Sarah says:

            1) He didn’t abolish it, He fulfilled it. I already explained this.
            2) There are a great many things in life that no one will ever be able to completely understand, but it is poor logic to conclude that makes them any less a reality.
            3) Ok.
            4) You’ve obviously never had a 2-year-old nor have you studied child psychology.
            5) I can live with the label “annoying.”
            6) I already answered this question.
            7) I don’t watch the Walking Dead so I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I do not divorce myself from my worldview when watching tv. No one does.
            8) Do the research I suggested and then we’ll talk about this point. Until then you are just talking around the point I made rather than addressing it.
            9) Christians from the early church were almost always given the chance to recant so they had plenty of opportunity to mitigate the possibility of dying. Stories of modern-day martyrs include that same opportunity, including the one I mentioned earlier. It would be helpful to the discussion if you would take the time to read some of those historical accounts so you are not talking from a place of ignorance.
            10) I addressed #10, please reread. The author said, “A Christian never prays for or expects a true miracle,” which is untrue. Even if those miracles never happen, they are prayed for and expected. Please explain how I lied. Even if they are committing a post hoc fallacy, they still prayed for the “true” miracle and believed it would happen, therefore disproving the author’s point. As far as my dad goes, medical data rarely lies. There is zero reason he should be alive, and nothing about a softball-sized tumor disappearing overnight is natural.

        • joshuaism says:

          Sarah, it seems that you have engaged Justin’s points on the most superficial level. Perhaps this should come as no surprise though considering how your comments reveal that your understanding of the Bible and Christian teachings is just as shallow.

          I don’t know if I’ll have time to address all of your points, but I believe it will be beneficial and lead to improved dialog if we address each individually. So let us start with your first point.

          It is an incredulous claim that Jesus’s command to go sell everything only applied to one man. Certainly if his command only applied to the one man then the story would have appeared at most only once in the Bible instead of in each of the synoptic gospels. Moreover, that command leads strait into the parable of the eye of a needle. Why would Christ bother to extemporize at length on the subject of wealth and its deleterious effects on eternal salvation if it was not a message meant for general consumption?

          • Sarah says:

            The message WAS meant for general consumption and, as I already pointed out, Jesus was very quick to call His followers to care for the poor and be wary of riches. However, He did not tell every single follower to sell every single thing they owned. Peter owned a house (Matthew 8:14), Joseph owned a nice tomb (John 19:38-42), and Jesus even rebuked Judas for saying the perfume Mary poured on Him should have been sold for the poor (John 12: 1-8). The rich man’s riches were what kept him from following Christ, hence the statement (not parable) about the eye of the needle. Obviously Peter was able to follow Christ and still own a house, so Jesus didn’t have to tell him to sell it. For the love, please, please learn about literary context and apply some proper rules of interpretation. This is such a hard discussion to have when people don’t understand historical context, literary context, or the difference between various literary genres.

          • It’s interesting how “literary context” for Christians looks a whole lot like “interpreting scripture to mean whatever you already believe.” If it were as cut and dry as you seem to imply, I imagine we wouldn’t have over 30,000 denominations of Protestantism alone.

            But hey, I was only a Christian for the first 30 years of my life, what do I know? But please, share the gospel with me just one more time, maybe this time it will all suddenly make sense to me.

          • Sarah says:

            So it doesn’t say that Peter had a house and that Joseph owned a tomb? Or it does say that Jesus told both to sell them? I need a little further clarity on how that is me making things up in order to fit what I already believe. It might, just might be possible that you are incorrect on this issue given the evidence from Scripture.

            Again, please do not confuse adiaphora and orthodoxy.

            I can’t help your unbelief, only surrendering to Christ can.

        • joshuaism says:

          On point 2: If Christians all understand their dogma, then how is it that there is so much disagreement on what that dogma is? If all Christians were trinitarians, then why suddenly did non-trinitarians arise in the fourth century? How is it that some denominations subscribe to Arminianism while others subscribe to Calvinism? Why do some churches believe in transubstantiation while others do not? It seems that as later generations of Christians set to better define the Christian dogma, those definitions have led to further schisms among believers. Knowing how a thing is defined is to understand what that thing is. If precise definitions of dogma leads to schism then it would seem to reveal that Christians could only agree on that dogma when they lacked a deep understanding of it. I note that you didn’t bother to explain trinitarianism. Could it be because you didn’t want to reveal that your understanding of the term differs from that of other Christians?

          • Sarah says:

            Christians will always disagree on adiaphora because we’re human. In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas. There is a very specific set of beliefs (necessariis) that all of orthodox Christianity agrees defines Christianity, so if you are wanting to understand actual dogma (not adiaphora), learn the Nicene Creed.

            My understanding of the Trinity is that God is three distinct persons who are co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial. My understanding is the same as all of orthodox Christianity.

        • joshuaism says:

          On point 4: “Everyone still sins… [t]hat doesn’t make it okay… it [doesn’t] mean the guy cheating on his wife or his taxes gets a pass.”

          So what is God’s judgement on the guy that steals a cookie from Walmart? Death. What is God’s judgement on the guy that rapes dozens of children? Death. What is God’s judgement on the guy that tries not to rape and steal but succumbs to temptation anyway? Death. But what is God’s judgement on the guy that accepts Jesus as his personal savior and then, whoops, continues to steal cookies and/or rape children (no doubt he is trying not to but hey, everyone still sins amirite)? Life.

          So it sounds like cheaters and tax dodgers do get a pass so long as they put their faith in Jesus. Why are cookie thieves burning in hell and child rapists cavorting about in heaven? Where is God’s judgement against the believer? Is this a system of justice that will maintain good social order? Is this a system of justice that you would have society enact?

          Moreover, why are the Bible believing child rapists, adulterers, and tax evaders carrying out their crimes in secret? All is revealed before God’s watchful eye. How could they continue to speak and praise God’s word while carrying on in sin? Why does it only seem to matter to believers when their sins are revealed to their fellow man? Isn’t God’s judgement the only one that matters? So how is it that believers easily refrain from sinning in public but fail to do so when given the opportunity to sin in private? Could it be that the judgement of man is the only judgement Christians have to fear?

          • Sarah says:

            In my initial comment I suggested reading Romans. I’m going to suggest that again because you are saying things specifically addressed by Romans 5-8, and it won’t do me much good to keep answering the same questions over and over if you won’t listen to my answers.

        • joshuaism says:

          Point 5: As Justin said in his previous blog post, he comes from a Christian background. He had to “come out” to his Christian wife. It would be incredible and deeply troubling if he came to have religious doubts and failed to look for answers in his Bible first. It would be amazing to have revealed his struggle and for no one to have mentioned Christ’s suffering and how it relates to his redemption. It is highly doubtful that anyone has come to this blog post and never encountered the Christian narrative in greater society. So repeating it here seems fairly counterintuitive. Is this the only tact that apologists have to address a doubters thoughts? Because it seems like sticking to the script is a terrible means of persuading the learned disbeliever when they express specific doubts. Is it sufficient to just repeat the same narrative to a doubter over and over until it finally takes? Or is it just a means for the speaker to avoid reasoning through the same issues that the doubter faces?

          If Christians really believed in hell, wouldn’t they be most interested in converting those closest to them? Wouldn’t they have developed better means of convincing the recalcitrant than to spout the same old talking points? And wouldn’t they tirelessly pursue the conversion of even the most difficult disbelieving friend instead of just (literally) writing them off for eternity?

          When contemplating this point I am always reminded of the story This American Life did about Reverend Carlton Pearson. Pearson seriously struggled with this issue because he was unwilling to accept that someone was beyond saving. He speaks of being on an airplane and struggling with the fact that if hell is real, it is more important that he constantly witness than take care of his personal needs for sleep. He couldn’t live with the thought that he might let even a stranger suffer eternity in hell, let alone a family member or loved one. In the end he found that he had to discard the belief in hell. He couldn’t reconcile his belief in hell with his actions and behaviors. It was unsustainable. If Christians take hell seriously, why don’t they all feel the same guilt that Pearson did?

          If you want to hear more about his story, you can listen to it at the following link. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/304/heretics

          Or you can read the transcript here. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/304/transcript

          • Sarah says:

            Since I’ve addressed several doubts in various comments throughout this page, your accusation doesn’t make sense to me. I repeated the story of the gospel for two reason. One was because the author claimed Christians don’t really care if others are saved, and I want to make sure anyone reading this has actually heard the gospel and not just “empty platitudes” because I do care. The second is because it’s true.

            I can’t convince anyone or make anyone believe. I can only share the truth, and even if you believe it sounds like the same old talking points, that doesn’t make it any less true. I can tell my 6-year-old “it’s important to brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities” 50 times a day, and the repetition doesn’t negate the veracity of the statement.

            I don’t “write off” anyone for eternity, and I want to share truth with as many people as possible. However, like I said, I can’t make anyone believe. It is by grace you are saved through faith, not by anything I do, so I don’t have the ability to “let” someone suffer in hell. Ultimately, God is sovereign over salvation and doesn’t need my help to call people to Himself. I just get the privilege of sharing His Words IF I am obedient and do witness to others. You, Joshua, salvation of God, have heard the truth and now have no excuse. Turn to the one who is full of love and grace.

          • joshuaism says:

            Sarah, you can tell your child “‘it’s important to brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities’ 50 times a day” but if it didn’t work the first time the 50th probably will not matter. It’s not just a waste of time to repeat yourself, it does nothing to change your child’s mind on the subject of brushing their teeth. If you were serious you would apply a wider range of arguments and tactics until you find one that works. Repeating the same line is not a serious response, but just a self serving “I tried” behavior. Likewise if you were serious about witnessing, you would tailor your arguments to your audience and acknowledge their experience and existing understanding instead of always applying the same tired talking points as if talking to a neophyte.

        • Victoriah says:

          Sarah, please stop arguing the Bible. And please stop “witnessing” to people who’ve been abused by religion and/or have already rejected it for the falsities it often is.

          There is Nothing intrinsically wrong with Atheism. It’s often Better to understand Science and the use of Reason before engaging in Faith, so that one might be able to Choose for Themselves, rather than be indoctrinated by a superstitious understanding of God.

          You’re not even using Reason, you’re mostly using Bible quotes and using Faith, and that’s not a thing you can argue with, because it’s personal, to You.

          Christians still don’t agree on the concept of the Trinity, and argue about it all the time. Only the Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant denominations have a conceptually correct understanding, and even then, most Christians don’t even know where these ideas come from.

          Let me point some things to you.

          The Father(Alpha, HaShem, Masculine)
          “Jesus” aka Yeshua
          The Holy Spirit(Omega, Shekinah, Feminine)

          The Romans took and twisted the truth enforcing their misogynistic, emotionally syllogistic, nonsense into Christianity because they didn’t understand Christ, or Science, re-wrote the entire Bible from Their perspective, eventually turning Christianity into a tool they could use for empire building, ~using~ it in a Very Un-Christlike way.

          There’s no such thing as “Original Sin.”
          There’s no such thing as eternal damnation.

          Conceptually, God is Everything. There is Nothing outside of God. We’re all “In The Father” and The Holy Spirit is in All of us as Well. And that relationship is available to All.

          For example, Hindus (who one have One God, btw) recognize this when they say Namaste, which is functionally equivalent to saying “The God in Me, sees the God in You”

          People simply recognizing each other as Human Beings is enough.

          Don’t get me wrong. Faith works fine, on a personal level, just please don’t push that on others, since you can’t transfer it to others as if by “holy osmosis”, and you only end up pushing people away.

          Living your life in services of others, especially those in need, is worth it. No Matter What religion you belong to, or none at all.

          Science works, with or without God. It’s provable and all that really matters in life is that people don’t treat each other like trash.

          You use the word “orthodox” a lot, but you don’t sound Orthodox. I would recommend looking for a Progressive Christian or Eastern Orthodox Church for better understandings of Christianity.

          Oh… Justin, now you know where the concept of the Trinity comes from =)

          • Michael says:

            Thank you for your post. It has extended my understanding of what God could be even if it does not advance my faith in such a being.

        • Victoriah says:

          And Sarah, you would use the example of a 2 year old child as a “sinner”? When what children do at that age is a Perfectly Natural Scientific exploration of the world around them, and has ~nothing~ to do with Sin. It’s up to Parents to make sure they are safe and guide them in their explorations.

          I don’t even think you understand what that word means, as it’s conglomeration of a whole Bunch of words that can be traced back with understandings differently relatable in Hebrew and Greek, enabling a person to tell the differences in understandings before things got all smooshed together by misogynistic, punitive, unjust Roman understandings.

          I am a Child Psychologist and have 3 children, by the way.

        • Victoriah says:

          And Technically, Goddess is a She. The Most Masculine.
          People often don’t like that, though…

          We are all thoughts in the mind of God.
          We are all children in the Womb.

          I heard some talk about Saints… Hildegard of Bingen described the Universe as an Egg.

          Eggs come from Females, and are Fertilized by males.

          A lot of this backwards misogynist ideology comes from Aristotelian “logic” that “women are deformed men” along with “women are fertile ground to plant seeds” and it’s pretty clear with Scientific understandings, how backwards those ideas are.

        • Victoriah says:

          The “Backwards Infallibility” of the “Church Fathers” is ~easily~ taken apart with these conceptual understandings; Augustus? The vaunted Aquinas?

          How about C.S. Lewis?
          “The male you could have escaped, for it exists only on the biological level. What is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it.”

          Ahavah. Look that word up.

          Apologies, Justin. I’m not a misandrist; Human Beings are Created Equal, regardless of Gender and Sexuality, etc.

          I’m just tired of this supposedly “christian” nonsense.

          • Thanks for the comments Victoriah, I actually find them very refreshing. I don’t necessarily agree with everything you’re saying, but you make some good points, and it’s nice to see a Christian perspective outside of what one usually finds as the “norm” in the United States. I’ll actually address some of this in my next post, particularly around something you mentioned in your previous comment regarding the 2-year-old sinner.

            Anyway, thanks again, both for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it!

        • Victoriah says:

          How about a quick run through of Basic Psychology, first? People can quibble about minor details.

          Human Beings have Both and Animal nature, inherited via Evolution, and a Cognitive Nature, we can Think and Reason beyond mere animal instincts.

          Separate those for a moment.

          Humans:

          Our Limbic system acts to keep the body alive. We all react to Pain, Fear and Fear of pain stimuli that can result in autonomic Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Submission responses. Just like any other animal.

          Children have no fear (aside from complications and birth). Fear is Learned Behavior.

          If they cry, they need attention. Pick them up, hold them, and make sure they feel safe, and have their needs met.

          Once they can start moving around on their own, This is where keeping a child Safe from dangers, rather than try to Punish them for “doing things they shouldn’t be” aka “sin” is the most important.

          By the time we’re around 6 months, we can recognize All kinds of language, body language, tone and volume of voice, and often the basic Meaning of words, even if we can’t Use them yet. There’s a lot more to language than words, alone. Capable of basic reasoning.

          By the time a child can use their native language to form complete sentences, they’re capable of being Reasoned with. Lacking the patience to listen and understand, people often resort to “Teaching” children with pain and reward systems, training them as if they were mere animals. Some people don’t have the patience for that, obviously, or we wouldn’t still be discussing this.

          Nurture the Nature you want your child to grow into.

          Children are Born as God. People should be more careful, with how they raise God to be.

    • None of these apply to you? So you never sin? That appears to be a contradiction of your claim of imperfection.

    • Argus says:

      What specific “inaccuracies and generalizations” does the post contain?

      By your comments (none apply to me): You are stating that you never sin, you do not pick and choose Bible verses (explain Ex. 21:20), and you have never ever feared death?

  6. Kyle says:

    Sounds like atheist noob ranting garnished with unsubstantiated nonsense. “It is impossible to believe in something one doesn’t even understand”. Really? Any evidence to back that up? It’s dunderheads like this that make us look like…dunderheads.

    • So if I understand you correctly, you are claiming that it’s possible to believe in something even if you don’t understand it.

      Note, we are talking about BELIEF, not elements of the natural world that are provable. I use the term in the sense of a belief that is based purely on faith instead of evidence or reason. Admittedly, I should have been more clear about that for this particular point. Lesson learned.

      So there are concepts in Christianity that not even Christians can fully explain or understand. Things like (as mentioned) the Trinity, or the dichotomy between free-will and God’s supposed omniscience, or the mechanics of Original Sin. These concepts and many more have been a thorn in the side of Christianity for centuries, and great theologians and apologists have made careers out of examining them, but in the end they still aren’t fully understood. If they were, there wouldn’t be so much disagreement (even within Christianity) as to how they function.

      So knowing that they don’t and can’t fully understand these concepts, exactly what parts of them does the Christian believe? How do they decide which interpretation of the trinity is the correct one, for example, if a correct interpretation even exists? Most Christians never even consider that, and in fact believe interpretations that would be considered by hardcore theologians as utter heresy. So what is it exactly that they believe? Can a Christian who hasn’t necessarily studied the trinity actually believe in it if they don’t have the “correct” interpretation of it?

      I’d say there’s no way they can, and that’s the argument I was trying to make.

    • Gerald Moore says:

      Who’s the noob now? Where is your experienced and informed rebuttal. I despise name calling, especially among atheists. The author doesn’t deserve being called a dunderheaded noob.

  7. Pseudonym says:

    As an aside, Christians actually have no basis to claim that the New Testament supersedes the Old.

    That is true, HOWEVER.

    Christians have a solid basis to claim that the Mosaic law does not apply to you if you are not Jewish. It is well-established both in Christianity and in Judaism that Gentiles are only bound by the Noachide laws.

    “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”
    – Acts 15:28-29

    So good news, Gentile Christians, you do not need to sacrifice animals or stone adulterers! Just don’t eat black pudding and all is fine.

    • Pseudonym says:

      On a more serious note, I grew up in a mainstream-to-liberal church outside the United States, and almost exactly none of this resonates with me. Of course the Bible isn’t inerrant. Of course “hell” is a Medieval invention. Don’t all Christians agree? No, apparently not…

  8. Leaf Eating Carnivore says:

    You have a listed a lot of good points, but #2 misses the mark, I think. I’ve lost count of the number of “impossible things” people seemingly can believe before breakfast. This latter is the very definition of “Faith”, having not even the barest shreds of testable, repeatable evidence. One only has to believe that somehow it all makes sense – somewhere out there. Sort of “Belief in your own Belief”. Doctrine usual, but not necessary.

    I am an atheist, and always have been (at least since I grew enough brain cells to consider the question), but a scientific view demands a qualifier – so I call myself an atheistic agnostic. I don’t believe in, and I see no evidence for, the “Divine”, but I don’t really know. Most of the time, I simply don’t care, as long as the proponents of whatever stay out of my face.

    • Gerald Moore says:

      Agnostic is a descriptor that usually precedes the belief qualifier.

      Agnostic atheist is the usual phrasing. An disbelieving not knower not only sounds weird but it makes the “not knowing” part primary and universal. So you are a godless not knower. Odd way of putting it.

  9. Bob Wierdsma says:

    1. The laws HAS been fulfilled – every jot, every tittle by Jesus Christ. 2. Not fully understanding the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) does not mean it is not believed. Even in science not all phenomena are understood and yet it does not discount science. 3. In the case of the “children” being mauled by a bear they are understood to be youths of a responsible age. Also Isaac was not killed and there was no intention to have that done. This is a difficult teaching but God is sovereign over our lives even if we don’t like his actions. 4. Yes, we still sin daily and ask God daily for forgiveness as we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer. 5. Yes, I do consider the implications of Hell and many a parent or grandparent have lamented over a child or grandchild that have gone off the straight and narrow. 6. Yes, people still have kids and they train them up in the way they should go – something which some atheists oppose. Like any parent they hope the kids will continue to believe. (We were never so blessed except for one miscarriage.) 7. God does exist in my imagination or should I say my mind, and I believe He is real as you or I. 8. God does allow us to test the spirits to see if they are of God or not. 9. I admit I don’t look forward to the process of death since it goes through a period of pain (unless it is instantaneous) and we witnessed my father as he was passing from this life after an earlier heart attack. The bible assures us that some day that “sting of death” will be no more. 10. Yes, we do believe in miracles, even though you might come up with something that has not been covered, and it may be as simple as escaping death from an accident or near accident as has happened to me several times.

    • Argus says:

      How is escaping harm from an accident a miracle? It’s a suspension of natural processes…how?

      So for #5 you then think a loving all good god would rather make sure the child/grandchild is tortured for ever if they refuse his offer? Salvation= the Ultimate Offer You Can’t Refuse (nice soul there…be ashamed if something bad happens to it).

      • Bob Wierdsma says:

        Not all miracles are in the realm of the supernatural but where something fatal that could have happened but did not e.g. my wife could have been killed had she been in a car I used to own was t-boned by a fellow who missed a stop sign. I had just dropped her off at work minutes before. As for what happens to unbeliever this is a matter between God and his court to deliver what is most just.

    • Ken says:

      “1. The laws HAS been fulfilled – every jot, every tittle by Jesus Christ.”

      The verse says, “…until Heaven and Earth pass away…” I wasn’t aware that the Earth no longer exists.

      • Bob Wierdsma says:

        Yes, the law has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ and will be so until heaven and earth pass away.

    • Joel Hess says:

      It astounds me that theist apologists excuse their deity for commanding Abraham to kill his own son because “he really didn’t intend for Abraham to carry it out” and it was “only a test.” What kind of monster would tell a father to kill his own son, even in jest or not meaning the command? And why on Earth would a deity that is omniscient, benevolent, and omnipotent need to test a puny mortal? This idea that God needs to test up also comes up in the wickedest book of the Bible, Job. Here God destroys a man, killing his family, taking away all his worldly goods, and inflicting him with horrible illnesses, all because he wants to win a bet with Satan. How could anyone worship such an evil entity?

      • Sour Dove says:

        The thing I never see people address is the trauma to Isaac. For the rest of his life, he knows that if the voices command his dad to kill him, his dad won’t think twice.
        Or even once.

  10. Bob Wierdsma says:

    P.S. Ignore the Terry Hawley in the one comment since I was responding to him on a Facebook Page which had your article linked. You need to have a delete function in case of error.

  11. Alverant says:

    Here’s some videos about early christianity which really showscases #2 on the list.

  12. Nate Anderson says:

    #5 confused me since I was like 3 years old. I remember in fourth grade trying to “witness” to some classmates to the point where they started taking the long way around the school to get to the bus stop because I wouldn’t stop harassing them… because I was worried that they would go to hell.

  13. Nate Anderson says:

    #5 confused me since I was like 3 years old. I remember in fourth grade trying to “witness” to some classmates to the point where they started taking the long way around the school to get to the bus stop because I wouldn’t stop harassing them… because I was worried that they would go to hell.

    The whole thing is psychological torture for a high-achieving 8 year old.

    Realizing there is no hell was a necessary step in growing up and reclaiming my own sanity.

  14. BruceM says:

    I think for 99% of Christians, when they say they believe in Christianity, they don’t mean they know their religion’s dogmas or theology. They just mean they have put their personal faith totally into whatever their preacher says. So to them, as long as they go to church occasionally, and do in church as they’re told each time they attend, then they are believing, to their satisfaction. So they don’t need to know who is in the trinity, as long as when the preacher says to praise them, they agree. When he tells them to praise Jesus holy name, they just have to repeat what they’re told. They have no responsibility for knowing what the words mean.
    After a millennium of attending Catholic masses in Latin, Christianity is very comfortable with the idea that 90% of church is just showing up, even if you don’t speak the language. Being a Christian just means agreeing and disagreeing with whatever the majority in church says when the preacher asks for a response.
    The 1% of Christians who think about dogma either end up confusing themselves or becoming closet atheists, apparently. So there is not necessarily any mystery as to what it means to be a Christian. To most Christians, we are all totally overthinking all of this religion stuff.
    Sad but true.

    • BruceM says:

      Another way to view this would be that, functionally, to 99% of Christians, the 1% who try to know theology are NOT real Christians, by the definition of the majority. So they don’t care that theologians and atheists criticize the 99% for not understanding. In practice, these are two different religions who both claim to be the real Christianity. This has been going on since the days of Paul.
      So the only error is grouping theologians and the 99.9% into the same group, which nobody would do except for confusion caused by the label.
      If one asks what is the “real” Christianity, it is an interesting dilemma. The theologian’s current views are different from 200 years ago, let alone from 2000 years ago. So they have no meaningful claim to standing.
      In the ordinary meaning of words, Christianity is whatever is being done by 99% of the people who currently claim to be christian. Thus, in one sense it is impossible for anyone who “understands” christian dogma to speak for Christians, because in a key sense the fact that they studied it means that they don’t belong to the 99% who define it. So Christianity becomes a mass movement inherently without leaders or dogma. No rules, just right. For them.
      And one can’t explain the logic of a group that is not operating on logic. To attempt to explain this would be illogical.

      • Argus says:

        Agreed. I suspect the biggest reason people accept the Christian claims (whatever the sect may be) is for social acceptance and connection.

        One reason I think the megachurches have flourished is the fact that they have provided young families who move to new cities (promotion, new job etc.) an instant support group to plug into. The beliefs (I think) are really secondary to the fact that they get new friends, small groups, recreation programs, a chance to do volunteer work..etc. —

        I used to be a minister and the Rick Warren type strategies were all the rage in the 90s (don’t push the theology until you have them in the fold). The strategy was simple: give the young families what they want and don’t really talk about theology except in watered-down terms…then…make them take new member classes after you have hooked them with the shiny megachurch promises and indoctrinate from there. By then, they have too much social capital invested in their new community to be bothered by the things mentioned in this blog.

        For example: Warren’s megachurch Saddleback is really just a Southern Baptist church in disguise (with all the baggage of misogyny and hating gays). In fact, his father was had a top position in the denomination and helped Warren get funding to start it. The stories of Warren starting his church from a humble beginning and no money are false. He had already spent thousands in SBC marketing dollars to identify Orange County as the target demographic.

  15. Mike says:

    #3 verses are actually from the Hebrew bible – Old Testament – but there’s no mention in the blog of Jewish people who believe those verses, which of course, many do. It’s not clear why they get a free pass?

    • Joel Hess says:

      As someone raised as a Jew, I for one do not exempt Judaism from my criticisms. Judaism is just as hypocritical, wrongheaded, and self-contradictory as Christianity. It’s just that Christians have most of the power in this country, so opposing them is the first priority.

  16. Victoriah says:

    I have no Argument with Atheism, nor do I have much argument with other religions, as well, as long as they aren’t the sort that go around trying to force beliefs on people.

    So just to state from the beginning of this, I’m not trying to “prove” God exists, so invite the reader not to read that into what I write, as I have no wish to argue with straw-men and red herrings that often appear in the guise of reasoned discourse.

    From a Christian standpoint, I agree somewhat with Sarah’s 10 point essay, although she probably isn’t the same “flavor” of “Christian” as I might describe myself, since in the U.S. alone there’s hundreds upon hundreds of different denominations, and while in the past they’ve often treated any outside of their own denominations as “heretics”, and vice versa, there’s been a lot more communication between many of them these days.

    I would say that your article Does describe a great Many folks who don’t really try, and don’t really read the book themselves, and just follow along with whatever their individual churches and pastors preach and believe; An issue of human nature more than with the Philosophy of Christ, I would say.

    As to being so dismissal of All Christians, or All people who follow a religion, it would seem more beneficial for society to be more communicative in trying to relate to each other in areas folks Can agree on, rather than bash back and forth at each other about things we don’t.

    Not trying to “sell” anyone on Progressive Christianity; Simply using it for an example of Christians that try to Follow Christ, without the sort of “fear of sin and hell” while simultaneously carrying on in sins in secret or public, as you pointed out, and as does the Bible in many places; People aren’t perfect.

    The challenge you made isn’t actually in line with a Christ centered philosophy, nor of most religions that I’ve studied, outside of certain fundamentalists of many religions that don’t actually follow their own rules, and only seek to put their own fears and prejudices on others, claiming “God’s Authority” to do so.

    The part people are Not supposed to worry about is Being Human and in being Afraid to make mistakes. Some people get too worried about “doing everything perfectly, all the time” and live in fear of hell and damnation because of it, where Christ counseled Against that very thing. Not to merely go about judging others and sinning, themselves while doing so (The Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees being the area that best describes this).

    To one of your arguments, at the start of the article “Anyone can look at the world around them and see immediately that God has not been perceived in any way whatsoever.”

    I might say, while keeping in mind this is not “Proof that God Exists” and is a Conceptual understanding that Christians in your experience so far maybe not have been able to relate to you, in the understandings they have, that:

    A child inside it’s mother, can’t see or feel it’s mother, as if a separate person they’re aware of, until after the child is born.

    Theologically, Nothing is outside of God, so how else would we perceive God, except via our experiences within? Which I think is what Paul was referring to in the part you used.

    It’s true that many Christians cherry pick the Bible for “stones” to throw at people they would call “sinners” while ignoring their own. Similarly this is true of many Atheists who do so as well, as if to find “gotcha’s” that might somehow definitively cause people of various Faiths to “give up” their beliefs, and still continually fail in doing so, because in Attacking people, they become Defensive and only further back up into what they feel safe in knowledge and understanding, regardless of how ignorant and flawed it might be.

    It’s Also true that a great many people merely assume and seem to believe that all people of all faiths simply believe in magical understandings of a magical fairy tale gods that grant wishes from seemingly baseless fairy tale stories, without realizing Many people of Various religious understandings quite certainly trust Scientific understandings, such as they teach Science, including Evolutionary Theory, in Catholic schools. Many people also fail to recognize that it was a Jesuit that came up with the Big Bang theory.

    It’s largely only groups of fundamentalists that only “teach the Bible” as if it were a “science” or “literal history” book, preaching fear, intolerance and ignorance, as if they were sound values to have, that get the most attention and spotlights, so people don’t often see these things, without some civil discourse regarding them.

    • Victoriah says:

      I take back what I said with regards to Sarah as I now find her proselytizing painful to read.

  17. Natasha says:

    Christians sin yes, because that’s merely human nature. So when we ask for your sins to be forgiven, we ask to not do it again. Life is a test basically. Gamble on kids? We have children so they themselves can find a amazing relationship with God as they do. God heals and protects. Real chrisans don’t cherry pick and the ones that do aren’t following the word of God. I do not fear death but wanna live long enough to make small differences. I believe in miracles. I know God heals. I see miracles.

    God is the beginning and the end.

    • Thanks for the comment Natasha. I’ll just reply to one of your points so we don’t get too far into the weeds. You say that “we have children so they themselves can find an amazing relationship with God…”

      But what if they don’t? You have to at least acknowledge the possibility that one of your future children will reject the concept of God and embrace secularism, right? It happens all the time, so even if you think you’ll raise them perfectly and do you best to teach them your own faith, there’s at least a small chance they’ll choose something else. And if they do choose differently than you, what is the consequence? The bible says that the consequence is Hell.

      So you KNOW there is a chance that a soul you purposefully bring into the world could end up in Hell, cursed to an eternity of torture and suffering. And you want to tell me with a straight face that that’s a chance you’re willing to take? Because if they do end up in Hell, that’s on you.

      • Victoriah says:

        I might add that ~in spite~ of certain “Christian Fears” that their children might go to “hell forever”, that there actually Is no such place. Teaching children that, is a form of (Spiritual) Child Abuse.

        Child Abuse that often results in a sort of “Hell on Earth” for them, while they’re here.

        Do you mind if I “Bible Quote” Justin? Not to “prove God exists” so much as explain the Philosophy of Christ:

        1 John 4:18
        There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

        Practice (as one might a Philosophy they agree with) makes Perfect. An ever moving target, or goal. People who think they “know the truth” and go about proselytizing with it, often stagnate in their own Spiritual growth, due to this fear. A form of religious narcissism, at it’s Worst when it also denies Science.

        The Bible also doesn’t say that people will suffer in eternal torment. At best it says “Permanent Death” or “Annihilation” which is “Spiritual” equivalent to the Atheist idea that once the body dies, the person simply ceases to exist.

        Exceptions being too many retranslations and misinterpretations, almost always with some fear-filled or “judgmental of others” sort of agenda. Most often due to a lack of understanding of History, Linguistics, and Psychology.

        • While I appreciate your interpretation, all I can say is that (1) it is not the commonly held interpretation by most evangelicals, and (2) it is not what the bible says. Here is literally the first hit on Google when you search for what the bible says about hell.

          https://bible.org/article/what-bible-says-about-hell

          You are certainly free to have your own belief and interpretation… I, for example, obviously don’t believe in Hell or any kind of afterlife whatsoever. But to the Christian who claims they believe the bible and what it says, they have to follow the consequences of those beliefs to their logical conclusions. And on the subject of Hell, the bible is pretty clear, regardless of the translation.

          • Victoriah says:

            I’m not sharing “my own personal interpretation.”

            The Eastern Orthodox don’t believe in hell, and they’re as old as the Catholic Church. What I described is in-line with Orthodoxy, although I know a Bishop that would argue with me about it.

            Most mainline Christians don’t believe in hell anymore:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leavingfundamentalism/2014/03/10/there-is-definitely-no-such-thing-as-hell/#sthash.7Y36DhdP.dpuf

            I very much more often argue with religionists in defense of Atheism, than vice versa, but insisting on your interpretation of Christianity, due to people who are Philosophically not even Christian, when it can be shown to be not entirely correct, you lose some validity in your arguments.

          • Well, from my point of view, understand that they are all personal interpretations, and none of them are valid. I don’t see why claiming that the Eastern Orthodox Church being as old as the Catholic Church makes their non-belief in Hell any more true than the Catholic Church or Protestant Denominations’ belief in it. And whether or not “mainline” Christians believe in hell anymore or not (I think that’s debatable), my arguments are meant to be applied to the brand of Christianity most prevalent in the United States, particularly the southern US. This particular brand of Christianity, the evangelicals and fundamentalists who want to legislate bathroom policy and erect a Ten Commandments monument in front of every courthouse, are both the most common and the most dangerous in this country. So whether I’m generalizing or not, that’s where my arguments will be directed.

          • Victoriah says:

            “Well, from my point of view, understand that they are all personal interpretations”
            True

            “My arguments are meant to be applied…”

            Understandable, and mostly agree. I might suggest, however, that being specific, is better than generalizing. Thank you for being more specific =)

          • Victoriah says:

            Eastern Orthodox Theology
            Does not believe in Hell

            Nor does the Bible even say it.

            Linguistics, History, Politics(historical esp.)

            Argue the Bible Literally, is what the fundies do.

          • Bob Wierdsma says:

            “Eastern Orthodox Theology
            Does not believe in Hell

            Nor does the Bible even say it.

            Linguistics, History, Politics(historical esp.)

            Argue the Bible Literally, is what the fundies do.”

            If the Bible taken literally says there is a hell aren’t you contradicting yourself when you say “nor does the Bible even say it” ? Thought I would point that out.

          • Victoriah says:

            Do you have an actual argument Bob?

            Or do you relish the thought of a literal hell for your enemies?

            Maybe you’re simply so ignorant of the Reality of Christianity that you babble about crap you saw on TV…

          • Victoriah says:

            P.S. Bob

            *redacted*

            MOD EDIT – Alright, let’s try to avoid name-calling, that doesn’t further the conversation at all.

          • Victoriah says:

            Sure it does. Bob did one of those smarmy sideways “this is what it literally says in Scripture” according to His Personal Literal Translation, and you remove my post?

            That’s not fair.

          • Bob Wierdsma says:

            No, I don’t relish anyone going to hell literally although in the case of mass murderers I might be pursuaded to think it to be just. Also I can’t remove your posts since I do not have administrative privileges.

          • Victoriah says:

            There seems to be a comprehension problem here.
            Don’t worry about. The admin edited the post.

  18. David Burnett says:

    The reason why it seems to you that “Paul had it exactly backwards” is that you are overlooking his main point and thus interpreting his idea exactly backwards. You need to back it up to verse 16-17 to see that Paul’s point is about why he considers “the gospel of Christ” so important, namely, that for “in it the righteousness of God is revealed.”

    Up until Christ, God’s righteousness had never been revealed. And whereas the righteousness of God is only revealed in the gospel of Christ, the “wrath of God” has always been revealed “from heaven” (which is to say, it is self-evident in nature).

    There is a startling consensus among just about every society and culture in the history of the world with regards to the points Paul lists, namely, that there is a god (or gods); he/she/it is eternal and powerful; he/she/it exhibits wrath (i.e., punishes wrongdoing). That is Paul’s point. That while nature itself clearly declares the existence of an eternal powerful god of wrath, it is largely silent about the righteousness of God, which is revealed only in the person of Jesus Christ.

    If you cut away all of the filler, here is how Paul’s main idea reads between Rom. 1:16 and 3:26 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… for in it the righteousness of God is revealed…. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, because what may be known of God is manifest in them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed… through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

    You seem to infer that Paul is suggesting the “Christian faith” is somehow self-evident in nature, when in fact he is saying exactly the opposite. What I read Paul to be saying is this: “Great news everybody! The God you thought you knew isn’t anything like what you’ve always thought. It turns out He isn’t all about wrath and judgment and punishment after all! If you want to know what He is really like you must look at Jesus Christ, because that is how He has chosen to reveal Himself!”

    Obviously, you don’t believe that about Jesus, but I certainly do, and would enjoy addressing each and every one of your ten points. I’m sure you have guessed they are not at all persuasive to me (or anyone else who knows Jesus). Alas… time!

    • Victoriah says:

      Arguing “belief” which is merely ones own “trusted” opinion, is a waste of everyone’s time. You should try to stick to facts that can be shown to be external to your own self.

      Paul was also speaking to Christians, and does not apply to non-Christians, so arguing “what Paul said” is also a waste of time. There are “there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world*” and too many Christians still seem to think they’re the only ones that “got it right.”

      It could also be argued that Paul was delusional or a charlatan seeking power, or both, if one had time for that.

      Christ’s Philosophy is easy to understand in Atheist terms, when one removes all the “magic” from the story, along with all the before and after commentary(Hillel the Elder), which is a much better route to take, if you’re looking to debate rather than quarrel.

    • Victoriah says:

      PAUL also does NOT trump CHRIST

      Pauline Heretics, always arguing their Feelings, rather than Facts.

  19. Mike Bull says:

    You modern atheists all take the fundamentals of a Christian worldview for granted, as if things still hold together when you remove Christianity. They do not, and you are a shame to atheism. The great atheist thinkers of the past were more honest about what they were jettisoning in their rejection of the Bible. It is you who are cherry picking. The Bible does make sense, but not to darkened rebellious minds. Like Jesus’ parables it is constructed to test those who desire to believe and confuse and infuriate those who do not, to hasten their destruction. Looking for “empirical evidence” of Someone whose verbal testimony you reject is madness. There are good answers to all Justin’s objections above if you are willing to search without prejudice. The Bible does indeed make perfect sense once it is understood, but that takes time, effort, meditation, study, and the Spirit of God. I have personally found that further open minded study has vindicated it every time, in unexpected but logical ways and at mind boggling depths. My own books have concentrated on its fractal structure as an aid to interpretation, if you are interested. http://www.biblematrix.com.au

    • Dr. Ossie R. Heaton says:

      Dear Mike, Justin, Rob and all who have ears to hear and hearts to seek for wisdom. While I second everything Mike has just written, and confess that I have not read every word others have written, I appeal to you to give me your attention for a few minutes, please. I agree with Justin that even some Christians, myself included, claim that their beliefs are nonsense. But to whom do we believe they are nonsense? I certainly do not regard my beliefs as nonsense. I believe them with all my heart from faith to faith, as it is written in the Word of God. But I see that Justin clearly does regard my belief system as utter nonsense when he writes, “There is no God, no supernatural beings of any kind.” There is nothing surprising to me about this; people having been telling me all my life when I share with them what I believe that I am being deceived by well-meaning folks who are themselves deceived. Satan has been telling that lie since Eden. Paul heard it, too, and reports, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness (nonsense), but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness (nonsense) unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14) “For the wisdom of the world is foolishness (nonsense) with God.” (1 Cor. 3:19) I can imagine how God responds when He hears Justin saying, “There is no God.” I hear Him say, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no god.’ One day he, too, will know better and bow down to Me. I hope it is not when it is too late.”

      • I see you are passionate about what you believe, and desire for all of us who don’t believe to change our minds. I think I speak for most atheists when I say that there is one thing that would change our minds, and that thing is evidence. So it would be very simple for you to make me do a complete 180. All I ask of you is one thing.

        Prove it.

        That’s it. You offer me one scientifically verifiable, incontrovertible piece of evidence, and I will immediately acknowledge his existence. I will not necessarily worship him, because if the god of the Old Testament does in fact exist, then he has a lot of explaining to do for the horrendous acts he carried out. But I will at least acknowledge his existence if such proof exists. It is that simple.

        • Victoriah says:

          She, Justin, did not “carry out” Acts against human beings

          Human Beings don’t Listen and they go about things in their Own way.

          She also doesn’t “require” any sort of “worship”

          Gods are people too.

  20. KJV says:

    Hi Justin,
    I stumbled across this blog, and for whatever reason I am compelled to do something that I have never done before, which is comment on a blog about the topic of personal belief. Normally, I prefer to have this type of conversations across a lunch table, or over a cup of coffee, probably because it provides for an opportunity for dialogue in a way that blogs and comments don’t, but nonetheless here I am.
    I guess first I wanted to say I appreciate this article. Though I don’t agree with your point of view on most if not all of it, I appreciate it for just that. That it challenges me to assess what I believe and why I believe it. This article, unlike many other articles on this topic, wasn’t completely stupid, and I think that is why it actually encouraged me in my faith the more that I thought about it.
    I know with regards to your first point about cherry picking Bible verses, I have read the Bible in its entirety. Yet it never ceases to amaze me how when I take the time study it, I somehow come across things in it that I didn’t realize were there. Some if not most of those things have caused me to wrestle with how the apply it, others I just don’t like that it’s in there, but I do believe they are there to serve a purpose and me not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. I do try to apply them to my life as I learn them.
    With regards to your second point about not understanding Christian dogma, I can see your viewpoint but I disagree with your conclusion. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t make it impossible to believe in it. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the laws at work that made it possible for an airplane to fly, but it didn’t stop me from getting on one and believing that it would and could get me from one airport to another. Moreover, it didn’t stop the airplane from actually doing just that. To me it seems like there are a lot of things we believe in that we don’t understand how or why it works at the moment we begin believing in it. There is an explanation for it, we just don’t know it. I am only in my mid-twenties, so I know that I don’t have the life experience that you do. If I saw correctly in one of your comments, you were a Christian longer than I have been alive. I know I have a lot of learning left to do, but it doesn’t seem appropriate to disqualify someone from believing in something simply because they don’t understand its complexity. I strive to know it, I desire to know it, but in the end concerning the things of God if I don’t know it after pursing knowledge of it, I am ok with that.
    Your third point is hard to analyze for me for this reason. What constitutes as evil if there is no God? What standard are you comparing something against to make a classification as to whether or not something is evil? I don’t know of anything that most people would agree on completely as a standard. But even then, to me it sounds like the real struggle you have (and I have sometimes too) is how is God both just and loving without being contradictory.
    I completely understand the frustration of your fourth point, and I think that it partially ties in with your fifth point. Part of the reason we still sin is that we don’t consider enough the seriousness of Hell. Selfishly, a lot of Christians see Christianity as a “Get out of Hell free” card, that once obtained nothing else matters. By doing this we perpetuate the false image that becoming a Christian is only about not going to Hell and getting into heaven when the reality is that Christianity is so much more than that. Talking about that point is why I enjoy having this conversation over coffee, because the breadth and depth of it never ceases to amaze me. Another part is that a lot of what the Bible calls us to is difficult to do and is not popular opinion. So when we do follow it, it causes us to be treated as outcasts (which I know the Bible tells us we will be). I don’t know anyone who wants to be treated or feel as if they are an outcast. I think that most people want to be accepted, not rejected. I have been considered an outcast in many social circles because of my belief, and it isn’t something that gets easier over time to handle.
    With regards to having children, I am a new father and I can say that my little girl has shown me so much about myself, even though she is barely old enough to make “cooing” noises. Yes having children is a gamble considering the possibility that they may turn from God and not believe in him. However there is also a possibility that she could bring hundreds/thousands of people into the Kingdom of God. So the question then becomes do I risk the lives of hundred/thousands to save one, or risk the life of one to save hundreds/thousands? Don’t get me wrong I love my daughter, and I don’t want to see anything bad happen to her, but really it comes down to the story you eluded to in #3 of Abram and Isaac, am I willing to put God above all else or will I elevate my family to the highest position? Which is stronger, my love for God or my love for my family? If I can’t say my love for God is highest, then being Christian is meaningless.
    Your seventh point is very interesting, and I hadn’t really thought of it in the way that you did. I don’t know that I would go as far as you did and say that given the freedom to shed God from the equation, we would cut it away in a heartbeat. I see your point and I guess I will wrestle with that one some as I cannot articulate my thoughts on it well.
    #8 and #10 go hand and hand to me. If you don’t believe in true miracles, you won’t test God. That is based on my definition of a miracle being “an occurrence of something that has no explanation outside of God’s involvement”. The biggest challenge with this idea is that to believe in miracles, you have to put God’s word as the highest authority in life. Most people elevate human reason/logic to the highest level of authority. As I grow older and as I mature, I see human reason fail often which leads me to hope that there is something more reliable than it for navigating this life. Also I see a varying degree of reason within each individual, meaning that given the same situation and circumstances two people using nothing but their reason can come up with two different interpretations/responses as to what is “reasonable”. We all reason a little differently, and to me that is why most of the confusion in the world exists. I am not arguing that we discard reason all together, that would be foolish, I am just saying that human reason doesn’t do well being the highest authority. Me personally, I haven’t come across a situation in my life (yet) where I have needed to test God to do something outside of the natural realm. Also I don’t think it is mandatory that I test God in order to believe that he could in fact do what was requested. I do believe in miracles.
    #9 is really interesting to think about. When I think about it, honestly I don’t think that I fear death. What I fear is pain, and I don’t know that I would truly say I fear it. It is more of a strong dislike of pain. I don’t want to die in a way that is painful. If I do, I do, but that isn’t my desire, and I do my best to avoid the types of things that could result in a painful death. I honestly don’t want to be here one second longer than I have to be. I have lost three grandparents and my father over the past four years, each of which were sad to not be with loved one here on Earth any longer, but none of whom were dreading their end day.
    I doubt that my response will change your mind in any way as to where you stand on things, but I hope that it does encourage all who read your blog and my response to evaluate what they believe and not follow one side or the other simply because someone says so. I think it is good to constantly evaluate what you believe and why you believe it. You are doing a disservice to yourself and to others when you don’t. Both systems take a step of Faith in one way or the other. It is my earnest desire that God makes known his presence in your life that you might come to experience the goodness that I have from the toil of pursing Christ. Blessings.

  21. David Ashton says:

    I find it interesting that a detailed argument has been carried on in this blog, whenever I put a reasoned and logical argument into Christian blogs they are immediately deleted.Now the arguments revolve around interpretations of the Bible, but of course there are many Bibles and a quick look at the history of the various Bibles evolution show how they were translated, edited, censored and controlled to suit the politic powers of the time, so arguing about the detail of a particular translation fails to really address the reasons that Atheists do not accept this or other religions.

  22. Marc says:

    I think this is mostly true, but it should be noted that there are exceptions to a few (not all) of these. For example, the family that kept the rotting corpse of their husband/father while they prayed for resurrection suggests that #10, while correct in the majority of cases, is not without exception: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/12/03/family-lived-with-corpse-prayed-resurrection/19826791/

  23. TennisAddict says:

    I feel like many points need to be addressed. Nothing personal. I just want to try and get Christians to really and truly THINK about what they are believing in.
    I myself grew up in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday, and seriously thought I believed it. But as I got older, going through high school and approaching college, I started thinking with more and more logic and reasoning.
    GOD CANNOT POSSIBLY BE ALL-LOVING, ALL-POWERFUL, AND ALL-KNOWING. This is the main argument for me as to why Christianity does not add up.
    So Jesus was apparently sent to Earth for the purpose of dying for our sins. He died as the ultimate sacrifice, but rose again to show people that there is life after death with him and him alone. The flaw? Well…why was there a need for all of this to begin with? God hates sin and God is all-powerful, but sin still exists. In the blink of an eye, he should have the power to wipe out sin. So why was there a need for all the theatrics with his death and ressurection? Why did he create sin to begin with? Some will say that it’s a test. But again, why is that necessary? Are we lab rats?
    And the wages of sin is death? God is punishing us for being sinful, which is the way he created us. So we’re being punished for his mistake in creating us, which again, he could fix with the snap of his fingers if he really is all-powerful. But no, God created death in this world as well as sin like I said before.
    Some people say that God hates the wicked. I was taught that God loves all his children (hence the all-loving part), but I’ll play along with this idea for the sake of a good argument. So God hates the wicked such as Hitler for an example, correct? Well…who created Hitler? God. Who has a plan for everybody? God. So then who truly caused the world wars and, furthermore, any act of terror or violence? God. It was God that created terrorism, rape, murder, etc. Humans didn’t create these evil things on their own because it was all a part of God’s plan to begin with.
    You might argue that the evil is caused by Satan, but who created Satan? God. Satan was supposedly an angel that envied God and went to hell along with 1/3 of all the angels, all of which were God’s creations. And all of that was God’s plan too. I mean he knew it was going to happen, right? He knows all, right? Again, if he really hates these evil things, and he is all-powerful, then why do they exist?
    Also playing along with the idea of God hating the wicked, then God does apparently love those that he deems “good”, correct? Then why do they have to suffer from anything if they are innocent? Here’s an example to think about. Think about your family for a minute. Assuming you love them like most people do love their families, then you want the best for them, correct? If you had the power to give them a better world and a better life, then you would, correct? Then why does God allow his children to suffer if he loves them? He has the power to make everything perfect, yet he doesn’t.
    Sounds like God’s moral standards are a bit twisted, doesn’t it? Seems like the well-being of his “loved” ones aren’t a priority. I would think that caring for your loved ones and hating the suffering of innocent people is considered good moral standards, but this is all just coming from some 22 year old, agnostic college student like me. I mean, “clearly” this “God” has better moral standards than some kid, right? Well…seems to me like he is a sick and twisted being. Worship him or burn for eternity!…. But he loves ya! ;-D
    One last thing to point out is that there are so many translations of the Bible and many different denominations of Christianity. Why can’t God be clear enough so that everybody understands the same message? Clearly the Bible is confusing because all the Christians are divided up into different groups that translate the Bible the way they want it to be translated based on who they are.
    Take homosexuality as a quick and easy example of this. The Bible states that it is an abomination. However, my church had a sermon on the topic where a guest pastor was talking about a gay couple that attends his church and has a sexless relationship. On the other hand, there are churches out there that flat out say that God hates gay people and even churches that will say that it’s OK. People will interpret any work of literature in different ways based on their perspective.
    Based on all this reasoning, if a god exists that created us all, then he either does not truly love us, does not know about the evil in the world that he created, or does not have unlimited power.
    But if anything, Christianity does good in keeping people under control, teaching discipline, and calming those that fear death. The Bible does include the Golden Rule, after all. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. For that, I don’t mind Christianity existing for those that need it for mental stability and maybe a few basic morals.
    If you took the time to read all this and still feel like Christianity cannot be questioned and that what I stated is crap, then we just need to agree to disagree because you probably just turned a blind eye to it all.

  24. Don says:

    0. Those who follow Darwin’s translation of the ancient Babylonian and Greek Chain of Being believe, failed hypothesis after failed hypothesis, that a sort of primordial mother nature selection favors them over other races, castes, the so called less-fit, etc.. Fortunately, some still resist the ancestral trait of self-worship and instead follow the path of our scientific forefathers who had the incite that even the seemingly most simple organisms are are vastly more intelligent and intelligently designed than anything made by man, including random radio-magic mutations.

  25. Don says:

    1. Although woman do often cut their hair short, which Paul granted as a possible substitute, you should also recall that the Bible repeatedly warns of sin and corruption in the Church before the End Times.
    Most importantly though, its love that covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter
    I do like your question about selling all that one has and follow Jesus but this was obviously directed to an individual who Jesus knew was not really willing to follow the Lord. For instance Jesus visited the homes of disciples. Peter kept fishing, etc..

  26. Don says:

    The Trinity is beyond human understanding but also simple. For instance, God came to earth in the flesh and His spirit is still everywhere. It may seem counter intuitive that a greater faith is by those who have not seen Him physically but but I could go on and on why His spiritual presence makes sense in so many ways for our earthly realm.

  27. Don says:

    3. What Elisha was most likely dealing with was na’ar (young soldiers of the child sacrificing prophetess Jezebel) who were cursing his spiritually symbolic hairstyle. Elisha simply asked God to take care of the situation and how more appropriate than by a female bear, which was often worshiped in by these Bethel fertility cults. A repeated theme throughout the Bible is the sacrifice of the promised messianic vs the diabolically apposed sacrifice of children to Satan. What better way to deal to renew our Abrahamic faith in a man coming from Ur into Canaan ?

  28. Don says:

    4. Here again you are simply repeating what the Bible says about us and answering with a twist. Yes we are wretched sinners deserving hell (Dream state gnashing of teeth and finally actually the second eternal death –NOT eternal suffering) but still practicing for heaven. All the more reason to have a Holy Spiritual teacher for if we did these things in the actual presence of Jesus, we might be tempted to do like Judas did.
    “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”1 Corinthians 13:12

  29. Don says:

    6. Children, love and faith bring true Christians closer to heaven.

    7. Hollywood is often very censorious but books and movies are more and more filled with Christian symbolism, including zombie plagues

    8. Are you meshing negative and positive testing ?

    9.Science shows many Christians have very positive emotions at death

    10. People of have faith the size of just a mustered seed but God works super naturally but regeneration of human limbs isn’t natural. Notice that Jesus touched the soldiers ear and healed it, which signifies super natural reattachment.
    While millions of tax still fail to produce observable evolution, Millions testify in the miracles by Jesus.

    Thanks!

  30. Don says:

    TennisAddict,
    God doesn’t force us to love him but rather gives us the freedom to choose. Unfortunately, mankind often rebels, chooses to worship himself and do the opposite of what is good.

  31. Don says:

    Joshuaism, so basically you cant understand true Christians are not more like cult leaders such as Jim Jones, or Buddhist and Islamic suicide bombers, abortionist, etc… and you cant understand why a loving God would allow us to live a world that human sin is destroying. The reason is that we are usually not so insane as to think that we can totally play the role of God. Just because God forgives us, doen’t mean He totally takes away the consequences of sin. Love disciplines and allows struggle. Christians repent before they are caught but struggle helps us to adapt and learn from our mistakes and love and discipline? Unfortunately, jihad, liberation cults, Marxism, evolutionism, pharisees, etc.. etc…are possessed by the idea that they can play God-king

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