God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism.

Posted on February 13, 2012 By

God is real

“If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”

Robert Griffiths, winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics.

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“What is mind?  Never matter.  What is matter?  Never mind!

T.H. Key

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Virtually everyone is familiar with the popular conundrum, “Which came first…the chicken or the egg?” But probably very few people realize that the question of God’s existence, in a very real sense, boils down to what is likely the ultimate chicken-or-the-egg conundrum: Which came first, mind or matter? In other words, is mind (or consciousness) the product of matter, or is matter the product of mind? Is our universe—at its core—a material universe, or is it a mental/spiritual universe?

It will come as a surprise to many that modern physics has done much to answer this question. And the answer which modern physics provides will require many people to completely reframe their perception of the world in which they live.

Stephen C. Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University. In this book, he reveals the following:

“Since the time of the ancient Greeks, there have been two basic pictures of ultimate reality among Western intellectuals, what Germans call a Weltanschauung, or worldview. According to one worldview, mind is the primary or ultimate reality. On this view, material reality either issues from a preexisting mind, or it is shaped by a preexistent intelligence, or both…This view of reality is often called idealism to indicate that ideas come first and matter comes later. Theism is the version of idealism that holds that God is the source of the ideas that gave rise to and shaped the material world.”

“The opposite view holds that the physical universe or nature is the ultimate reality. In this view, either matter or energy (or both) are the things from which everything else comes. They are self-existent and do not need to be created or shaped by mind….In this view matter comes first, and conscious mind arrives on the scene much later and only then as a by-product of material processes and undirected evolutionary change. This worldview is called naturalism or materialism.”

There really is no third stance. Everyone therefore needs to ask him or herself, “On which side of this debate do I fall?”

Well…when Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum physics) says…

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

and Albert Einstein says…

“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

and the Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner says…

“When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness,”

and…

“The content of consciousness is an ultimate reality.”

and the great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington says…

“The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” [“Logos” is defined as “the word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order.”]

and the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…

“There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

…there can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.

(For a glimpse of the quantum research which has led physicists to draw conclusions such as the above, and to understand why materialism—with its belief that “either matter or energy, or both, are the things from which everything else comes” and “are self-existent and do not need to be created or shaped by mind”—can no longer be deemed scientifically plausible, please view this video of the famous double slit experiment).

[Please view the below video for a synopsis of why modern physics has permanently buried materialism (in which atheism is rooted), but has revealed the existence of God.]

God is Real…Modern physics has done away with materialism

As Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry discusses in his article Mental Universe, “The ultimate cause of atheism, [Isaac] Newton asserted, is ‘this notion of bodies having, as it were, a complete, absolute and independent reality in themselves.'”

Material things cannot have “a complete, absolute independent reality in themselves” because, as modern physics has demonstrated, the material world cannot exist independent from consciousness (mind). There is no reality independent of mind.

Here is how University of California, Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp puts it in his book Mindful Universe:

“…According to contemporary orthodox basic physical theory, but contrary to many claims made in the philosophy of mind, the physical domain is not causally closed.  [italics are his] A causally open physical description of the mind-brain obviously cannot completely account for the mind-brain as a whole.”

“In short, already the orthodox version of quantum mechanics, unlike classical mechanics, is not about a physical world detached from experiences; detached from minds.”

Princeton University quantum physicist Freeman Dyson echoes Stapp’s above comments:

“Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.”

Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why the naturalist/materialist worldview is no longer scientifically or philosophically supportable in their book The New Story of Sciencethat further elucidates the above points:

“In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning.  It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

God is real…Materialism survives within much of academia for ideological reasons:

Mainstream biology continues to embrace the naturalist/materialist view of the world despite the insights of modern physics. Why is this? Part of the answer lies in the fact that physics is the branch of science that most closely approaches the boundary separating science from philosophy and religion. It approaches this boundary much more closely than biology. Physics, in other words, is the branch of science that deals with the most fundamental or “big picture” aspects of our reality.

Relevant to the disagreement between modern physics and mainstream biology on this topic, Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz writes in his article Rediscovering the Mind:

“What has happened is that biologists, who once postulated a privileged role for the human mind in nature’s hierarchy, have been moving relentlessly toward the hard-core materialism that characterized nineteenth-century physics. At the same time, physicists, faced with compelling experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. It is as if the two disciplines were on fast-moving trains, going in opposite directions and not noticing what is happening across the tracks.”

Physicist Richard Conn Henry explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

“Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

Naturalism/materialism, simply put, is critical for maintaining an atheist worldview. Mind must be the eventual product of mindless matter for atheism to stand. An atheist must therefore ignore, remain ignorant of, or rationalize away the insights of modern physics in order to prevent his/her belief system from collapsing. And because materialism/naturalism is the predominant cultural context within the insular world of atheist biologists (as well as other branches of academia), this is done collectively. As Oxford University and University of Massachusetts Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) put it in The Altenburg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry:

“…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

It would be simplistic, however, to state that a cultural preference for atheism among the ranks of biologists is the only factor motivating mainstream biology’s embrace of naturalism. Biologists are in the business of providing explanations for the phenomenon of life. Therefore, an admission by biologists of the existence of a creator would also be an admission that there are aspects of the phenomenon of life that are beyond the bounds of science. One should not be surprised that biologists would find such an admission humbling and unpleasant. It is crucial, then, for readers to understand that what is presented by atheist biologists as a scientific conclusion of atheism is in reality an assumption of atheism made on philosophical grounds that precedes and therefore filters and distorts scientific inquiry. Harvard University geneticist Richard C. Lewontin famously admitted in 1997:

” …It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

(For a more in-depth exploration of mainstream biology’s rigid adherence to materialism, please read the post entitled If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?. Please also read The Ultimate Cart-Before-the-Horse (Why Atheism is Illogical, which is closely related to this essay.)

Perhaps Werner Heisenberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for creating quantum mechanics, explained the divergence between biology and physics (with regard to God) best when he wrote:

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

With the phrase “the bottom of the glass,” Heisenberg is referring to the study of the most fundamental aspects of reality…which are investigated by physics.

For a more in-depth discussion of why materialism/naturalism is no longer scientifically supportable, please read The Matter Myth by physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin. Much of the first chapter (entitled The Death of Materialism) is viewable by clicking on the above link to the book at Amazon.com. Please also read The New Story of Science by physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros.

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Additional citations from extremely important contributors to modern physics (indeed, the majority of the most important physicists) relevant to this subject matter appear below…as well as other prominent figures, such as philosophers. (Please also view the post entitled, Quotes about God to consider…If you think science leads to atheism.):

“Materialist philosophers argue that consciousness is a construct of matter. But Plato and almost all the great classical philosophers, East and West, suggest the opposite. Matter, at least as it appears to us, is a construct of consciousness.”

“…Consciousness is real and creative. It is not just a by-product of the world we perceive. Without consciousness, that world, the world we perceive, would not even exist. Another quantum physicist, John von Neumann, said, ‘All real things are contents of consciousness.’ This is about as far from materialism as you can get – and it is an interpretation of modern physics, not some weird religiously inspired theory.”

–Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, as quoted in his book Is Religion Irrational?

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“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

–Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and string theory pioneer. 

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“…This sense of wonder leads most scientists to a Superior Being – der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity – a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.”

Abdus Salam, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in electroweak theory. He is here quoted in his article entitled Science and Religion.

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“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude as those of Einstein and Newton.

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“For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence—an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered—-’In the beginning God.’”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Arthur Compton, discoverer of the Compton Effect.

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“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

“Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn’t make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

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“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

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“Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”

“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other.”

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum physics, and is therefore one of the most important physicists of all time.

Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers,trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184

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“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul A. M. Dirac, who made crucial early contributions to both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

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“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

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“We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds.”

–The great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington, as quoted in his classic work The Nature of the Physical World

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“Science is a game – but a game with reality, a game with sharpened knives. If a man cuts a picture carefully into 1000 pieces, you solve the puzzle when you reassemble the pieces into a picture; in the success or failure, both your intelligences compete. In the presentation of a scientific problem, the other player is the good Lord. He has not only set the problem but also has devised the rules of the game – but they are not completely known, half of them are left for you to discover or to deduce. The uncertainty is how many of the rules God himself has permanently ordained, and how many apparently are caused by your own mental inertia, while the solution generally becomes possible only through freedom from its limitations. This is perhaps the most exciting thing in the game.”

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

Erwin Schroedinger, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”

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“It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

–Nobel Prize winning Harvard University biologist George Wald, as quoted in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe. Wald is a noted exception to the widespread tendency of biologists to embrace materialism for ideological reasons (despite the fact that materialism has been completely discredited by modern physics).

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“…Discussing the creation of the universe in terms of time and space is like trying to discover the artist and the action of painting by going to the edge of the canvas. This brings us very near to those philosophical systems which regard the universe as a thought in the mind of its Creator, thereby reducing all discussion of material creation to futility.”

—The knighted physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Sir James Jeans.

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“The more I study science the more I believe in God.”

“I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

Albert Einstein

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“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

James Joule, propounder of  the first law of thermodynamics (on the conservation of energy). Joule also made important contributions to the kinetic theory of gases. The unit of heat known as the “Joule” is named after him.

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“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”

–Srinivasa Ramanujam, who is widely regarded to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time (on a similar plane with such greats as Archimedes and Newton).

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“Is intelligent mind an ultimate and irreducible feature of reality? Indeed, is it the ultimate nature of reality? Or is mind and consciousness an unforeseen and unintended product of basically material processes of evolution?”

“If you look at the history of philosophy, it soon becomes clear that almost all the great classical philosophers took the first of these views. Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel—they all argued that the ultimate reality, often hidden under the appearances of the material world or time and space, is mind or spirit.”

–Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy (mentioned above), as quoted in his book Doubting Dawkins, Why There Almost Certainly is A God.

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“It is as impossible to conceive that ever pure incogitative matter should produce a thinking intelligent being, as that nothing should of itself produce matter.”

–Philosopher John Locke, who was one of the most important Enlightenment thinkers.

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“Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, as cited in Principia, which is perhaps the most important scientific work of all time.

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**But one does not need to be a physicist or mathematician to understand why the materialist / naturalist worldview does not hold water.  Please see my post titled Riddles for Atheists for a greater understanding of why theism is a better explanation.


345 comments


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    Scott.N.M says:

    Mike you miss the point completely. Like you I used to think “if God is so good then why does he let so many bad things happen”.
    And yes many atrocities are committed in God’s name but that does not mean God is responsible.

    You need to look at it from a different perspective. I have three children, perhaps you have too. All that I know is that I teach them right from wrong, and give them what I believe to be good morals and a sound base of knowledge to build their lives on.

    However at the end of the day all three of my children are individuals and their personalities are completely different from one another. They will grow up to live their own lives,They have never belonged to me, I have just been given the job of protecting, feeding, guiding them and providing them with a set of rules that will hopefully make them better people, have positive effects on those around them and provide them with the opportunities to live happier lives.

    This is the way I see God and his relationship with us. He has provided us with all of the raw ingredients to live happy and fruitful lives. He has provided us with a set of rules that if followed benefits not only our well-being but that of everyone around us. However like any parent with their children there is no ownership. We are free to choose what we want to do right or wrong good or bad. It is not Gods fault if people twist the words of the Bible/Koran/Torah etc to fit their own political goals.

    I remember watching a documentary about Denis Nielson the serial killer. He was one of several siblings who were all raised in a good home with exactly the same moral code and belief system. But, he went on to become a serial killer. Religion is good, the message it preaches is love peace and honesty, self respect and respect of others. Anyone who deviates from this path, Ian Paisley, Osama Bin Laden and any other extremists out their are not religious. End of story. Anything taken to the 100th level of the extreme is a bad thing and religion is no different.

    Finally, what worth would there be in having a faith if you never had the right to choose it or turn away. God has given us the free will to choose so that when we do he can be sure it is for the right reason, Love, and not simply because we have to because we have seen him and can prove 100% that he exists.

    All I know is that since I started living my life around the rules of my faith my life has improved considerably both in the physical world and in the spiritual/psychological world. You should try reading some literature that argues for faith as well as against faith. You may be surprised what you discover.

    Why are people who do not believe in God so eager to force their opinions on Christians anyway? If you don’t believe fair enough. I didn’t for a long time but I was perfectly happy to let others worship as they saw fit. It didn’t make me angry or offend me.

    It seems to me that atheism is taking a swerve towards extremism itself. You just need to read a Dawkins novel to feel the hate. What is the problem? There is nothing anywhere in the bible that taken in context and allowing for the times that it was written that does not encourage understanding and love. That is the issue here, not whether we definatley know there is a God or not, but is the message and the rules it lays out beneficial. And I for one think we could do with less stealing, violence, adultery etc etc etc.


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      Mike D says:

      Scott, thanks for taking the time and effort to respond. I wish you had made a case or refuted any of my suggestions, but you didn’t and I understand why.
      Good on you for believing in what you choose to even if its totally faith-based and without any evidence to support it. I’m pleased that choosing this path has made you happier, even if it’s a somewhat deluded state. I’m not being nasty – delusion is the belief in something in the absence of any evidence.
      Why does god insist that we love him for “the right reasons”? What is the meaning of the term “god-fearing”? Is it possible the biblical novels are morality tales designed to make people behave better, by promising eternal riches and everlasting happiness if they do, and an eternity in damnation if they don’t? If you were going to make a up a story to try and control people’s behaviour, you have to admit (if you’re prepared to look at it objectively) that this would be a pretty good story to tell.
      I’m not eager to force my opinions on anyone – who set up this website anyway? Certainly not me. I haven’t set up any websites called There is no God Evidence, even though it’s the case. Your worshipping and belief systems cause me no anger or offense, and I don’t know why you implied that they do. I’m a curious person with an enquiring mind, the ability to reason and a thirst for knowledge. My questions are legitimate, sincere and respectful – you need not fear them, only the light they throw on the crucial lack of any evidence whatsoever of any “gods”.
      I completely agree that we can do with less stealing, violence and adultery and it may shock you to know that despite my absolute conviction that there is no god, I’ve never indulged in any of those acts. However I do know of countless examples of violence, rape, murder, stealing and torture committed by christians in god’s name, so I can’t escape the thought that perhaps religion and the belief in god is a bad thing. Please don’t be like the other Scott who tries to defend these well-documented facts (that continue to this day) by pointing to what he calls “state-sponsored atheism” supposedly used as a raison d’etre by such as Hitler and Stalin. It completely misses the point.


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        Philip Maguire says:

        You raise an interesting point about the term God-fearing. According to Christian faith there are two kinds of fear – servile and filial. Fear of God as in God-fearing is filial. It is defined as love that dreads offending the one loved. Thus the filial fear of God is compatible with the highest love of God.

        It’s understandable that you would mistakenly take to the term to refer to servile fear, but that is not what Christianity is about. The religion at its very source is about love, not reward or servile fear.


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    Jessica says:

    Atheists want us to show them evidences of God. With evidence they probably mean us taking a picture of God and posting it on Instagram to prove to them God exists. But God can not be proved the way atheists demand it. God is not a physical being for whom you can provide physical evidences. There are evidences about God, but the nature of this evidences is very subtle so you have to engage in extra-scientific and therefore philosophical/religious reasoning. But atheists avoid philosophy and they ignore any kind of evidence that doesnt support their views. On the other side, when we ask them to show us the evidences that God doesnt exist, they will only give you their infamous old and silly absurd cliche of unicorns and Santa Claus as if such thing can be considered an evidence. Nice try of atheists to shift the attention from the fact that they have ZERO evidence to disprove the existence of God yet they have to state their beliefs as if those are written undisputated facts. Atheists think their atheism is a science. More like science wannabe. Unlike atheists, scientists are trained to be open to every possibility and to give the benefit of the doubt to everything, including God. There is no absolute truth in the world of science, facts are changeable and relative. Unlike atheists, scientists are not dead sure, they are sceptical. It would be nice if atheists would state their beliefs for what they are: Beliefs, not written facts. It would be nice if atheists were sincere and admit they dont know everything, instead of acting like they have the monopoly of the truth. It would be nice if atheists knew the difference between knowing and believing. They dont know if there is no God. They believe there is no God but knowing and believing are two different things.

    ps. I like the first quote you posted in your essay, but the truth is atheists are ignorants in both departments ( philosophy and physics)


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      Peter says:

      I made the same point recently.

      Atheists want evidence & proof on their terms.

      But God may reveal himself in other ways such as miracles and healing etc. He revealed himself to St. Paul which made him convert and of course he revealed himself in the Lord Jesus. You can’t get any more proof but doubters will doubt and even though asking for evidence, no evidence will ever be enough because if truth were told, many don’t want evidence at all.

      Better to believe in no judgement than taking the chance of judgement with a 50/50 outcome.


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    Jessica says:

    Atheists want us to show them evidences of God. With evidence they probably mean us taking a picture of God and posting it on Instagram to prove to them God exists. But God can not be proved the way atheists demand it. God is not a physical being for whom you can provide physical evidences. There are evidences about God, but the nature of this evidences is very subtle so you have to engage in extra-scientific and therefore philosophical/religious reasoning. But atheists avoid philosophy and they ignore any kind of evidence that doesnt support their views. On the other side, when we ask them to show us the evidences that God doesnt exist, they will only give you their infamous old and silly absurd cliche of unicorns and Santa Claus as if such thing can be considered an evidence. Nice try of atheists to shift the attention from the fact that they have ZERO evidence to disprove the existence of God yet they have to state their beliefs as if those are written undisputated facts. Atheists think their atheism is a science. More like science wannabe. Unlike atheists, scientists are trained to be open to every possibility and to give the benefit of the doubt to everything, including God. There is no absolute truth in the world of science, facts are changeable and relative. Unlike atheists, scientists are not dead sure, they are sceptical. It would be nice if atheists would state their beliefs for what they are: Beliefs, not written facts. It would be nice if atheists were sincere and admit they dont know everything, instead of acting like they have the monopoly of the truth. It would be nice if atheists knew the difference between knowing and believing. They dont know if there is no God. They believe there is no God but knowing and believing are two different things.


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    Darwin says:

    Thanks Scott, and thankyou too Nick. You know, after a lot of thinking, I think i’ve finally realized it. I’ve payed to much attention to what people are telling me instead of really trying to reach out to God. I’ve just been taking in information without testing its reliability. So, my mission for right now is to just study the bible and see what God himself is telling me. Scott and Nick, I appreciate your replies to a struggling soul and so after I finish, I will come back and ask if you can clarify what I may have confusion about.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

      Darwin:

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. Please come back and ask any questions you may have. I really do enjoy discussing this stuff with people.

      It makes me very very glad to hear you say this!

      Scott


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    Thoranhaxmaul says:

    I will not adress every single point you made in your reply to me, mainly because i think we can both agree that this is getting long and pointless. I will just say 3 things:

    #1 you’re writing a COMMENT, not an essay. Comments shouldn’t need a bibliography!

    #2 you completely and utterly missed the point of the Dawkins scale. OF COURSE everything between 1 and 7 don’t contain “Truth claims” you idiot.

    #3 I stand by my request to grow a pair you butthurt pissy pants toddler. I believe that how well you handle criticism translates directly to how well you can handle the idea that other opinions exist at all.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Thoran,

      Fair enough. This thread has gotten long and complicated. I will simplify it by copying and pasting just the first part of my previous comment. You can read and respond at your convenience:

      Thoran,

      I want to begin by responding to your very last comment. You write, “Philosophers can debate things forever. Science answers things once and for all.”

      This is a horribly fallacious belief which absolutely permeates atheist thought. The first problem with your above statement is that it defeats itself. How could one scientifically determine that science can “answer things once and for all”? With a chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes?! With a biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri dish?!

      You (and a great many other atheists) have apparently failed to notice that “science answers things better than philosophy” is a belief that can only be arrived at philosophically…and only with extremely bad philosophy, since it contradicts itself by using philosophy to determine that only science (and not philosophy) can provide sound conclusions.

      This is yet another excellent example of the self-refuting incoherence in which atheism is caught.

      Earlier, I wrote, “Here, you do not seem to understand that science cannot be performed without philosophy.”

      You responded, “I disagree.”

      Below is an excerpt (from Stealing From God by Frank Turek) of a debate between atheist Peter Atkins and christian William Lane Craig (moderated by William F. Buckley) which is pertinent to your belief that science can be performed without philosophy:

      “Do you deny that science can account for everything?” challenged Atkins.

      “Yes, I do deny that science can account for everything,” said Craig.

      “So what can’t it account for?” demanded Atkins.

      “I think that there are a good number of things that cannot be scientifically proven, but that we’re all rational to accept,” Craig began.

      [Interrupting] “Such as?”

      “Let me list five,” Craig continued. “

      [ First,] logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle.

      [Second,] metaphysical truths like there are other minds other than my own, or that the external world is real, or that the past was not created five minutes ago with the appearance of age are rational beliefs that cannot be scientifically proven.

      [Third,] ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science that the Nazi scientists in the camps did anything evil as opposed to the scientists in Western democracies.

      [Fourth,] aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven.

      And finally, most remarkably, would be science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method, since it is permeated with unprovable assumptions. For example, the special theory of relativity — the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between any two points, A and B, but that strictly cannot be proven. We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theory!”

      Feeling vindicated, Buckley peered over at Atkins and cracked, “So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”


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    Thoranhaxmaul says:

    Virtually everyone is familiar with the popular conundrum, “Which came first…the chicken or the egg?”      
         
    *THORAN
         Egg. Next.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    But probably very few people realize that the question of God’s existence, in a very real sense, boils down to what is likely the ultimate chicken-or-the-egg conundrum: Which came first, mind or matter?      
         
    *THORAN
         Matter. Next.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    In other words, is mind (or consciousness) the product of matter, or is matter the product of mind?      
         
    *THORAN
         There’s no mind without a brain.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    Is our universe—at its core—a material universe, or is it a mental/spiritual universe?     
         
    *THORAN
         Things exist.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    It will come as a surprise to many that modern physics has done much to answer this question. And the answer which modern physics provides will require many people to completely reframe their perception of the world in which they live.     
         
    *THORAN
         Is this entire article going to be an attempt to debunk Atheism by relying entirely the assumption that we don’t know how Neurology works? Because we do, you know. It’s not that big a mystery.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Stephen C. Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University.      
         
    *THORAN
         Blah blah blah impress me with your ACTUAL intelligence not the smiley faces you got on your homework 30 years ago.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    In this book, he reveals the following:
    “Since the time of the ancient Greeks, there have been two basic pictures of ultimate reality among Western intellectuals, what Germans call a Weltanschauung, or worldview. According to one worldview, mind is the primary or ultimate reality. On this view,      
         
    *THORAN
         And they were wrong.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    material reality either issues from a preexisting mind, or it is shaped by a preexistent intelligence, or both…This view of reality is often called idealism to indicate that ideas come first and matter comes later. Theism is the version of idealism that holds that God is the source of the ideas that gave rise to and shaped the material world.”
    “The opposite view      
         
    *THORAN
         Watch out when a Theist says “the oposite view” or “the other possability” or anything like that. Typically, they’re setting up a false dichotomy.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    holds that the physical universe or nature is the ultimate reality. In this view, either matter or energy (or both) are the things from which everything else comes. They are self-existent and do not need to be created or shaped by mind….In this view matter comes first, and conscious mind arrives on the scene much later and only then as a by-product of material processes and undirected evolutionary change. This worldview is called naturalism or materialism.”
    There really is no third stance.      
         
    *THORAN
         There it is! False dichotomy. Creationists either tassitly or explicitly say there are only 2 options so that they can poke holes in one and claim victory by default, rather than actually back up their own beliefs with evidence. There are, in fact, an infinite number of possibilities, so stop being so lazy.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    Everyone therefore needs to ask him or herself, “On which side of this debate do I fall?”     
         
    *THORAN
         No.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Well…when Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum physics) says…
    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”     
         
    *THORAN
         God of the Gaps! He’s just assuming based on an unknown.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    and Albert Einstein says…
    “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”     
         
    *THORAN
         Steven Hawking says otherwise.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    and the Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner says…
    “When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again; it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness,”
    and…
    “The content of consciousness is an ultimate reality.”     
         
    *THORAN
         Is this going to be nothing but vague quotes from other people?
         
    *SCOTT
         

    and the great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington says…
    “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” [“Logos” is defined as “the word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order.”]
    and the knighted mathematician,      
         
    *THORAN
         I think you overestimate the importance of credentials and underestimate actual Science.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…
    “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)
    …there can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.     
         
    *THORAN
         Yes there is. We know THESE GUYS believed in a deity of some sort, and you quoted too many people for me to investigate every single one for quote-mining. But remember: what Scientists *BELIEVE* is irrelevant. What they *CAN* *PROVE* is the thing.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    (For a glimpse of the quantum research which has led physicists to draw conclusions such as the above, a
    Material things cannot have “a complete, absolute independent reality in themselves” because, as modern physics has demonstrated, the material world cannot exist independent from consciousness (mind).      
         
    *THORAN
         Rocks don’t have minds
         
    *SCOTT
         
    There is no reality independent of mind.     
         
    *THORAN
         Reality is the thing that doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it. Look up “Soverign Citizens get owned” and see what happens when people deny even simple abstract concepts, like the Law.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Here is how University of California, Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp puts it in his book Mindful Universe:
    “…According to contemporary orthodox basic physical theory, but contrary to many claims made in the philosophy of mind, the physical domain is not causally closed.  [italics are his] A causally open physical description of the mind-brain obviously cannot completely account for the mind-brain as a whole.”     
         
    *THORAN
         What?
         
    *SCOTT
         

    “In short, already the orthodox version of quantum mechanics, unlike classical mechanics, is not about a physical world detached from experiences; detached from minds.”
    Princeton University quantum physicist Freeman Dyson echoes Stapp’s above comments:
    “Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom.      
         
    *THORAN
         Baseless assumption.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.”     
         
    *THORAN
         That’s not a god. Devils are supernatural bing with horns and bat wings. They are not small black marsupials. Vampires are undead corpses with magic powers, they are not South American bats. Dragons breathe fire and can fly, they are not just large lizards from Kimodo. Gods are immortal giants with magic powers. They are not “a mind”. By that definition, I’m a god.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why the naturalist/materialist worldview is no longer scientifically or philosophically supportable in their book The New Story of Science, that further elucidates the above points:
    “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning.      
         
    *THORAN
         Wrong. We don’t know what was there before the Big Bang.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed      
         
    *THORAN
         Why not?
         
    *SCOTT
         
    because matter had a beginning.       
         
    *THORAN
         That’s the thing you’re trying to argue! The assumption and the thing you’re trying to prove can’t be the same! You’re just arbitrarily assuming matter “had a beginning” based on… what, exactly?
         
    *SCOTT
         
    It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind.      
         
    *THORAN
         Ypu know an argument is truely bad when I point to PRESUPPOSITIONALISTS to correct you. Ask them, they will tell you everything besides the mind that exists but isn’t physically real.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    If mind is what has always existed,      
         
    *THORAN
         Assuming
         
    *SCOTT
         
    then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was.      
         
    *THORAN
         Conclusion drawn from a baseless assumption.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”     
         
    *THORAN
         That’s an assumption based on an assumption based on an assumption. Based on a vague definition of a “god” so vague it could be anything. Including me.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Materialism survives within much of academia for ideological reasons:
    Mainstream biology continues to embrace the naturalist/materialist view of the world despite the insights of modern physics.      
         
    *THORAN
         And astrology tends to ignore geology. What else is new?
         
    *SCOTT
         
    Why is this?      
         
    *THORAN
         Why should it?
         
    *SCOTT
         
    Part of the answer lies in the fact that physics is the branch of science that most closely approaches the boundary separating science from philosophy and religion. It approaches this boundary much more closely than biology. Physics, in other words, is the branch of science that deals with the most fundamental or “big picture” aspects of our reality.     
         
    *THORAN
         No that’s astronomy.
         
    *SCOTT
         

    Relevant to the disagreement between modern physics and mainstream biology on this topic, Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz writes in his article Rediscovering the Mind:
    “What has happened is that biologists, who once postulated a privileged role for the human mind in nature’s hierarchy, have been moving relentlessly toward the hard-core materialism that characterized nineteenth-century physics. At the same time, physicists, faced with compelling experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. It is as if the two disciplines were on fast-moving trains, going in opposite directions and not noticing what is happening across the tracks.”
    Physicist Richard Conn Henry explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:
    “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]     
         
    *THORAN
         Solipsism is the view that reality doesn’t exist outside your own mind you idiot. Therefore Solipsism is pretty close to what you’re talking about. Actually, didn’t you say earlier “there are only 2 possibilities”?      
    *SCOTT
         

    Naturalism/materialism, simply put, is critical for maintaining an atheist worldview. Mind must be the eventual product of mindless matter for atheism to stand. An atheist must therefore ignore, remain ignorant of, or rationalize away the insights of modern physics in order to prevent his/her belief system from collapsing.      
         
    *THORAN
         No, i must ignore your quote-mining.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    And because materialism/naturalism is the predominant cultural context within the insular world of atheist biologists (as well as other branches of academia), this is done collectively. As Oxford University and University of Massachusetts Professor of Biology Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) put it in The Altenburg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry:
    “…people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ –      
         
    *THORAN
         Explain Atheists then. You do have a point but we are the EXCEPTION to it! Did you think i was born an Atheist? We look down on Theists for never questioning their belief system.

         
    *SCOTT
         
    scientists especially.      
         
    *THORAN
         Bullshit! Science is all about questioning everything!
         
    *SCOTT
         
    If not they are unemployable.      
         
    *THORAN
         Bullshit
         
    *SCOTT
         
    It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”     
         
    *THORAN
         Ok… how the fuck do you think Scientific progress happens???!!!
         
    *SCOTT
         

    It would be simplistic, however, to state that a cultural preference for atheism      
         
    *THORAN
         What “cultural preference”??!! CHRISTIANITY is the most prevalent belief system in English speaking countries you moron!
         
    *SCOTT
         
    among the ranks of biologists is the only factor motivating mainstream biology’s embrace of naturalism. Biologists are in the business of providing explanations for the phenomenon of life. Therefore, an admission by biologists of the existence of a creator would also be an admission that there are aspects of the phenomenon of life that are beyond the bounds of science.      
         
    *THORAN
         Technically Biology neither confirms nor denies gods. You do. You openly deny Evolution, therefore your beliefs are incompatible with Science. Technically, the bible doesn’t say Adam and Eve didn’t look like Captain Caveman so the Bible and Evolution are theoretically comparable. It’s the rest of Science that debunks Genesis.
         
    *SCOTT
         
    One should not be surprised that biologists would find such an admission humbling and unpleasant. It is crucial, then, for readers to understand that what is presented by atheist biologists as a scientific conclusion of atheism is in reality an assumption of atheism made on philosophical grounds that precedes and therefore filters and distorts scientific inquiry.      
         
    *THORAN
         Bullshit. That’s not how Science works,
         
    *SCOTT
       


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Thoran,

      I have responded to much of your comment, but since it was huge, I may have missed something that you consider important. If this is the case, please let me know and I will respond. Why don’t you let me know what you think are your two STRONGEST arguments for atheism so that I can respond to them. This will prevent the comment chain from getting two long and messy.

      If you held you atheist views for logical reasons, your comment would not be so full of angry rhetoric and foul language. Your use of angry rhetoric and foul language is a “tell” that you hold your atheist views for ideological and emotional (rather than logical) reasons…much as a nervous tick made by a poker player is a “tell” that he is holding a weak hand and is bluffing.

      Your comments would be calm, collected, and unemotional if they were motivated by logic (as opposed to intensely emotional ideology). What could possibly be more transparent than the intense ideology which motivates your atheism?

      Below, your comments are in bold, and my replies are in regular font.

      *THORAN
      There’s no mind without a brain.

      *Scott

      This is an unsupported assertion which stems from your materialist worldview.

      Physicist Amit Goswami explains how the famous double-slit experiment (for which I link to a video in this essay) conclusively demonstrates that matter (including the matter which constitutes the human brain) cannot exist without a conscious observer:

      “First let’s discuss how the idea that consciousness is the ground of being is forced upon us by quantum physics. Take the idea that conscious choice affects the quantum possibility wave of an object by collapsing it into an actual event of our experience, into a “particle,” so to speak. This idea seems dualistic at first. Why? Because consciousness has to be nonmaterial to effect collapse. To see this, suppose, as materialist biologists believe, that consciousness is a brain epiphenomenon. But undoubtedly the brain is a conglomerate of elementary particles, quantum possibilities, so it must itself also consist of quantum possibilities. Ditto for any epiphenomenon associated with it.”

      “Now do you see why consciousness, to effect collapse, must be nonmaterial? A material consciousness arising in the brain is only a possibility wave. A possibility wave acting on a possibility wave just makes a bigger possibility wave. No actuality ever comes out of such an interaction (von Neumann 1955).”

      “You may not have noticed, but we can see paradox in the observer effect in another way. The observer chooses, out of the quantum possibilities presented by the object, the actual event of experience. But before the collapse of the possibilities, the observer himself (or herself) consists of possibilities and is not manifest. So we can posit the paradox as a circularity: An observer is needed for collapsing the quantum possibility wave of an object; but collapse is needed for manifesting the observer. More succinctly, no collapse without an observer; but no observer without a collapse. If we stay in the material level, the paradox is unsolvable. The consciousness solution works only because we posit that consciousness collapses the possibility waves of both the observer (that is, his or her brain) and the object simultaneously from the transcendent reality of the ground of being that consciousness represents.”


      *THORAN
      Is this entire article going to be an attempt to debunk Atheism by relying entirely the assumption that we don’t know how Neurology works? Because we do, you know. It’s not that big a mystery.

      *Scott

      If your materialist views are right, and consciousness is just electrical and chemical processes in the brain, then your views cannot be true or false. This is because electrical and chemical activity cannot be true or false, any more than the chair you are sitting in can be true or false. How would one distinguish a true neuronal impulse from a false one? By measuring the voltage of the impulse?

      As Nancy Pearcey and Charles Colson put it, “Materialism reduces thinking to biochemical processes in the brain, akin to the chemical reactions in digestion. But digestion is not something that can be true or false. It is just a biological fact. If thinking is reduced to brain processes, then our ideas are not true or false either.”

      Frank Turek comments on how materialism (in which atheism is rooted) refutes itself by declaring that there are no immaterial conscious entities such as God or human souls, because human consciousness is really nothing more than the activity of atoms in the brain:

      Atheist evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane put it well. He wrote, “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . . . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” He also has no reason to trust anything he believes, including atheism or evolution.

      Atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, affirmed Haldane’s material view of reality. In what he called “an astonishing hypothesis,” Crick wrote, “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

      If atheism is true, he’s exactly right. But he didn’t see the problem Haldane saw. Perhaps Crick would have seen that problem if he had applied his hypothesis to his own work. Imagine if Dr. Crick had written this: “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that my scientific conclusions that I write in this book are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

      Physicist Stephen Barr reflects Turek’s above point about the self-refuting nature of materialism in Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. If humans are nothing but material brains with no soul, then human thoughts are nothing but patterns of nerve impulses in the brain. But how could a pattern of nerve impulses in the brain be either true or false?:

      “Cognitive scientists talk about neurons, for example. But “neuron” itself is an abstract concept that arose from the researches of biologists. For the materialist, then, even this concept of ‘neuron’ is nothing but a neurological creation; it also is a pattern of neurons firing in someone’s brain. If this sounds like a vicious circle, it is. We explain certain biological phenomena using the abstract concept “neuron,” and then we proceed to explain the abstract concept “neuron” as a biological phenomenon—indeed, a biological phenomenon produced by the activity of neurons. What we are observing here is the snake eating its own tail, or rather its own head. The very theory which says that theories are neurons firing is itself naught but neurons firing.”

      “…Why should anyone believe the materialist, then? If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? One pattern of nerve impulses cannot be truer or less true than any other pattern, any more than a toothache can be truer or less true than another toothache.”

      Indeed, as Barr alludes to above, the existence of consciousness cannot be explained through the lens of the materialist/naturalist worldview. If true, the materialist belief that human consciousness is nothing but the firing of neurons in the brain cannot be anything other than….the firing of neurons in the brain. How could a true neuronal impulse be distinguished from a false one? By measuring the voltage of the impulse? A neuronal impulse can be neither true nor false, nor can any other natural phenomenon, such as a rock or a thunderstorm.

      *THORAN
      There it is! False dichotomy. Creationists either tassitly or explicitly say there are only 2 options so that they can poke holes in one and claim victory by default, rather than actually back up their own beliefs with evidence. There are, in fact, an infinite number of possibilities, so stop being so lazy.

      *Scott

      No, there is no false dichotomy. As Stephen Meyer (who holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge) points out, the mind-first view and the matter-first view are the two basic worldviews which have persisted throughout the history of western thought, beginning with the ancient Greeks. If you deny this historical fact, then you are in denial of history.

      Suggesting that I have made a false dichotomy implies that you have a third alternative. I am very extremely curious to hear your third alternative. You are clearly confusing the mere possibility of a third alternative, with an actual third alternative. Of course there exists the possibility of a third alternative. But if you cannot supply that third alternative, you have done nothing which constitutes the furnishing of a logical argument.

      Further, I suspect that third-party readers of this comment chain are smart enough to recognize that accusing me of a “false dichotomy” is an attempt to sound credible by throwing around terminology. Just be careful that you actually understand the terminology which you are so carelessly throwing around.

      *THORAN
      God of the Gaps! He’s just assuming based on an unknown.

      *THORAN
      Is this going to be nothing but vague quotes from other people?

      *THORAN
      Yes there is. We know THESE GUYS believed in a deity of some sort, and you quoted too many people for me to investigate every single one for quote-mining. But remember: what Scientists *BELIEVE* is irrelevant. What they *CAN* *PROVE* is the thing.

      *THORAN
      Baseless assumption.

      *THORAN
      Wrong. We don’t know what was there before the Big Bang.

      *SCOTT

      But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed.

      *THORAN
      Why not?

      *Scott

      Because all of the scientific evidence points to the universe (including time, space, matter, and energy) beginning at the Big Bang. For example, the universe is expanding, as demonstrated by the fact that the galaxies are constantly moving further apart from one another. This points to the undeniable fact that the universe began in a giant explosion.

      Further, the universe is constantly using usable energy and is therefore “winding down” like a clock. This points to a cosmic beginning when the universe was all “wound up.” Click on the post below to see what I mean:

      http://www.allaboutscience.org/second-law-of-thermodynamics.htm

      Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, despite being a self-described agnostic, admits, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

      *THORAN
      That’s the thing you’re trying to argue! The assumption and the thing you’re trying to prove can’t be the same! You’re just arbitrarily assuming matter “had a beginning” based on… what, exactly?

      *Scott

      There is nothing arbitrary about it. The universe (which includes the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the big bang. Since it is an absurdity to suggest that something can cause itself, the cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy-less.

      *THORAN
      No, i must ignore your quote-mining.

      *Scott

      I have never gotten an atheist to explain to me what “quote mining” is. Apparently, it is the use of citations which are inconvenient to the atheist ideology. Unfortunately for atheists, the citation of experts is an absolutely routine part of rational discourse. If you don’t believe me, then just check vitally any scholarly journal and check for yourself.

      *THORAN
      Technically Biology neither confirms nor denies gods. You do.

      *Scott

      Biology very strongly supports the existence of God. For example, DNA is language in a very literal (not metaphorical) sense. And information science tells us that codes are ALWAYS the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. An excerpt relevant to this topic from my post titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading:

      In his book Evolution 2.0, Perry Marshall explains the scientific reasons why DNA is a language in the most literal sense. This is not some “loosey-goosey analogy,” as he puts it:

      Rutgers University professor Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper “The Linguistics of DNA: Words, Sentences, Grammar, Phonetics, and Semantics” starts off, “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

      Ji identifies 13 characteristics of human language. DNA shares 10 of them. Cells edit DNA. They also communicate with each other and literally speak a language he called “cellese,” described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.”

      This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper: “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.” This is true of genetic material. Signals between cells do this as well.

      Atheism relies on mindless chemical and physical processes to explain life. But the insurmountable problem for atheism is that such mindless processes can never account for the fact that DNA is a language which utilizes the arrangement of symbols…just like a human language. Much as the chemistry of the ink and paper that constitute a newspaper cannot explain the arrangement of the letters in the words of a newspaper, the chemistry of a DNA molecule cannot explain the arrangement of letters in a DNA molecule. Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, emphasizes this point:

      “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

      It would be just as absurd to assert that mindless chemical or physical processes could write a newspaper article as it would be to assert that such processes could produce a DNA sequence.

      *THORAN

      You openly deny Evolution, therefore your beliefs are incompatible with Science. Technically, the bible doesn’t say Adam and Eve didn’t look like Captain Caveman so the Bible and Evolution are theoretically comparable. It’s the rest of Science that debunks Genesis.

      *Scott

      No, your assertion that I openly deny evolution is a straw-man fallacy. Stripped of its atheistic philosophical add-ons, the term evolution only means change over time. The specific atheistic philosophical add-ons to evolutionary theory to which I am referring are randomness and purposelessness. And it is very difficult to rectify these atheistic philosophical add-ons with modern science. Furthermore, it is possible to prove that a pattern is non-random, but there is no mathematical procedure for proving that a pattern is random. Atheists can only assume that genes mutate randomly…because their worldview demands it. But the random mutation hypothesis can never be verified, and therefore it stands in opposition to the scientific method itself. The renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin from his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:

      “Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”

      Random mutation and natural selection is not what drives evolution (as Darwinism insists). Rather, directed processes drive evolution. The directed process known as transposition amounts to a cut/copy/paste of genetic information within a cell. The discovery of transposition won Barbara McClintock the Nobel Prize in biology, and her face on a U.S. postage stamp.

      And despite the fact that no legitimate biologist denies transposition, Marshall notes, it is noticeably absent from popular presentations of evolution, such as in books by atheistic evolution promoters Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. Scientists with an atheistic agenda do not wish to call attention to directed evolutionary processes such as transposition.

      Physicist Amit Goswami echoes Marshall’s point about the directed (as opposed to random and mindless) nature of evolution in his book Creative Evolution: A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Atheistic scientists argue in favor of upward causation, in which elementary particles make atoms, which make molecules, which make living cells, which make the brain, which produces consciousness. According to the upward causation model, then, everything begins with elementary particles, and winds up with consciousness (in human brains), as a result of mindless and random processes working over millions of years. But, as Goswami points out, downward causation (in which a consciousness comes first) is the actual state of affairs:

      “The new evidence suggests that certain bacteria, when threatened with mass starvation, accelerate their own mutation rate to evolve to a new species that can survive on the available food (Cairns, Overbaugh, and Miller 1988). This behavior is called directed mutation. Critics of directed mutation point out that under starvation perhaps the mutation rate of all the genes is enhanced, not just the one needed for survival. But even so, the question remains: What enhances the mutation rates? The correct explanation is to see this phenomenon as direct evidence in favor of downward causation (Goswami and Todd 1997) and the causal efficacy of organisms, as also propounded by organismic biologists.”

      So what (or rather who) is responsible for this downward causation? Goswami responds that the only answer can be God, in part because an immaterial conscious mind is required to explain the famous “observer effect” in physics. The “observer effect” refers to the conclusion of modern physics that, prior to observation by a conscious observer, particles exist only in an immaterial form known as a possibility wave (or probability wave). It is only after an observation is made by a conscious observer that these possibilities “collapse into actuality,” thereby taking on material form. Readers who find this bizarre or difficult to understand are in good company. Even the world’s most elite physicists are amazed and puzzled by the observer effect. However, it has been repeatedly scientifically verified.[Please click here to watch a video explaining the observer effect.] Goswami writes:

      “If the idea of downward causation were an isolated idea invented to solve the special problems of fast-tempo evolution and purposiveness of life, if it were needed nowhere else in science, then it could not be called a scientific idea, end of story. But the intriguing situation is this: The idea of a God as an agent of downward causation has emerged in quantum physics (Goswami 1989, 1991, 1993, 2000, 2002; Stapp 1993; Blood 1993, 2001) as the only legitimate explanation of the famous observer effect. (Readers skeptical about this statement should see these original references, especially Goswami 2002.)”

      Downward causation (in which a conscious agent comes first) is no doubt a bizarre (even mind-bending) concept for persons raised in a culture which has deeply entrenched assumptions supporting the upward causation model. But, far from being a fringe concept, downward causation is a virtually undeniable conclusion of modern physics, as Goswami notes.

      Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University agrees with Goswami that downward causation by God is the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from modern physics:

      “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

      Indeed, the founder of quantum physics himself, the Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Planck, was referring to downward causation, in which a conscious mind (read: God) comes first, and produces matter, when he wrote:

      “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

      Planck also wrote:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

      As if to kick a dead horse, I must call attention to a final nail in the coffin for the random mutation evolutionary hypothesis: It is flat-out mathematically impossible…in addition to being wrong and unscientific. The vast majority of mutations are harmful, and an organism cannot evolve from random mutations with such a state of affairs. Cambridge University physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, despite being atheist, admits in his book Mathematics of Evolution:

      “The reason why most mutations must be bad is of course that random changes made to any complex structure lead to many more downward steps in the operating efficiency of the structure than to upward steps. How the occasional lucky improvement is to lead to positive evolution is a puzzle that has disturbed many mathematicians.”


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    Visio says:

    I agree that physics does imply the existence of divinity, but not the god of Abraham. Christinity is still not the only truth. It contains some truth, if you can dig it out from under the Roman propaganda.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Visio,

      It would be hard to argue that Christianity was tainted by Roman propaganda when you consider that the Romans severely persecuted the Christians until the reign of Constantine.

      For an exploration of the truth of Christianity, I highly recommend that you read my essay titled Do Christ’s Divinity and Resurrection Defy Common Sense?

      Just to tempt you to read the essay, below are some copy and pasted excerpts:

      …Regarding the reliability of the Gospel accounts, Norman Geisler notes in Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith:

      “Simon Greenleaf, one of history’s greatest legal minds, former Harvard law professor, and author of a book on legal evidence, carefully applied the rules of legal evidence to the Gospel accounts in his book The Testimony of the Evangelists. He argued that if the Gospels were submitted to the scrutiny of a court of law, ‘then it is believed that every honest and impartial man will act consistently with that result, by receiving their testimony in all the extent of its import.’ He added, ‘Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.’”

      I would like to conclude this essay by quoting scripture. But before any hardened atheist or agnostic readers click away from this page in disgust, I should mention that I have decided to spice things up by quoting HINDU scripture (The Vedas which date to at least 1200 B.C. and the Upanishads which date to around 500-400 B.C….as excerpted from The Christ Connection: How the World Religions Prepared the Way for the Phenomenon of Jesus by Roy Abraham Varghese). I do this in order to give a taste of the references to God’s self-sacrifice on the cross which are present in other cultures and time periods (which I detail in Which God Is Real?) :

      “The Supreme Creator took a perfect human body (Nishkalanka Purusha) and offered it up as a self-sacrifice (Brihad Aranyak Upanishad 1:2:8).”

      “If you want to be delivered from the sin, which you commit through eyes, mouth, ears and mind, bloodshed is necessary. Without shedding the blood, there is no remission for sin. That must be the blood of the Holy one. God is our creator. He is our King. When we were perishing, He came to save us by offering even his own body on our behalf.” (Tandya Mahabrahmana 4.15).

      “The redemption is through shedding of blood only and that blood has to be through the sacrifice of God himself.” (Taittiriya Aranyaka, verse 3).

      “This [sacrifice] is the only way for the redemption and liberation of mankind. Those who meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.” (Yajur-Veda 31:18)

      “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines.” (Rig-Veda 10:90:7, Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3:9:28).

      “The Purusha was above sin, and only in knowing him does one attain immortality.” (Chandogyopanishad 1:6:6-7)

      “After giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice, this Purush resurrected himself.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28.4-5; Kathopanishad 3: 15).

      “The purpose of this sacrifice is to provide the only way to Heaven and the only way to escape from Hell.” (Rig-Veda 9:113:7-11; 4:5:5; 7:104:3).

      “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa [a wooden pole] causing blood shed.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6).

      “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

      “None of His bones must be broken.” (Yajur-Veda 31:; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6)


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    BC says:

    I really enjoyed this video. I had to keep rewinding it every time I watched, but I eventually follow it. Upon a recent viewing, I have a question that I hope you can answer (not sure if it’s too late to get a response). My question is: if the macro world based on the quantum world does not exist without our observation, how is it that things exist and happen without our viewing it (such as leaves falling off trees in the fall – we can see evidence of the result, but we did not necessarily see the action itself, and the video explains that God’s sole observation of something does not count)? Does that make sense? I really want to know how this works, so please help me understand if you can. Thank you


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      BC,

      I think that you are getting into the age-old philosophical question of “does a tree that falls in the forest make a sound if nobody is there to hear it?” My answer would be that things exist without our observation because God is exists and God is the ground of all being. Here is how Max Planck, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who founded quantum physics, put it:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

      God’s mind is “the matrix of all matter,” and God has created us to be co-creators….albeit finite and limited co-creators, unlike him.

      Things can exist in physical form without human observation because God is the mind which is the ground of all being, or what philosophers term “prime-reality” or “ultimate reality.”

      The physical world is a construct of consciousness. As hard as it is for westerners like us (who were raised in a society with deeply entrenched materialistic assumptions), there is no reality independent of mind.

      Did I understand your question correctly?

      Scott


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        BC says:

        So if God is the matrix of all matter, then why is our consciousness able to cause some things to come into existence (like the observation of a single electron) and not others (like the leaves falling scenario)? Why isn’t the same for both?


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          BC,

          God has established us as co-creators, but limited co-creators. Our ability to create is a measure of our faith, but since humans have so little faith, our ability to create is greatly restrained.

          Scott


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    gary says:

    Scott,

    I believe you are misusing the Laws of Logic. I am having a discussion on this topic with a Southern Baptist pastor on my blog. If you are interested, please join us.

    Blog: lutherwasnotbornagain
    post: Using the Laws of Logic to examine the claim that God is the Source of Morality.
    date: November 29, 2014


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    gary says:

    Did atheism cause Stalin and Pol Pot to kill millions of people or did the lust for power and desire to eliminate all opposition?

    Blaming atheism for Stalin’s actions is like blaming Evangelical Christianity for Ted Haggard’s homosexual escapades with a male prostitute. You have alleged causation without proving correlation.

    Hiter was a Roman Catholic. He never renounced his baptism nor his membership in the Catholic Church, regardless of what he may have said about Christianity. Therefore he died a Roman Catholic in the eyes of every orthodox Christian Church in the world, churches who represent over 90% of the world’s Christians.

    The greatest mass-murderer of all time was a Christian.


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      mark says:

      Ignorance is bliss. If you think Hitler was a Christian then your mind has been shut off. Hitler replaced the Bible with his own Bible, in 1942 the Bible was banned. He ordered Pastors and Priest to be executed. He wrote his own ten commandments or twelve commandments. He himself claimed to be god. he denied the deity of Christ and believed he was the savior of the world. This man was a s warped as they come. just because you quote the bible here and there doesn’t make you a Christian.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      The causal link between atheism and the mass-killings of the communists and nazis is this:

      The atheist worldview greatly diminishes the value of human life by declaring that people are nothing but “survival machines” (or glorified monkeys without a soul) that exist mainly to pass on their genes and ensure the survival of the species. This is why the communists were able to send people to their deaths in “gulags” (or prison camps) in such great numbers with so little restraint. As Vladimir Lenin said, the atheist communists “repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas”….such as the supernatural Judeo-Christian idea that human beings have a supernatural soul and therefore transcendent value.

      In a nutshell, because atheism denies the existence of any “supernatural” (or transcendent) reality, it also, by extension, denies that humans have any transcendent value. This severely devalued concept of human life is what allowed the communists and nazis to justify their historically unprecedented killing sprees. If humans are nothing but soulless animals, then what is the problem with sending them to slaughterhouses like animals?

      What causal link are you suggesting exists between Christianity and killing? Please explain. Without a causal link, one can no more argue that Hitler’s childhood church attendance caused him to kill than one can argue that Ted Bundy’s childhood Boy Scout membership caused him to kill.

      Your use of such a blatantly false argument illustrates the ideological (as opposed to logical) basis for your opposition to Christianity. The nazis were virulently anti-Christian and had plans to destroy the German Christian church. You can no more deny this than you can deny the historical fact that Abraham Lincoln was president during the American Civil War.

      Please click here to read a Wikipedia post about Hitler’s religious views. An excerpt:

      Historians such as Ian Kershaw, Joachim Fest and Alan Bullock agree that Hitler was anti-Christian – a view evidenced by sources such as the Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Speer, and the transcripts edited by Martin Bormann contained within Hitler’s Table Talk. Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”

      Please click here to read a New York Times article about how the nazis planned to destroy German Christianity. An excerpt:

      According to Baldur von Schirach, the Nazi leader of the German youth corps that would later be known as the Hitler Youth, ”the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement” from the beginning…

      The Nazis killed anyone and everyone who they did not feel was worthy to pass on their genes. It seemed to them perfectly justifiable to kill any “survival machines” with what they perceived to be “undesirable” genes. As California State University Professor of History Richard Weikart points out in From Darwin to Hitler, the racist Nazi rationalization for killing comes straight from Darwin. In The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

      “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, the sick;….Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”

      At another point in The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

      “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

      And exterminating everyone perceived to be “savage” or unworthy of passing on their genes is exactly what the Nazis tried to do. It is not, then, difficult to see why Weikart was justified in saying that:

      “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism….neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”

      This can be seen in the statements made by Hitler which betrayed his Darwinist views. Hitler once said:

      “The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing for the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”


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    Gary says:

    What evidence do you have that Stalin, Pol Pot and other atheists murdered people by the millions due to atheism, and not due to their selfish desire to consolidate power and eliminate all opposition, like every other tyrant in history, regardless of religious belief?

    Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic. He may have said a lot of bad things about Christianity and religion, but he never renounced his baptism and the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church never excommunicated him. He was therefore a Catholic, by definition of every orthodox Christian denomination on the planet, denominations who represent probably 90% of Christianity.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      The causal link between atheism and the mass-killings of the communists and nazis is this:

      The atheist worldview greatly diminishes the value of human life by declaring that people are nothing but “survival machines” (or glorified monkeys without a soul) that exist mainly to pass on their genes and ensure the survival of the species. This is why the communists were able to send people to their deaths in “gulags” (or prison camps) in such great numbers with so little restraint. As Vladimir Lenin said, the atheist communists “repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas”….such as the supernatural Judeo-Christian idea that human beings have a supernatural soul and therefore transcendent value.

      In a nutshell, because atheism denies the existence of any “supernatural” (or transcendent) reality, it also, by extension, denies that humans have any transcendent value. This severely devalued concept of human life is what allowed the communists to justify their historically unprecedented killing spree.

      What causal link are you suggesting exists between Christianity and killing?

      Your use of such a blatantly false argument illustrates the ideological (as opposed to logical) basis for your opposition to Christianity. The nazis were virulently anti-Christian and had plans to destroy the German Christian church. You can no more deny this than you can deny the historical fact that Abraham Lincoln was president during the American Civil War.

      Please click here to read a New York Times article about how the nazis planned to destroy German Christianity. An excerpt:

      According to Baldur von Schirach, the Nazi leader of the German youth corps that would later be known as the Hitler Youth, ”the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement” from the beginning…

      Please also click here to read a Wikipedia post about Hitler’s religious views. An excerpt:

      Historians such as Ian Kershaw, Joachim Fest and Alan Bullock agree that Hitler was anti-Christian – a view evidenced by sources such as the Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Speer, and the transcripts edited by Martin Bormann contained within Hitler’s Table Talk. Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”

      The Nazis killed anyone and everyone who they did not feel was worthy to pass on their genes. It seemed to them perfectly justifiable to kill any “survival machines” with what they perceived to be “undesirable” genes. As California State University Professor of History Richard Weikart points out in From Darwin to Hitler, the racist Nazi rationalization for killing comes straight from Darwin. In The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

      “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, the sick;….Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”

      At another point in The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

      “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

      And exterminating everyone perceived to be “savage” or unworthy of passing on their genes is exactly what the Nazis tried to do. It is not, then, difficult to see why Weikart was justified in saying that:

      “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism….neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”

      This can be seen in the statements made by Hitler which betrayed his Darwinist views. Hitler once said:

      “The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing for the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”


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        LBaker28 says:

        Scott, it is clear you won the argument with Gary but I was still wondering what your response is to numbers 7,9,10, and 13 in Gary’s list of why he doesn’t believe I know it may be a lot to ask and I don’t want to bother you but if you could answer them it would be great! I was also wondering if you will post any new articles again.


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    Gary says:

    “Regarding my allegation that (officially) atheist communism was responsible for as many as 110 million deaths, I cite the following”

    This comment is like saying that Evangelical Christianity is responsible for homosexuality because Ted Haggard had sex with a male prostitute. You are alleging causation without proving a true correlation.

    Please provide evidence that the murders committed by Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. were committed in the name of atheism, and not in the name of consolidating one’s power and eliminating any threats to that power, even if that means murdering millions of people to do so.

    Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic. He was not a very good Roman Catholic, but he never renounced his religious affiliation. It we labeled all the people who do not attend church and who reject some or most parts of their Christian upbringing, the number of atheists in the world would sky rocket. Hitler was a Catholic Christian. A bad Catholic Christian, but still a Christian by definition of every orthodox Christian Church on the planet.


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    gary says:

    Fifteen Reasons Why I am no Longer a Christian

    1. There is zero evidence for the claim that tens of thousands, if not millions, of Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt for hundreds of years, wandered the Sinai for 40 years, or launched a massive, bloody conquest of Canaan. There is also zero evidence for the great kingdoms of David and Solomon as described in the Bible. No trace of Solomon’s temple has ever been found. The top archaeologists in Israel have confirmed: these stories are fictional; they never happened; they are Iron Age fabrications.

    2. The god of the Old Testament was vindictive, quick tempered, and ever eager to shed blood. If he exists, his hands are covered with the blood of millions of men, women, children, and babies. The barbaric actions of this ancient middle-eastern god are not compatible with the loving, forgiving, compassionate character of Jesus of Nazareth. They cannot be the same god.

    3. The “Jesus prophecies” in the Old Testament can easily be demonstrated to not be about Jesus but about Jacob, otherwise known as Israel—the Hebrew people.

    4. Writing analysis of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, decisively shows that Moses could not have written these books. Jesus thought Moses did. Jesus was wrong.

    5. There are numerous, irreconcilable discrepancies in details of particular events described in the Pentateuch that are also described in I and II Kings or in I and II Chronicles.

    6. The Creation story described in Genesis chapter 1 is very different from the description of Creation in the following chapters.

    7. Geologic evidence proves without any doubt that there was never a world wide flood. Evidence shows that the Hebrew story of Noah is a plagiarism of the Babylonia story of Gilgamesh.

    8. Scientific evidence proves that the universe is billions of years older than what the Bible tells us.

    9. The book of Daniel can conclusively be proven to be a fraud. It was written during the reign of the Greeks, not during the reign of the Babylonians or Persians. Jesus quoted a book we now know is a fraud. Therefore Jesus was mistaken.

    10. There is no mention of Hell in the first half to 2/3 of the Old Testament. In fact, the concept of Hell, does not appear until the very end of the Old Testament (Daniel), which as stated above, was written during the Greek occupation of Palestine. The Greeks did have a concept of Hell which they called Hades, which they had borrowed from the ancient Egyptians, who called their Hell…the Lake of Fire! Strange coincidence, isn’t it? Jesus believed in Hell because his Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, modified the Hebrew to create this concept of divine eternal punishment. Jesus mistakenly believed that Hell/Hades was a Hebrew teaching from Yahweh.

    11. Jesus quoted from, and based his teachings on…a Greek translation of the Old Testament. If he were really God, wouldn’t he know that the translators of this Greek translation deliberately modified the Hebrew to create this unheard of concept called Hell/Hades? Why would the All-Mighty, All-Knowing Creator and Ruler of the Universe preach from a very poor translation of his original Word in Hebrew??

    12. Why didn’t Jesus write down his teachings himself? Why leave the job to four anonymous writers writing decades after his death in a foreign language? Why would the All-Mighty God of the Universe allow four Greek-speaking foreigners to completely bungle his resurrection story?

    13. Why would Jesus select Paul, a Pharisee, to be his missionary to the Gentiles when he already had the Eleven to do the job? Why would Jesus give special, new revelations to a man who was not one of the original Eleven? How do we know that Paul was selected by Jesus and not that Paul selected himself to be the “greatest of the Apostles”? Why does Paul rarely mention any of the teachings of Jesus? Why does Paul talk so much about himself? Why do none of the other apostles refer in their epistles to Paul as an apostle? Why did all the churches in Asia (that would include Ephesus, Galatia, Tarsus, Colossae, Laodecia, etc.) eventually reject Paul’s teachings? Paul doesn’t say that these churches rejected Jesus, just him. The Apostle John mentions Jesus in the Book of Revelation praising these Asian churches for their faithful service to him, and for their rejection of false “apostles”. Put those two statements together and what do we get: Paul, who claimed to be the greatest and hardest working apostle, was rejected by the Asian churches. Jesus praised these same Asian churches for rejecting “false apostles”. Not false prophets. Not false teachers. Not false brothers. FALSE APOSTLES! Jesus rejected and condemned Paul. He was not an apostle.

    14. There is no record in the Old Testament or in the sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels that list the current books of the New Testament as the inerrant Word of God. No where, even in the New Testament, do we have a list of which books God himself ordained to be his inspired Word. The New Testament is simply and only a creation of the Catholic Church, the victors of the early Christian civil wars.

    15. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If I told you that I was abducted by green Martians in a Home Depot parking lot last year, to spend three days and nights on their home planet, I doubt that you would simply accept my word for it…by faith. No, you would demand extraordinary evidence for this extraordinary claim. So why do Christians demand that non-believers believe their fantastic, supernatural, 2,000 year old claim, simply by taking their word for it and the word of their ancient, middle-eastern holy book, by faith?

    No.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and their isn’t ANY evidence for the extraordinary, first century, Christian claim that a dead man walked out of his tomb with the body of Superman, walked through locked doors, and levitated into the clouds, to reign in the farthest reaches of Outer Space, as the Almighty Ruler of the Universe. None.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      It is readily apparent that your “Fifteen Reasons I Am No Longer a Christian” is an attempt to take the quantitative approach since your arguments have not succeeded qualitatively. In other words, since you cannot furnish a logically coherent argument to support your stance, you are switching to quantity-over-quality approach.

      You are basically trying to spam me out with material so that you can conceal the weakness of your arguments.

      Please recall that I called you out on:

      1) Suggesting that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is referring to the nation of Israel even though this is patently absurd. If this is the case, then the nation of Israel:

      a) is a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

      b) was assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

      c) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

      d) is numbered with the transgressors.
      For he bore the sin of many,
      and made intercession for the transgressors (as in verse 12)

      etc, etc…

      Gary, your argument has reached a new height of absurdity here.

      2) Asserting that the Hindu scriptures MUST have been altered because of their clear references to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is the logical fallacy of assuming what you intend to prove.

      3) IGNORING my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents that date right to the time of Christ’s crucifixion. I believe this is the THIRD or FOUTH time I have called you out on this one.

      Gary, why don’t you tell me which two or three of your “fifteen reasons you are no longer a Christian” constitute your strongest arguments against Christianity…so that I can respond to them.

      I am not going to let you hide behind quantity of argument as a substitute for quality of argument.


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    gary says:

    Let me just mention this: Sometimes to understand a passage in context, one must read the entire surrounding chapter, and in other cases, one must read several surrounding chapters. Such is the case with Isaiah 53, which Christians refer to as the “Suffering servant or the Suffering Messiah” passage. But when the passage refers to God’s suffering service, does chapter 53 tell us who that suffering servant is? We can guess or make assumptions, but does chapter 53 specifically name the person about whom you and I have been debating? Answer: No.

    So let’s find out if the surrounding context tells us specifically the name of the “suffering servant” mentioned in the passage. To do that, however, we must start back in Isaiah chapter 48. Here is the last part of Isaiah chapter 48:

    Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth;
    say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!” They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split open the rock and the water gushed out. “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

    Who is the Suffering Servant? Answer: the nation of Israel, often referred to simply as “Jacob”. And in what context is Jacob suffering? He is suffering in captivity in Babylon, a historical fact. The nation of Israel is captive in far away Babylon. So in chapter 48, 49,50,51,52, and 53 the author of this OT book is telling “Jacob”, the suffering people of Israel, that they will be rescued from their suffering by their god, Yahweh.

    In context, it is very clear to see that this is not about Jesus. It may sound like the story of Jesus. There may be some striking similarities, but this passage is not a messianic passage. This passage is not talking about a future messiah, but the present suffering of the Hebrews in Babylon.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      Very interesting. So the nation of Israel is referred to as a person….”Jacob”? Why do you suppose that the author didn’t just say “the nation of Israel?”

      As the below article mentions, Jacob is sometimes referred to as Israel in the Bible, but both “Jacob” and “Israel” refer to an INDIVIDUAL and not a NATION.

      http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/952/jacobs-name-is-israel-so-why-is-he-still-called-jacob

      You are really clutching at straws here.

      So, by your logic, apparently the nation of Israel was:

      1) a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

      2) assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

      3) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

      4) numbered with the transgressors.
      For he bore the sin of many,
      and made intercession for the transgressors (as in verse 12)

      etc, etc…

      Gary, your argument has reached a new height of absurdity here.


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        gary says:

        Scott,

        I strongly suggest that you sit down and have a long talk with a seminary-trained pastor. If you are not aware that the writers of the Old Testament often referred to the Hebrew/Jewish people as “Israel” or “Jacob”, you need to improve your Biblical scholarship.

        It is obvious that you have created your own belief system without regard to 2,000 years of Biblical scholarship. In my former conservative Christian denomination, you would have been laughed out of he denomination for believing that God spoke to mankind through the Hindu and Chinese holy writings and 300 years ago, your fellow Christians would have burned you at the stake for making such a heretical claim.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          No, there is nothing heretical about God revealing himself to all peoples. I highly recommend that you read the book Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World by Christian missionary Don Richardson.


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            gary says:

            The authors of pagan holy books are apostles???

            You have gone off the deep end, my friend. You have created a new sect of Christianity. No mainline Protestant, Evangelical, or Christian fundamentalist denominations believes that God has inspired pagans to prophecy about Jesus. You are outside the bounds of orthodox/conservative Christianity. In the eyes of these Christians, you are just as much a heretic as the Mormons and JW’s.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Gary,

              Here, you have created a classic straw-man argument. You are attacking a straw-man caricature of my argument. There is no need for a new sect of Christianity since the Bible already says, “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”

              Christian missionary Don Richardson writes in his book, Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World:

              Aged Simeon, a devout Jew who met Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem, articulated ever so eloquently that wider purpose of Messiah’s coming, declaring before Yahweh: “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32, emphasis added). Likewise Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist, constantly quoted Isaiah 40:3-5 as justification for his ministry of preparing “the way for the Lord” by making “straight paths for him.” For what purpose?

              That “all mankind will see God’s salvation” (Luke 3:4,6, emphasis added).

              God speaking in other cultures such as the Jewish, Hindu, and Chinese is exactly what we would expect if God wants salvation for all people.

              And, yet again, you are attempting to use strident rhetoric (“you have gone off the deep end”) as a substitute for a logically coherent argument. No intelligent third-party viewer of this discussion will be fooled by this.


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                gary says:

                Scott,

                You come across to me as a very good, very good-hearted, very sincere man. But think about this: the only reason you are able to get away in 2014 with publically proclaiming that God (the Christian god) has spoken prophecies through Hindu and Chinese non-Christians, in their non-Christian holy books, is ONLY because atheists, deists, and liberal, non-literalist Christians have forced your version of Christianity out of the seats of power and onto the sidelines of polite society.

                From shortly after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to approximately 300 years ago, your beliefs would have gotten you killed. And not by pagans, deists, atheists, and liberals, but by your own conservative/orthodox Christian brethren. Conservative/orthodox Christianity is an EVIL belief system, Scott. It has caused MILLIONS of people over the last 1700-2000 years to suffer terrible discrimination, barbaric torture, and brutal painful deaths. The civil liberties we enjoy today in western societies is not due to your version of Christianity, it is IN SPITE of it. Please see the evil in what you believe, Scott, and abandon it for the real Truth.


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                  Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                  Gary,

                  You are definitely trying the shotgun approach (high quantity to compensate for lack of quality). This is another red-herring (diversionary) argument. By YET AGAIN ignoring the following points, you have tacitly acknowledged that your stance cannot withstand debate:

                  Please, YET AGAIN, recall that I called you out on:

                  1) Suggesting that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is referring to the nation of Israel even though this is patently absurd. If this is the case, then the nation of Israel:

                  a) is a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

                  b) was assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

                  c) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

                  d) is numbered with the transgressors.
                  For he bore the sin of many,
                  and made intercession for the transgressors (as in verse 12)

                  etc, etc…

                  2) Asserting that the Hindu scriptures MUST have been altered because of their clear references to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is the logical fallacy of assuming what you intend to prove. You provide no evidence of this assertion, but merely assume that it is true since it is what fits with your worldview.

                  3) IGNORING my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents that date right to the time of Christ’s crucifixion. I believe this is the FOURTH time I have called you out on this one.

                  Until you rationally and coherently respond to the above points, we have no choice but to assume that you have tacitly acknowledged that you cannot explain them.

                  Trying to change the subject to allegations about Christianity causing death and suffering is a very transparent attempt at a diversionary (red-herring) argument. All intelligent third-party viewers of this discussion can plainly see how you ignore (and then try to divert attention from) points that cannot be coherently explained from within the framework of your worldview.

                  But since you brought up allegations that Christianity has caused death and suffering, I will respond by noting that I wrote an essay about this allegation titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing? (Click on the preceding link to read it).

                  A few important excerpts:

                  Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                  “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                  “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                  “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                  Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                  “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                  (Please see this article for more detail).

                  And history provides no better example of violence legitimized for “secular” reasons than the violence committed by atheistic communism (although many scholars believe that Marxist communism fits the definition of a “religion”). In 1920, Vladimir Lenin (the key founder of the Soviet Union) stated:

                  “We repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war. Everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat.”

                  Lenin also said,

                  “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.”

                  Adopting a “religious” faith in no way guarantees that someone will become a moral person. Just as going to the hospital does not guarantee that someone will recover from an illness, adopting “religious” beliefs that promote peace and love will not guarantee that a person will become peaceful and loving. But if a person kills in the name of a religion with a text that clearly says, “Thou shalt not kill,” that person is clearly perverting that religion. This is entirely consistent with the biblical concept of humankind’s “fallen nature.”

                  With political systems that embrace atheism or concepts of human dignity that are rooted in atheism, no such perversion is necessary. Communism is a political system that officially embraces the atheist worldview. It is telling that the number of people who have been killed by atheistic communism is estimated to run as high as 110 million (sources: Death by Government by political science professor R.J. Rummel and The Black Book of Communism).

                  Nazism was not officially atheist, but it was staunchly anti-religious and similar to communism in the respect that it adopted concepts of human dignity that are rooted in atheist philosophy. I recommend From Darwin to Hitler by professor of modern European history Richard Weikart, to explore this subject further.

                  When it comes to the connection between atheism and unrestrained killing, mathematician David Berlinski hits the nail on the head in his book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and It’s Scientific Pretensions:

                  Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a [Nazi] SS officer watched languidly, his machine gun cradled, as an elderly and bearded Hasidic Jew laboriously dug what he knew to be his grave. Standing up straight, he addressed his executioner. “God is watching what you are doing,” he said. And then he was shot dead. What Hitler did not believe, and what Stalin did not believe, and what Mao did not believe, and what the SS did not believe, and what the Gestapo did not believe, and what the NKVD did not believe, and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Blackshirts, Gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe, was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.


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                    Gary says:

                    Good morning, Scott.

                    I have a challenge for you. Find five non-atheist, non-Christian, non-biased people to review our comments and post their opinion of our comments here on your blog. I will bet that most if not all will find that not only have I answered your questions, I have proved your position wrong.

                    It would be a very interesting discussion. I hope you are willing to accept my challenge.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      Your challenge is very, very strange. You assert that you have proved my position wrong despite the fact that you have repeatedly (and very conveniently) IGNORED my arguments. How can one possibly prove a position wrong by ignoring it? This boggles the imagination.

                      Because I have noticed a tendency among atheists to frequently ignore questions which they cannot coherently answer from within the framework of their worldview, I have found it useful to keep a counter of the number of times that an atheist ignores an argument:

                      THE COUNTER IS NOW ON FOUR (4) REGARDING THE FOLLOWING:

                      Please, YET AGAIN, recall that I called you out on:

                      1) Suggesting that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is referring to the nation of Israel even though this is patently absurd. If this is the case, then the nation of Israel:

                      a) is a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

                      b) was assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

                      c) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

                      d) is numbered with the transgressors.
                      For he bore the sin of many,
                      and made intercession for the transgressors (as in verse 12)

                      etc, etc…

                      2) Asserting that the Hindu scriptures MUST have been altered because of their clear references to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is the logical fallacy of assuming what you intend to prove. You provide no evidence of this assertion, but merely assume that it is true since it is what fits with your worldview.

                      3) IGNORING my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents that date right to the time of Christ’s crucifixion.

                      PLEASE PLEASE RESPOND to the above rather than yet again ignoring facts which you cannot coherently respond to from within the framework of your atheist worldview.


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                      gary says:

                      Dear Scott,

                      This is your blog. You make the rules here. I believe I have answered your questions. You believe that I have not. I again challenge you to find five non-biased persons to evaluate our conversation and give us their opinions.

                      We could go on and on about many different points of contention regarding your supernatural belief system and my agnostic/atheistic views. But there is one fundamental issue that, for me, needs no further evidence to convince me that I want nothing to do with the Christian religion or its god.

                      Your religion and your god condone Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide. I want nothing to do with any entity or organization that justifies, endorses, and even participates in the mass killing of men, women, and children.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      I can see that you are disenchanted with Christianity. However, I must suggest that your antagonism towards Christianity is based upon something deeper than you are letting on.

                      Logical arguments are based on logic, not upon votes from “non-biased persons” (as if such persons actually exist). Your “challenge” is another diversionary tactic which you use to avoid questions which you cannot coherently answer because of the flaws in your worldview. The only way to respond to a logical argument is with logic of your own, not with a “challenge” to get votes from people.

                      You say that you have answered my arguments. If you replied to my following points that I called you out on, please copy and paste or summarize your replies:

                      1) You suggested that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah (written 700 years before Jesus’ birth) is referring to the nation of Israel even though this is patently absurd. If this is the case, then the nation of Israel:

                      a) is a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

                      b) was assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

                      c) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

                      d) is “numbered with the transgressors.
                      For he bore the sin of many,
                      and made intercession for the transgressors” (as in verse 12)

                      etc, etc…

                      2) You asserted that the Hindu scriptures MUST have been altered because of their clear references to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is the logical fallacy of assuming what you intend to prove. You provide no evidence of this assertion, but merely assume that it is true since it is what fits with your worldview.

                      3) You have repeatedly IGNORED my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents that date right to the time of Christ’s crucifixion, as detailed in Finding God In Ancient China: How the Ancient Chinese Worshiped the God of the Bible by Chinese Christian Chan Kei Thong…which I feature in my essay titled Which God is Real?

                      You suggest that Christianity condones ethnic cleansing and genocide, yet you provide no scholarly citation (from an historian) to back up your claims. Do you think that you can make a logical argument based upon such bald assertions? This is the logical fallacy known as Ipse Dixit. Click here to read a Wikipedia post about this logical fallacy. An excerpt:

                      Ipse Dixit, Latin for “He, himself, said it,” is a term used to identify and describe a sort of arbitrary dogmatic statement which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid.

                      The fallacy of defending a proposition by baldly asserting that it is “just how it is” distorts the argument by opting out of it entirely: the claimant declares an issue to be intrinsic, and not changeable.

                      Further, you have IGNORED my points about how atheist philosophy was a necessary component of the worst mass-killings in history (nazi and communist). I cited the California State University Professor of History Richard Weikart (from his book From Darwin to Hitler). You have chosen to ignore these arguments rather than respond to them.

                      Lastly, I asked you to provide a causal link between Christianity and mass-killings. You have IGNORED this question as well…once again because you cannot furnish a logically coherent answer. I cited the problems with saying that “religion” causes killing (in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?). Please recall my citation of the religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh from his book The Myth of Religious Violence. Yet again, you have IGNORED my arguments and, instead, have chosen the Ipse Dixit option of baldly asserting that Christianity condones genocide and ethnic cleansing.

                      As Weikart notes in his book, the causal link between atheism and mass-killing is clear. A copy and paste from my essay:

                      In a nutshell, because atheism denies the existence of any “supernatural” (or transcendent) reality, it also, by extension, denies that humans have any transcendent value. This severely devalued concept of human life is what allowed the communists to justify their historically unprecedented killing spree.

                      The Nazis killed anyone and everyone who they did not feel was worthy to pass on their genes. It seemed to them perfectly justifiable to kill any “survival machines” with what they perceived to be “undesirable” genes. As Weikart points out, the racist Nazi rationalization for killing comes straight from Darwin. In The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

                      “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, the sick;….Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”

                      At another point in The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:

                      “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

                      And exterminating everyone perceived to be “savage” or unworthy of passing on their genes is exactly what the Nazis tried to do. It is not, then, difficult to see why Weikart was justified in saying that:

                      “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism…neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”

                      This can be seen in the statements made by Hitler which betrayed his Darwinist views. Hitler once said:

                      “The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing for the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”


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                      gary says:

                      Your ancient, middle-eastern god is a blood-thirsty, psychopathic butcher of children. In his mad, fits of rage, he has slaughtered toddlers and infants by the millions, leaving behind their hacked to pieces little arms, legs, and bodies to be picked apart by the vultures. And this same mad Deity demands that every human being left alive from his slaughters, bow before him, repent of THEIR petty misdeeds, and call him our “Loving Heavenly Father”.

                      Bullshit.

                      If he exists, other than in your imagination, he is one sick Son of a Bitch, and I want nothing to do with him. The character of your god is all I need to denounce your religion as barbaric and pure Evil.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      Wow. That is a lot of angry rhetoric. What do you really think you have achieved with this…other than a tacit acknowledgement that your stance cannot withstand debate? Please recall, once again, that logical arguments consist of logic, and not rhetoric.

                      Your retreat into angry rhetoric amounts to a withdrawal from rational discourse, and therefore a tacit acknowledgement that your arguments have run out of steam.

                      Further, your angry rhetoric betrays the ideological (as opposed to logical) basis for your apparently atheist views.


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                      gary says:

                      Let me turn the tables on you, Scott:

                      You are teleported this very moment to Northern Iraq where a Muslim ISIS commander is preparing to behead a village of Iraqi Christians. After reading from the Koran (passages which condone the slaughter of “infidels”—with the blessings of Allah) the commander and his soldiers behead elderly grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers, mothers, pregnant young women, teenagers, children, and babies. The town square is littered with bodies, old and young, and the ground is soaked in blood.

                      The ISIS commander then turns to you and asks for your opinion regarding what he has just done.

                      With tears in your eyes, you stare him in the face and say, “You are a psychopathic monster! Your religion and your god are sick!”

                      The ISIS commander smiles and calmly responds, “Your reaction proves your intense anger and rebellion against Allah.”


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      I am confused as to where you are going with regards to this comment. I am not a Muslim.

                      Where are you going with this? Can you elaborate? Explain?


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                      gary says:

                      Scott,

                      I believe you are misusing the Laws of Logic. I am having a discussion on this topic with a Southern Baptist pastor on my blog. If you are interested, please join us.

                      Blog: lutherwasnotbornagain
                      post: Using the Laws of Logic to examine the claim that God is the Source of Morality.
                      date: November 29, 2014


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      I am misusing the laws of logic by insisting that you respond to my arguments, rather than ignoring them and creating diversionary arguments?!

                      I am misusing the laws of logic by insisting that you provide a scholarly citation (form an historian from an accredited university) to back up your claims that Christianity causes genocide?!

                      I am going to make YET ANOTHER attempt to get you respond to the following.

                      THE COUNTER IS ON FIVE (5) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT YOU HAVE IGNORED THE FOLLOWING POINTS that I called you out on:

                      1) You suggested that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah (written 700 years before Jesus’ birth) is referring to the nation of Israel even though this is patently absurd. If this is the case, then the nation of Israel:

                      a) is a man of suffering (as in verse 3)

                      b) was assigned a grave with the wicked (as in verse 5)

                      c) died as “an offering for sin” (as in verse 10)

                      d) is “numbered with the transgressors.
                      For he bore the sin of many,
                      and made intercession for the transgressors” (as in verse 12)

                      etc, etc…

                      2) You asserted that the Hindu scriptures MUST have been altered because of their clear references to Jesus’ crucifixion. This is the logical fallacy of assuming what you intend to prove. You provide no evidence of this assertion, but merely assume that it is true since it is what fits with your worldview. Further, why would the Hindus alter their scriptures to resemble the Bible? This is a very suspicious claim.

                      3) You have repeatedly IGNORED my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents that date right to the time of Christ’s crucifixion, as detailed in Finding God In Ancient China: How the Ancient Chinese Worshiped the God of the Bible by Chinese Christian Chan Kei Thong…which I feature in my essay titled Which God is Real?

                      Gary, time commitments prevent me from joining your discussion. If you want to post an argument at this website regarding allegations that I have violated laws of logic, please feel free to do so.


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                      gary says:

                      I hope that I have presented enough evidence for you, Scott, to see clearly that Christians have engaged in many, many genocides over the last 2,000 years. The Christian genocides make the genocides committed by the Israelites seem like water pistol fights.

                      The blood of millions, if not billions, drips from Christian hands.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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                      gary says:

                      Genocides committed by Christians in the English colonies and the later United States of America:

                      Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of Amerikkka.

                      • Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: “Their Warres are farre less bloudy…”, so that there usually was “no great slawter of nether side”. Indeed, “they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children. [SH111]

                      • In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown – “being idell … did runne away unto the Indyans,” – to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).
                      “Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: ‘Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe’.” [SH105] Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow englishmen: “This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia” methods were different: “when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community” down. [SH105]

                      • On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the “Peqout War”. The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.

                      • When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief’s pledge they attacked.
                      Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.
                      The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: “And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished … God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies”: men, women, children. [SH113-114]

                      • So “the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”. [SH111].

                      • Because of his readers’ assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
                      “Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” (Deut 20)

                      • Mason’s comrade Underhill recalled how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers” yet reassured his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”. [SH114]

                      • Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists’ own words: “blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them.” (This was inspired by spanish methods of the time)
                      In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near. [SH107-119]

                      • The surviving handful of Indians “were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for ‘a share’ of the captives, specifically ‘a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.” [SH115]

                      • Other tribes were to follow the same path.

                      • Comment the Christian exterminators: “God’s Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!”
                      “Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!” [TA]

                      • Like today, lying was OK to Christians then. “Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians ‘grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie’, advised the Council of State in Virginia, ‘we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne’.” [SH106]

                      • In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. [SH107]

                      • In a single massacre in “King Philip’s War” of 1675 and 1676 some “600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a ‘barbeque’.” [SH115]

                      • To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive – a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 – 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 – 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive – 81% destroyed. [SH118] These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.

                      • All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.

                      • A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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                      gary says:

                      Christian genocides against the native people of the New World:

                      On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

                      I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.” [SH66]

                      • Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.” [SH235]

                      • In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” [SH109,238]

                      • On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]

                      • The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.

                      • As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.” [SH69]

                      • The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]

                      • What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
                      “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” [SH72]
                      Or, on another occasion:
                      “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” [SH83]

                      • The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”. [SH72-73] “In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.” [SH75]

                      • “And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.” [SH75]

                      • Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).

                      • “When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.” [SH95


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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                      0
                      gary says:

                      Christian genocides against Jews:

                      • Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.

                      • In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]

                      • 17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]

                      • The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]

                      • First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]

                      • Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]

                      • Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]

                      • Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]

                      • 1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]

                      • 1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]

                      • 1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]

                      • 1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]

                      • 1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]

                      • 1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]

                      • 1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.

                      • 1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]

                      • 1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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                      gary says:

                      Genocide at Jerusalem at the hands of the followers of Jesus Christ (Christians)during the Crusades:

                      The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79]

                      • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”. One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]

                      • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. [WW45]


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                      gary says:

                      Genocides of the Christian Crusades (cont’d):

                      Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
                      (In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”)


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                      gary says:

                      Christian genocide against the Turk in the Crusades:

                      after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
                      Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy’s] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]


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                      gary says:

                      16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
                      Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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                      gary says:

                      Dear Scott,

                      If after listing the bloody history of your religion, beginning in 325 AD down to the genocide of native Americans, and instead of seeing a problem, you continue to try and argue silly philosophical fineries, I am left to believe that you are so hopelessly brainwashed that it is impossible to break through to you and rescue you from your delusions.

                      I hope someday you will see that it is not “loving, compassionate religions” that cause all the blood shed, it is the superstitious, ignorant belief that invisible deities in the sky exist, and that holy books written in the name of these deities must be obeyed without question.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      It is really quite simple: You can either furnish a logically constructed rebuttal to the arguments I have presented, or you cannot.

                      Merely characterizing the arguments of the religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh as “silly philosophical fineries,” in no way constitutes a logically constructed rebuttal. This is yet another example of how you try to substitute rhetoric in the place of a logical argument.

                      Your use of strident rhetorical terms such as “silly philosophical fineries” and “superstitious, ignorant belief that invisible deities in the sky exist,” is YET ANOTHER example of how you have retreated from rational discourse. Logical arguments consist of logic, not rhetoric.

                      Because the use of such rhetoric amounts to a withdrawal from rational discourse, you have YET AGAIN tacitly acknowledged that your stance cannot withstand logical scrutiny.

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON FOUR (4) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?


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                      gary says:

                      It is impossible to have a rational discussion with the irrational, Scott. That is what you fail to see, my friend.

                      I might as well debate a witch doctor, Medium, or Tarot Card Reader. Their belief system and my belief system have no common ground upon which to start a debate.

                      For you and I to have a rational debate, one of us must give up the foundational premise of our belief system: either I must give up my insistence that all historical claims must conform to the Laws of Science and Logic or you must give up your appeal to an “inerrant, supernaturally inspired, ancient, middle-eastern holy book” as the foundation and source of all Truth.

                      It is like an abortionist and Pro-Life advocate debating the value of the life of a fetus. Unless they both can agree that a fetus is a human being, and therefore entitled to the same rights and privileges that every other human being has a right to enjoy, the debate can never be productive.

                      You must abandon Biblical Inerrancy before I can debate you and hope for any substantive discussion.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      There you go again, Gary. You are again trying to substitute rhetoric in the place where a logical argument belongs.

                      What do you really think that you are accomplishing with all of this rhetoric in lieu of logical arguments? All that you are doing is advertising for all to see that your atheism is ideologically based, rather than logically based.

                      I asked you for a rebuttal to the points I made in Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing? But instead of responding, you ignore the arguments I present and resort to rhetorical outbursts (“witch doctor”, etc.).

                      The above mentioned essay (and my citation of the religious scholar William Cavanaugh) has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible or with biblical inerrancy. Therefore, your reference to biblical inerrancy is yet another red-herring (diversionary argument). You can either respond to the logical arguments he presents or you cannot. Judging from your evasive use of rhetoric (instead of a reply to his arguments), it is readily apparent that you cannot.

                      Who do you think you are going to convince with all of this rhetoric and all of these evasion tactics?

                      Don’t you think that third party viewers of this discussion will notice when you repeatedly ignore my logical arguments and instead respond with rhetoric? Don’t you think that third party viewers of this discussion will notice when you ignore my request to provide scholarly citations to support your accusatory claims against Christians?


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                      gary says:

                      God’s Gonna Getcha for that, that, and that…but not for Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing

                      But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2 with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us[a] but to God!” 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. 6 The young men came and wrapped up his body,[b] then carried him out and buried him.

                      7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things. Acts 5:1-11

                      Millions of human beings have been slaughtered by the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth over the last 2,000 years: pagans, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Indigenous Peoples, and other Christians. During the Crusades the streets of the city of Jerusalem flowed ankle deep with the blood of Muslim and Jewish men, women, and children. Tens of thousands of Jews were periodically and routinely slaughtered in European cities, triggered by the anti-Semitic diatribes of priests and pastors. One third of the population of Germany was wiped out during the Thirty Years War, all in the name of Jesus Christ, from both sides. Millions of Indigenous peoples were brutally forced to convert to the “True Faith” or die horrific deaths by “men of God”, the inheritors of the powers of the Office of the Keys, given to them by Jesus himself moments before his Ascension into Heaven

                      Now, I have a question for you, Scott: Just where was the Holy Spirit during this 2,000 year Blood Bath? Why don’t we read accounts of entire Christian armies being struck dead on their horses by the Christian God due to their intent to slaughter thousands of non-combatant men, women and children? Why don’t we read of officials of the Inquisition being struck down by the Christian God as they attempt to light the kindling at the bottom of a stake to which is bound a terrified Jewish man or woman?

                      Dear Scott and fellow orthodox/conservative Christians, are you really going to have the gall, the audacity, to once again recite to me the idiotic statement, “God’s ways are not our ways”…when your all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God has allowed millions if not billions of human beings to suffer excruciating deaths for nothing more than thought crimes…but…will not hesitate for a second to strike down deader than a door nail, any Christian who holds back on this year’s Tithing Pledge???

                      If there is any proof that your Religion is an invention of men, and not of a god, this is it!


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      You AGAIN commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. You seem to think your allegation that, “millions of human beings have been slaughtered by the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth over the last 2,000 years” will become true if you just repeat it often enough.

                      I asked you for a citation from an historian from an accredited university to back up your claim, but you will not…because you CANNOT, because your allegations are false and ridiculous.

                      You keep making these allegations over and over again while simultaneously refusing to respond to the logical arguments presented by the religious scholar William T. Cavanagh, as presented in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing? which respond to your forcefully repeated allegations.

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON FIVE (5) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?

                      Who do you think you are fooling by merely repeating your allegations while simultaneously refusing to respond to logical constructed rebuttal to your allegations which I furnished?!?!?


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                      gary says:

                      Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      By providing this list of alleged Christian crimes, you have committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I asked you tell me what you think is the causal link between Christianity and mass-killing. But instead of answering, you just forcefully repeat your assertion that Christianity causes killing. Without such a causal link, what reason do we have to think that it was Christianity that caused these killings, and not politics?

                      Please recall that merely expressing adherence to a religion which encourages love, peace, and forgiveness does not guarantee that one will become loving, peaceful, and forgiving. Does becoming a member of alcoholics anonymous guarantee that one will become sober?

                      I told you what I think is the causal link between atheism and the mass-killing of the Communists and Nazis: A severely degraded concept of human dignity which declares that humans are nothing but glorified monkeys or “survival machines,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins.

                      NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL IS THE CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND KILLING!!

                      You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Doesn’t Religion Cause Killing?

                      The COUNTER IS NOW ON THREE (3) FOR THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO THE POINTS I MADE IN “DOESN’T RELIGION CAUSE KILLING?”

                      A copy and paste from this essay:

                      Religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”

                      Please click HERE to read an article that elaborates on Cavanaugh’s points.

                      Some excerpts:

                      Exposing the myth of religious violence means something else: the careful demolition of the variously argued idea that in ostensible contrast to rational, modern, secular ideologies, there is something distinctively disruptive, divisive, and dangerous about religion that makes it, across historical epochs and cultures and peoples, inherently prone to irrational, intractable violence. Because of this, the argument goes, religion must be resolutely corralled and controlled by the benign secularism of the liberal state, if necessary by justifiable, pacifying violence of the state’s own.

                      Cavanaugh rightly sees that, for this argument to work, there must be something identifiable about “religion” that makes it susceptible to violence and sets it apart from secular ideologies and commitments. But those who make this argument have offered no account of religion that can sustain the argument. Ignoring much scholarship about the historical and cultural variability of the concept of religion itself, they argue as if the differences are apparent. Hence they offer, in the guise of description and analysis, the myth of religious violence: the powerful and pervasive perpetuation of the false notion that because it is especially liable to violence, religion merits special attention by a secular state whose legitimacy is reaffirmed every time it performs its policing function, thereby reinforcing the myth and deflecting attention away from its own violence.

                      But didn’t the “wars of religion” in the Reformation era show beyond any doubt that religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational and therefore prone to violence? And, as a result, wasn’t the modern liberal state created and construed as a secular, privatizing, and individualizing religion in order to tame it?

                      This “creation myth of the wars of religion” Cavanaugh dismantles thoroughly. He rightly directs his analysis especially against contemporary liberal political theorists and legal scholars who construe the creation of the secular state as the creation of a peacemaking savior from the religious unrest of early modern Europe. The contemporary liberals’ story simply echoes the story’s self-serving creators, from Hobbes and Spinoza through Voltaire and Rousseau.

                      Against this narrative Cavanaugh marshals a wide range of evidence from historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that hopelessly complicates any construal of major European conflicts from the Schmalkaldic War (1546“1547) through the Thirty Years War (1618“1648) as “wars of religion.” More fundamentally, he correctly notes the inseparability of religion from politics and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hence, one cannot, for example, say that a Catholic Eucharistic procession was religious rather than political or social unless one applies, anachronistically, a conception of religion that itself arose only as a rejection of the human realities it sought to refashion.

                      Cavanaugh argues that the consolidating and centralizing violence that accompanied the early formation of what would become modern states preceded the Reformation and thus cannot be disentangled from the “religious” violence of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What happened in early modern Europe was not a separation of dangerously irrational religion from commendably rational and secular politics, but rather “the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church” and thus (in historian John Bossy’s phrase) “a migration of the holy from church to state in the establishment of the ideal of dying and killing for one’s country.” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .

                      Despite its conceptual incoherence and reliance on a self-serving creation myth, “the myth of religious violence has proven to be an extraordinarily pervasive story in Western culture” precisely because, as Cavanaugh says, “it is so useful.” Cavanaugh concludes his book by considering three of the myth’s recent and continuing principal uses: the justification of Supreme Court decisions since the 1940s that promote secular individualism and suppress public expressions of religion; the construction of sharp distinctions between “the West and the rest” in a “clash of civilizations” that eschews historical analysis of Western “Muslim relations in favor of blanket allegations of Islamic religious fanaticism; and the distinction between objectionable, irrational, “religious” violence and rational, justifiable, “secular” violence by the United States. In the case of the last, what is considered legitimate violence evades the scrutiny applied to “religious” violence. As Cavanaugh describes it: “We must share the blessings of secularism with them. If they are not sufficiently rational to be open to persuasion, we must regrettably bomb them into the higher rationality.”

                      In place of the myth of religious violence, Cavanaugh suggests leveling the playing field: Both secularist liberalism and religious traditions should be placed within the same analytical framework when it comes to answering without prejudice a straightforwardly functionalist question: “Do certain ideologies and practices have more of a tendency to produce violence than others?” In this endeavor, “the distinction between secular and religious violence is unhelpful, misleading, and mystifying, and it should be avoided altogether.”


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              gary says:

              This is EXACTLY the problem with Christianity. At least Mohammad and Joseph Smith wrote their teachings down themselves. Jesus didn’t do this. And because he did not do this, we have over 30,000 Christian denominations and sects today. Oops. I mean, 30,001 Christian denominations and sects. I forgot to include yours.


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                Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                We have different Christian denominations because Jesus didn’t write down his teachings? This is a very strange argument and complete non-sequitur.

                We have different Christian denominations because different people prefer to worship God in different ways. An excellent book that addresses this topic is titled Sacred Pathways.


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                  gary says:

                  Scott,

                  The differences between Christian denominations is not over whether to use an organ or a praise band. Millions of people have died waging war on fellow Christians over such issues as whether or not one pastor in Rome has the power to tell everyone in Christendom what they can or cannot THINK! And other ridiculous issues such as whether or not the real body and blood of an invisible half man/half god resides inside your communion wafer. How on earth can any Christian believe in a “Holy Ghost” whose job it is to convict us of sin and error, with all this blood-letting over not one or two years but over 2,000 years! Protestants and Catholics are still killing each other in some places in the world.

                  There are so many Christian denominations because the Holy Ghost does not exist, nor God the Father, nor the eternal King of the Universe Jesus Christ.

                  It is one big fable, Scott. You believe and Jesus believed it. You both may be very good, kind, generous human beings…but you are both very, very wrong. It is only superstition. There are no invisible ghosts in the sky or in your heart, or circling your head, trying to pierce your skull to control your brain.


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                    Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                    Gary,

                    Please cite for me an historian from an accredited university who will claim that “millions of people have died waging war on fellow Christians,” as you put it.

                    Hint: You will not be able to do it because you are inventing your own history.

                    Someone once said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is NOT entitled to their own facts.”

                    Regarding my allegation that (officially) atheist communism was responsible for as many as 110 million deaths, I cite the following:

                    Death by Government by political science professor R.J. Rummel and The Black Book of Communism by historians Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Margolin, Karel Bartosek, and Stéphane Courtois.

                    Regarding my allegation that atheist philosophy was necessary for that Nazis to rationalize the holocaust, I cite From Darwin to Hitler by California State University Professor of History Richard Weikart.


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                      Gary says:

                      The fact that you would even suggest that Christians have not killed each other by the millions suggest that you have a very narrow definition of Christian. My definition of Christian is any member of a Trinitarian Christian denomination or one who holds the same views as these denominations.

                      One third of the population of Germany was killed in the thirty years war, a war between Catholics and Protestants, originally started over religion. Here is the actual casualty count:

                      3,000,000–11,500,000 dead – Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648)

                      Now if your definition of Christian is limited to one who has prayed the Sinner’s Prayer or a version thereof in a Born Again experience, then the numbers are probably pretty low. The reason the numbers would be low is because this segment of Christianity has never held any real political power until the last few decades.


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                      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

                      Gary,

                      Please click here to read an article about the causes of the Thirty Years War. An excerpt:

                      “While related to other European conflicts, the Thirty Years War was primarily a struggle over the political and religious order within the Empire. It was neither inevitable, nor the result of irreconcilable religious antagonism. Rather, it stemmed from a coincidence of tension within the Empire with a political and dynastic crisis within the Habsburg monarchy that undermined confidence in the emperor’s ability to resolve long-standing constitutional problems.”

                      Once again, you ignore my arguments rather than responding to them. I previously cited the religious scholar William T. Cavanaugh about the problems with saying that a “religion” has caused violence. You have very conveniently failed to respond, so I will just copy and paste my previous citation of Cavanaugh:

                      Cavanaugh writes in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

                      “What would be necessary to prove the claim that religion has caused more violence than any other institutional force over the course of human history? One would first need a concept of religion that would be at least theoretically separable from other institutional forces over the course of human history. …The problem is that there was no category of religion separable from such political institutions until the modern era, and then it was primarily in the West. What meaning could we give to either the claim that Roman religion is to blame for the imperialist violence of ancient Rome, or the claim that it is Roman politics and not Roman religion that is to blame? Either claim would be nonsensical, because there was no neat division between religion and politics.”

                      “It is not simply that religion and politics were jumbled together until the modern West got them properly sorted out. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed in his landmark book, The Meaning and End of Religion, religion as a discrete category of human activity separable from culture, politics, and other areas of life is an invention of the modern West.”

                      “…The first conclusion is that there is no trans-historical or trans-cultural concept of religion. Religion has a history, and what counts as religion and what does not in any given context depends on different configurations of power and authority. The second conclusion is that the attempt to say that there is a trans-historical and trans-cultural concept of religion that is separable from secular phenomena is itself part of a particular configuration of power, that of the modern, liberal nation-state as it is developed in the West.”

                      Thus, it is impossible to establish which conflicts were caused by “religion” and which conflicts were caused by “politics” or “culture” because such categories have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are human inventions. Cavanaugh continues:

                      “At first glance, this may seem like an academic exercise in quibbling over definitions, but much more is at stake. The religious-secular dichotomy in the arguments sanctions the condemnation of certain kinds of violence and the overlooking of other kinds of violence. …The myth of religious violence is so prevalent because, while it delegitimates certain kinds of violence, it is used to legitimate other kinds of violence, namely, violence done in the name of secular, Western ideals. The argument that religion causes violence sanctions a dichotomy between, on the one hand, non-Western, especially Muslim, forms of culture, which—having not yet learned to privatize matters of faith—are absolutist, divisive, irrational, and Western culture on the other, which is modest in its claims to truth, unitive and rational.”


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    gary says:

    Did you know that not only do the divine Hindu scriptures prophecy about Jesus…they also prophecy about the Great Prophet, Mohammad!! Wow! Both Christianity and Islam must be the one…er, uh…the two… true religions!

    Read the amazing prophecies here:

    Copyright © 1999 by M. N. Anderson.
    The material of this article is taken from chapter 2 of my forthcoming book: “Jesus 2000 years after Jesus”.

    Dr. Z. Haq claimed that the name of Mohammad appears in the Hindu scriptures which are believed to have been written at least four thousand years ago.

    Dr. Z. Haq claims that the word Mahamad appears in the Puranas, Mamah in Kuntap Sukt (in Atharva Veda) and Ahmad in Sama Veda… Among the eighteen volumes of the Puranas is one by the title ‘Bhavishya Puran,’ literally meaning future events. The Hindus regard it as the Word of God. The prophecy containing Prophet Muhammad by name is found in Prati Sarg Parv III: 3, 3, Verse 5.
    The translation of Verses 5-27 (Sanskrit text of the Puranas, Prati Sarg Parv III: 3, 3) is presented below from the work of Dr. Vidyarthi.

    “A malechha (belonging to a foreign country and speaking foreign language) spiritual teacher will appear with his companions. His name will be Mahamad. Raja (Bhoj) after giving this Mahadev Arab (of angelic disposition) a bath in the ‘Panchgavya’ and the Ganges water, (i.e. purging him of all sins) offered him the presents of his sincere devotion and showing him all reverence said, ‘I make obeisance to thee.’ ‘O Ye! the pride of mankind, the dweller in Arabia, Ye have collected a great force to kill the Devil and you yourself have been protected from the malechha opponents (idol worshipers, pagans).’ ‘O Ye! the image of the Most Pious God the biggest Lord, I am a slave to thee, take me as one lying on thy feet.’

    “The Malechhas have spoiled the well-known land of the Arabs. Arya Dharma is not to be found in that country. Before also there appeared a misguided fiend whom I had killed [note: e.g., Abraha Al-Ashram, the Abyssinian viceroy of Yemen, who attacked Mecca]; he has now again appeared being sent by a powerful enemy. To show these enemies the right path and to give them guidance the well-known Mahamad (Mohammad), who has been given by me the epithet of Brahma is busy in bringing the Pishachas to the right path. O Raja! You need not go to the land of the foolish Pishachas, you will be purified through my kindness even where you are. At night, he of the angelic disposition, the shrewd man, in the guise of a Pishacha said to Raja Bhoj, “O Raja! Your Arya Dharma has been made to prevail over all religions, but according to the commandments of ‘Ashwar Parmatma (God, Supreme Spirit), I shall enforce the strong creed of the meat-eaters. My follower will be a man circumcised, without a tail (on his head), keeping beard, creating a revolution, announcing call for prayer and will be eating all lawful things. He will eat all sorts of animals except swine. They will not seek purification from the holy shrubs, but will be purified through warfare. Because of their fighting the irreligious nations, they will be known as Musalmans (Muslims). I shall be the originator of this religion of the meat-eating nation.”

    Dr Haq also added:
    The Sama Veda contains many prophecies of the advent of Prophet Mohammad.
    Here, one of them is presented. It is found in Sama Veda, II:6,8:

    “Ahmad acquired religious law (Shariah) from his Lord. This religious law is full of wisdom. I receive light from him just as from the sun.”
    http://www.erols.com/zenithco/prophhs.html#mahamad


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      Your mention of alleged references to Mohammad in the Hindu scriptures constitutes a logical fallacy. Specifically, this diversionary tactic is known as a “red-herring” argument. A copy and paste from this post about Red Herring Arguments:

      A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

      Topic A is under discussion.
      Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
      Topic A is abandoned.

      This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim.

      If you want to debunk claims that Jesus is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, then you must respond to those claims. Introducing alleged mentions of Mohammad in the Hindu scriptures constitutes a Red Herring because this is an entirely different and unrelated claim.

      Put another way, you are transparently trying to divert attention from the argument that I presented, rather than respond to it. The diversionary nature of your replies shows that you are trying to EVADE my arguments rather than respond to them.


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        gary says:

        Thank you for pointing out my errors, now I hope you will be so kind as to allow me to point out yours: ASSUMPTIONS! Lots, and lots of assumptions in your supernatural belief system.

        To the topic at hand, here is your assumption: The Hindu Scriptures were written 4,000 years ago, therefore if they pronounce amazing similarities to Jesus and the Bible it must be that Yahweh (the Christian god) placed these prophecies in the Hindu Scriptures to point Hindus to the one, true God: Jesus of Nazareth. You have built an amazing hypothesis upon this assumption, but how do you know that the Hindu Scriptures have been modified since the time of Jesus to incorporate Jesus’ teachings and characteristics into this “ancient” writing to look as if the gods of the Hindus can prophecy about the prophets of other religions, such as Jesus and Mohammad? Please provide proof that the Hindu Scriptures in their entirety were written 4,000 years ago and no “scribe embellishents/additions” have occurred. The Bible has its scribe additions (the Johannine Commae as just one example) so why not the Hindu Scriptures?

        Here is the next section of the above article, now talking about the “amazing” prophecies about Jesus in the Hindu Scriptures:

        Dr. Haq’s claims will stand or fall on the reliability of these Hindu Scriptures.

        Let us now look at similar quotations which some think are prophecies about Christ in the same Hindu Scriptures:

        In his book Divine Harmony, Christ in the Holy books of the East Arvindaksha Menon introduces Bhavishya Purana in the following words:

        “Vishnupurana” written depicting the core meanings of Vedas and the scientific principles, in narrative fiction was the first among mythologies to appear in book form. It was written by sage Parashara. Later his son Vedavyasa wrote eighteen mythologies idolizing his father’s original creation. It may be calculated these mythologies came to light 5100 years ago if one goes by the period Vedavyasa lived.
        … The word ‘Bhavishya’ means future. Hence Bhavishya Purana (futuristic mythology) denotes to the things that could happen in the future, visualized by powerful meditation.
        Mr. Menon goes on to quote the following:

        In his epic, the 28th verse, 4th chapter, 1st part in the book
        ‘Prathisargaparvam’ says like this: –
        “Indriyani damithwa

        Yehyaathmadhyaana parayana:

        Thasmad Aadama naamaasou

        Pathnee Havyavathee smritha”

        “Adaman and his wife havyavathy are born with all the virtues, complete control of the senses and the spiritual forbearance of the mind. God creates a captivating paradise and gifts it to Adaman to live happily. Adaman reaches beneath the tree of sin in the garden, eats its forbidden fruit, tempted by Kali disguised as a snake, resulting his carnal desires come alive, which culminates in his involving in sexual intercourse with Havyyathy. The Bible narrates the same episode word by word in the book of Genesis.”

        Both Dr. Haq and Menon told us that `Bhavishya Puran,’ literally means future events and Menon added

        “What is relevant here, is that everything, every episode and every character portrayed in the Holy Bible appears in the form of prediction in this Indian mythology.”
        If the above is true how can the story of Adam and Eve appear in the form of a prophecy and a future event?! Who was there before Adam to transmit or receive this prophecy?

        It is obvious then that although that `Bhavishya Puran,’ literally means future events it is actually attempting to narrate events of past history and the so called prophecies about Muhammad fall into the same category as that that of the story of Adam.

        But that is not all, Menon then went on quoting:

        As detailed in the Bible later, the lineage of Adaman is very long and luminous. The son of Adaman and Hvyavathy is Shwethanama (Seth). His son is Anoohan (Enoch). Then the lineage goes like this. Keenashan (Kenan), Mahallalan (Mahallalel), Viradan (Jered), Hanukan (Enoch), Manochillan (Methuselah), Lomakan (Lamech), Newhan (Noah).
        God warns His devotee Newhan in his dream, of the impending flood and asks him to take refuge in a boat with his family. Newhan embarked on the boat with his family. The floodgates of the sky opened and fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights. The flood came. All the four seas came into confluence. Only Newhan, his kith and kin along with the hermits of Badarya survived. By their fervent prayer the flood subsided and the water was gone.

        Note the close resemblance and oneness, even in the names of the lineage from Adam and Eve to Noah in the book of Genesis of the Holy Bible and above. The difference is only that in the Bible it is treated symbolically while narrating history whereas in Bhavishyapurana it is given as prediction of the future. Noah, Ark, Forty days flood and its riddance by exactly one year, are all predicted word by word.

        Here again the flood episode was portrayed as a prophecy, or was it?

        Menon went on saying:

        Not only that, the lineage beginning with Noah to Abraham will definitely startle us.
        The sons of Newhan are Siman (Shem), Haman (Ham) and Yakuthan (Japheth). Sons of Japheth are Jumren (Gover), Majoojan (Magog), Maadi (Madai) and Theerasan (Tiras).

        The sons of Siman (Shem) is Arkansadan (Arpachshad). His son is Simhalan (Shelah). Then Evrathan (Eber), Phalajan (Peleg), Reu (Reu), Jujan (Servig), Nahooran (Nahor), Taharan (Terah). For Taharan the sons are Aviraman (Abraham), Nahooran (Nahor) and Haranan (Haran).

        Is the above a prediction of the future or a whole sale borrowing from the Bible?

        Menon further added:

        Then it was predicted that a master (Patriarch) will come by the name of Moosa (Moses) and his faith will spread all over the world. When the era of Kali has reached three thousand years (This is the 5095th year of that era. So it is two thousand years ago) Jesus Christ appears with the name “Easa Maseeha” in the land of Huna. Here we should remember that Jesus Christ is ‘Easa Maseeha’ in Hebrews. At that time it was King ‘Shakapathi’ who ruled that land. In the mountainous terrain of Hunadesha the Kings meeting with a white clad male is described thus:
        “Ko bhavaanithi tham praaha

        Sahovaachamudaanwitha:

        Eshaputhram cha maam vidhi

        Kumaaree garbha sambahavam

        Aham Eesa Maseeha nama:”

        King Shaka asked “May I know, who you are!”. With apparent joy that male replied “Know that I am the Son of God. I am born in the womb of a virgin. ‘Easa Maseeha’ is my well known name”. (Bhavashya purana- Prathisarga parva, IIIrd part- 2nd chapter- 23rd verse.) http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/6265/chap4.html

        The two expressions “the well-known Mahamad” and ‘Easa Maseeha’ is my well known name”. Let the cat out of the bag. These parts of Hindu scripture are not prophecies written in the distant past but written at a time when Muhammad’s name became well known and Jesus was known as Easa Maseeh.

        Contrary to Menon’s understanding that Easa Maseeh is the Hebrew form of Jesus Christ, it is actually an Islamised version of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word for Jesus is Yeshua, not Easa.

        As a matter of fact the expression Easa Masih is the Persian version of Jesus the Christ. In both the Qur’an and the Hadith the name Jesus Christ appears as Masih Easa (if we delete the article). In other words Masih comes before Easa in the Qur’an and the Hadith, not the other way around. The “Easa Masih” form is the Persian version for the name of Jesus Christ. This points out that the time of compiling this part of this Hindu document was done at least after the spread of Islam to Persia or the spread of Islam to India through Persian contacts.

        This is strong evidence that this part of Hindu Scripture was written after Islam had spread to the Indian subcontinent. In other words, all the above quotations by Dr. Haq and Menon are not prophecies but recent compilations.

        Menon then quotes from the Rigveda, another part of the Hindu Scriptures. He asserts that:

        Among the four Vedas, Rigveda stands foremost and supreme for its complete authenticity. It is calculated that the nucleus of Rigveda was evolved between 1500 and 2600 BC…
        Vedic hymns were the revelations derived the sages from time to time. Rigveda, which sage Badarayana Krishna composed and later Vedavyasa compiled has ten volumes. Its last volume is supposed to have been chanted by many sages in unison. Being the last volume, its time of composition is fixed in the sixteenth century B.C. The ‘Panchagrandhi’ of Moses in the Holy Bible also could be its contemporary in composition.

        Menon then goes on to show the similarities between the Bible and the Rigveda:

        In the book of Revelation, the last in the Bible, we can see a lot of resonance, at so many places, similar to the hymns of Rigveda.
        ‘PRAJAPATHY’, the male image, the pivotal figure in the tenth volume of Rigveda is the central point of this concordance. The birth and public life of Jesus Christ of the holy Bible maintain an intimate similarity with this worshipful male.

        In the first hymn of the 121st aphorism in the tenth volume of Rigveda, the narration about the birth of this male is given like this:-

        “Hiranyagarbha: samavarthathaagre

        Bhuuthasya jaatha: pathireka aaseeth

        Sadaadhaara prudhwivim dyaamuthemam

        Kasmai devaaya havisha vidhemam.

        ‘Prajapathy’ alias ‘Hiranya garbha’, the first born, was born to the Holy
        Spirit (Paramatma) before Genesis. Upon birth, He became one and
        only God to the universe comprising the Skies, Stars Earth and the
        Seas. He rules the endless firmament and the whole of the earth. We
        please this deity, Prajapathy, who is called ‘Kan’ affectionately, with
        offerings in sacrifices (Rigveda X: 121,1)

        We can see a mention of this son of the spirit of God in
        Ithareyopanishad also.

        “Sa eekshatheeme nu loka

        Lokaa Paalaanusruja ithi

        Sodbhaaya eva purusham

        Samudruthya moorchayaayt”

        After the creation of the Firmament, Earth and Waters, the Holy Spirit
        of the God thought like this. “I have created all the Worlds. For them I
        should create a protector (Saviour). With this intention, the Holy Spirit
        created a male from His own self. (Ithareyopanishad 1. 1:3)
        ….
        “Thasmaad virraada jaayatha

        viraajo adhi purusha:

        Sjaatho athyarichyatha

        Paschaad bhoomimadhopura:”

        From that male the universe came into being. From that body of the
        universe came the omnipresent male. That male thus became
        manifest, adopted various forms and character and created the earth
        and other planets along with the creatures to live in them.(Rigveda
        X:90:5)

        In 1:3 John says, “through him God made all things; not one thing in
        all creation was made without him”. Isn’t this similarity in essence
        between these mutually supporting statements, amazing?

        Rigveda says again about this male, the creator and sustainer.

        “Purusha evedam sarvam

        Yadbhutham yachabhavyam

        Uthaamruthathwasya eesaana

        Yadaannenathirohathi”

        It is definitely this very same male who exists now, who has gone by
        and who is expected to come. Not only that, it is this same male who
        controls the state of eternity (immortality).

        It is for the redemption of mankind, he surpasses his immortal sphere
        and descends to the mortal sphere. He comes to give everyone
        recompense as per his deeds. (Rigveda X: 90:2)

        In the book of Revelation, in the Holy Bible, St.John says, verse 8
        chapter 1. “The Lord God, who is, who was and who is to come.” In
        John’s Gospel 8th chapter 51st verse Jesus says: “I am telling you the
        truth. Whoever obeys my teaching will never die.”Again in the book of
        Revelation, 22:12 Jesus says: “I will bring my rewards with me, to give
        to each one according to what he has done.” All the assignments
        entrusted to the idol male is fulfilled in Jesus Christ perfectly.
        Maintaining resemblance word by word, these statements do not
        merely coincide in content, but it reveals a singular purpose or
        meaning. We should remember that this unique oneness or singularity
        is seen in ‘Purushasookta’ which the venerated vedavyasa had
        applauded as the aphorism of aphorisms.

        In this very same ‘Purushasookta’ there is a mention of a divine
        sacrifice for the deliverance and salvation of human race too.

        “Thaam yajnam barhishi proukshan

        Purusham jaathamagratha

        Thena deva ayajantha

        Saadhya rushayaschaye”

        Devas of heaven and the ruling fraternity along with the hermits
        offered the first born male in sacrifice by consecrating him as the
        animal of offering by tying him on a wooden sacrificial post. (Rigveda
        X: 90:7)

        We read in all the four Gospels in the Holy Bible –

        Jesus was consigned to a wooden cross by Pilate, he representative
        of the Roman Emperor, Herodes, the Jew king (Ruler), and two
        priests named Annas and Caiaphas and their henchmen.

        The crucification of Christ should not be seen as a punishment for a
        mere revolutionary for treason. And it is a sacrifice for the redemption
        of humanity as a whole; it is the fulfillment of prophecies of the old
        testaments. If the blood of Christ shed on the cross is the cleansing
        factor for the believer of Christianity, here Rigveda comes again.

        “thamevam vidwaanamrutha

        iha bhavathy

        Naanya pandha ayanaaya vidyathe”

        Those who worship (chanting with the lips, believing in the heart) him
        gets liberated in this world itself and there is no other way besides this
        for salvation.(Rigveda X: 90:16)

        St. Paul, the apostle of Christ says in Romans 10:9 “Because if you
        confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that
        God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

        The above similarities between this part of the Rigveda and the teachings of Christianity is too good to be true. The last sentence mentioned in Rigveda X: 90:16 is taken from the book of Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

        We can see that the author of the Rigveda had thorough knowledge of the Bible. Hence we do not share the amazement of Menon at the onneness between the Hindu Scriptures and the Bible.

        We can safely say that the Hindu Scriptures have been continuously modified to incorporate all that is out there.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          Your comment says, “We can see that the author of the Rigveda had thorough knowledge of the Bible.” This is an ASSUMPTION , which is what you accuse me of making. The Rigveda dates to 1500 BCE. What is your EVIDENCE that the Rigveda was modified? All that you have here is an assumption and a bald assertion.

          The similarities between the New Testament and the Hindu scriptures are “too good to be true” (as your article says) only if one begins with the underlying assumption that both of these documents were not inspired by God. But this is the logical fallacy of assuming what one intends to prove.

          Further, you have very conveniently ignored my point about the mentions of God’s self-sacrifice on the cross mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents. Please stop ignoring this (since you cannot explain it).

          Still further, you have failed to explain who Isaiah chapter 53 (written 700 years before Jesus’ birth) could be referring to, if not Jesus Christ. You tried to say that the verse about being “despised and rejected by mankind” could refer to the doctor who invented germ theory. But, as I already called you out on, this is profoundly ridiculous when considered in the context of the ENTIRE CHAPTER or Isaiah 53. For example, could we say of the doctor who invented germ theory that, as verse 5 says:

          he was crushed for our iniquities;
          the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
          and by his wounds we are healed
          ???

          Instead of taking individual verses out of the larger context of the entire chapter (in a nit picking fashion), why don’t you tell us who this chapter is referring to? Could it be that you cannot answer? A copy and paste of the ENTIRE CHAPTER of Isaiah 53:

          Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)

          53 Who has believed our message
          and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
          2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
          and like a root out of dry ground.
          He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
          nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
          3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
          a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
          Like one from whom people hide their faces
          he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
          4 Surely he took up our pain
          and bore our suffering,
          yet we considered him punished by God,
          stricken by him, and afflicted.
          5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
          he was crushed for our iniquities;
          the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
          and by his wounds we are healed.
          6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
          each of us has turned to our own way;
          and the Lord has laid on him
          the iniquity of us all.
          7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
          yet he did not open his mouth;
          he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
          and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
          so he did not open his mouth.
          8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
          Yet who of his generation protested?
          For he was cut off from the land of the living;
          for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
          9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
          and with the rich in his death,
          though he had done no violence,
          nor was any deceit in his mouth.
          10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
          and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
          he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
          and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
          11 After he has suffered,
          he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
          by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
          and he will bear their iniquities.
          12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
          and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
          because he poured out his life unto death,
          and was numbered with the transgressors.
          For he bore the sin of many,
          and made intercession for the transgressors.


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            gary says:

            We are speaking past one another, Scott. If the excerpt I copied does not convince you that the Hindu Scriptures were modified during the time of the introduction of Islam into India, hundreds of years after Jesus, nothing will change your mind, even if I provided you with DNA evidence that Jesus’ bones are still lying in an unmarked grave outside of the gates of Jerusalem.

            If you detect anger, you are probably correct. I am angry that I and millions of other people, over the last 2,000 years, have been duped to believe this silly superstition nonsense. It is foolishness. Your holy book may tell you that that is the misplaced criticism of nonbelievers, but the truth is…it really is foolishness. I would encourage you to read both pro and con articles on the internet regarding these issues.

            I wish you health and happiness, Scott,

            Gary


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          gary says:

          Your silence indicates that the information I provided was disturbing to your view that the Hindu Scriptures prophesied about Jesus 4,000 years ago, 2,000 year before Jesus’ birth.

          This is why I abandoned the Christian religion. The Christian belief system is based on nothing more than second century hearsay and assumption, after assumption, after assumption.


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            Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

            No, Gary, my silence (for a day or two) indicates that I have a full time job and other responsibilities.

            I have responded to your comments now that I had some free time.

            You say that you abandoned the Christian religion because it is based upon assumptions. However, the angry rhetoric in some of your comments tells a very different story. Your use of angry rhetoric is dead giveaway that you abandoned Christianity for emotional and ideological reasons. If you has abandoned Christianity for purely logical reasons, you would have no reason to use angry rhetoric like “ancient middle eastern fable” and “superstition.”

            Trying to explain away the following—with attempts to debunk them individually—violates what is known in logic as “Ockham’s Razor” or “the principle of parsimony,” which is the principle that entities should not be multiplied needlessly; the simplest of two competing theories is to be preferred:

            1) The mentions of Jesus in the Hindu scriptures.
            2) The clear references to Jesus in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah (as well as elsewhere in the Old Testament).
            3) The clear references to God’s self-sacrifice in ancient Chinese imperial documents.

            This simplest explanation for the above is that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that God therefore inspired the above documents. Trying to use contrived explanations such as subsequent modifications to the Hindu scriptures, and translation errors of individual verses (and ignoring my point about the ancient Chinese imperial documents) violates the principle of parsimony.


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    gary says:

    Let’s look at verse 15 and 16:

    He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

    Now if Jesus was God, even as a child, and as Christians teach, he was sinless from the moment of conception, how is it possible for a perfect God to know (learn) to do good and not to do evil.

    This passage has NOTHING to do with Jesus unless you want to deny the divinity and sinlessness of Jesus, which I seriously doubt you are willing to do.

    Now, I am very sure that you will find Christian apologists who will STILL insist that these passages prophesy about Jesus, but they will use the most mind-numbing, nonsensical, circular arguments to do so.

    The truth is: the Old Testament does not prophesy about Jesus of Nazareth and that is exactly why the overwhelming percentage of Jews have rejected the Christian claim of Jesus messiahship for the last 2,000 years!


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      You ask, “how is it possible for a perfect God to know (learn) to do good and not to do evil.”

      Christianity teaches that God came to Earth as Jesus to live a sinless human life. Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Learning to do good and not evil was part of Jesus humanity. Please read Isaiah chapter 53 and tell me how this chapter could be referring to anyone other than Jesus (even though it was written 700 years before his birth). For example, verse 3 says “he was despised and rejected by mankind.” This does not take any interpretive finagling. Jesus WAS despised and rejected by mankind…that is why he was crucified.

      Verse 5 says “he was pierced for our transgressions.” This also does not take any interpretive finagling. Jesus hands were pierced on the cross…and his death was a sacrifice for our transgressions (sins).

      Verse 9 talks about how he was placed in a rich mans grave. This is what happened. He was buried in the tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea…a rich man.

      Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)

      53 Who has believed our message
      and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
      2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
      and like a root out of dry ground.
      He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
      nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
      3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
      a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
      Like one from whom people hide their faces
      he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
      4 Surely he took up our pain
      and bore our suffering,
      yet we considered him punished by God,
      stricken by him, and afflicted.
      5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
      he was crushed for our iniquities;
      the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
      and by his wounds we are healed.
      6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
      each of us has turned to our own way;
      and the Lord has laid on him
      the iniquity of us all.
      7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
      yet he did not open his mouth;
      he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
      and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
      so he did not open his mouth.
      8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
      Yet who of his generation protested?
      For he was cut off from the land of the living;
      for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
      9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
      and with the rich in his death,
      though he had done no violence,
      nor was any deceit in his mouth.
      10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
      and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
      he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
      and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
      11 After he has suffered,
      he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
      by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
      and he will bear their iniquities.
      12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
      and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
      because he poured out his life unto death,
      and was numbered with the transgressors.
      For he bore the sin of many,
      and made intercession for the transgressors.


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        gary says:

        Again…you are cherry picking Bible verses. You so desperately want to prove that your ancient, middle-eastern holy book is true, that you trip over yourself in grasping at passages that seem to confirm your superstitions, but ignore the rest that blatantly prove your position untenable.

        Do you really believe that the sinless Jesus had to learn right from wrong??? If he was a child and had to learn right from wrong, then he learned it like every other human child: by SINNING and doing the wrong thing, to find out by rebuke from his parents, teachers, and rabbis that what he had just done was wrong and sin.

        This ancient, middle-eastern fable is so full of holes that if it were a ship it would sink in literally seconds.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          Here, you are retreating into strident rhetoric in order to avoid questions that cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of your worldview. Such rhetoric as “middle-eastern fable” and “superstitions” will not substitute for a logically constructed argument. Period.

          This retreat into rhetoric amounts to a tacit acknowledgement that your stance cannot withstand debate.

          You have very conveniently ignored my points about how God’s self-sacrifice is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures (Upanishads and Vedas) as well as in ancient Chinese imperial documents. Instead, you have decided to fixate on your non-sequitur that Jesus must learn right from wrong by sinning. This is a transparent diversionary tactic (known as a “red-herring” argument).

          You ask, “Do you really think Jesus had to learn right from wrong?”

          Isaiah 7:15 says:

          Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

          Below is a copy and paste of the Bible Hub commentary on this verse:

          Butter and honey shall he eat — The common food of children in that country, where these articles were in great abundance, and of the best sort. The principal meaning of the verse seems to be, that this child, called Immanuel, should be brought up in the usual manner, “the same republic still continuing, and the cultivated fields, unoccupied by the enemy, abundantly supplying all necessary food; and that thus he should grow up to maturity.” The words, however, also signify, that though he should be miraculously conceived, and should be possessed of a nature truly divine, yet he should be also human, subject to all the infirmities of our nature, standing in need of food for his support as other children do, and by the help thereof growing up from childhood to manhood.

          The Bible teaches that Jesus was truly divine but should be subject to all of the normal human experiences of growing up. This would include the normal human learning process. Your insistence that Jesus must learn right from wrong by sinning is a non-sequitur.


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            gary says:

            Scott,

            The difference between my worldview and your worldview is that I approach evidence with an open mind, you approach evidence with a preconceived INERRANT bias: in your worldview all evidence MUST fit your worldview; you will twist and contort the evidence to the extent necessary to force the evidence to fit your inerrant religious beliefs/worldview, and not that your worldview is formed from the evidence.

            Give me good evidence that Yahweh is the All-Mighty Lord of the Universe, and I will believe it. What I refuse to do is simply believe your faith assertions without evidence.

            I do not ask YOU to believe that no God exists. What I ask you is to prove that YOUR god exists. So I am not asking you to adopt my worldview, I am simply challenging the many, many false assumptions in yours.

            If you ask ten non-Christian, non-atheists to look at this passage in Isaiah, I will bet you that NONE of them will say, “Wow, that must be a prophesy about Jesus of Nazareth.” And here is why:

            1. The original Hebrew does not use the word “virgin”. It simply says “young woman”.
            Your English Bible may say “virgin” in this passage, but this is because your English Bible was translated from the Septuagint, not the Hebrew. However translated the Hebrew word for “young woman” translated it into Greek as “virgin”, and that is how this alleged “Jesus prophecy” came about. Take the word “virgin” out of this passage and NO ONE but a conservative/fundamentalist Christian would still believe that this passage is about Jesus of Nazareth.

            2. Notice that this child will be given the name “Immanuel”. The child born to Mary (and Joseph) was named “Jesus”, not “Immanuel”. No one during Jesus life ever refers to him as “Immanuel”.

            3. This passage in Isaiah is talking about a sign for the king of Israel, that will show him that he will defeat the Syrian enemy. By no stretch of the imagination does this passage refer to Jesus…that is why Jews flatly reject this passage as a prophecy for Jesus. Jews do not reject this passage as foretelling Jesus because they are “hard-hearted”, Jews reject it because it is based on a poor Greek translation of the original Hebrew.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Ok Gary,

              You say that this verse is not referring to Jesus. Let’s look at all of this from within a larger context. Please tell me who the 53rd chapter of Isaiah (written 700 years before Jesus’ birth) is referring to if not Jesus Christ. Please consider the chapter as a whole rather than saying that one particular verse could refer to someone like “the doctor who invented germ theory,” as you put it. Go ahead and show me this open mind of yours, which you refer to.

              Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)

              53 Who has believed our message
              and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
              2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
              and like a root out of dry ground.
              He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
              nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
              3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
              a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
              Like one from whom people hide their faces
              he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
              4 Surely he took up our pain
              and bore our suffering,
              yet we considered him punished by God,
              stricken by him, and afflicted.
              5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
              he was crushed for our iniquities;
              the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
              and by his wounds we are healed.
              6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
              each of us has turned to our own way;
              and the Lord has laid on him
              the iniquity of us all.
              7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
              yet he did not open his mouth;
              he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
              and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
              so he did not open his mouth.
              8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
              Yet who of his generation protested?
              For he was cut off from the land of the living;
              for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
              9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
              and with the rich in his death,
              though he had done no violence,
              nor was any deceit in his mouth.
              10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
              and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
              he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
              and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
              11 After he has suffered,
              he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
              by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
              and he will bear their iniquities.
              12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
              and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
              because he poured out his life unto death,
              and was numbered with the transgressors.
              For he bore the sin of many,
              and made intercession for the transgressors.


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    gary says:

    The next one is a doozy: the Messiah will be born of a Virgin. And what OT passages is this amazing supernatural prophecy based upon? ONE. One verse from Isaiah. But, instead of just pulling the one verse out of the chapter as most Christians do on this issue, let’s look at the entire chapter.

    Isaiah 7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

    Isaiah Reassures King Ahaz

    7 In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it. 2 When the house of David heard that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz[a] and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

    3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub,[b] at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4 and say to him, Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Aram—with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah—has plotted evil against you, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah and cut off Jerusalem[c] and conquer it for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king in it; 7 therefore thus says the Lord God:

    It shall not stand,
    and it shall not come to pass.

    8
    For the head of Aram is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.

    (Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered, no longer a people.)

    9
    The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
    If you do not stand firm in faith,
    you shall not stand at all.

    Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel

    10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah[d] said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman[e] is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.[f] 15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”

    18 On that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is at the sources of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.

    20 On that day the Lord will shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will take off the beard as well.

    21 On that day one will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22 and will eat curds because of the abundance of milk that they give; for everyone that is left in the land shall eat curds and honey.

    23 On that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24 With bow and arrows one will go there, for all the land will be briers and thorns; 25 and as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.

    Footnotes:
    a.Isaiah 7:2 Heb his heart
    b.Isaiah 7:3 That is A remnant shall return
    c.Isaiah 7:6 Heb cut it off
    d.Isaiah 7:13 Heb he
    e.Isaiah 7:14 Gk the virgin
    f.Isaiah 7:14 That is God is with us


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      I am not familiar with claims made about Jesus being born of a virgin. However, the New International Version of the Bible says the following in Isaiah 7:14

      “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

      What is your point in copying and pasting the entire chapter? This is unclear.

      Further, please note that verse 13 mentions the “house of David.” Jesus was a descendant of David. This is a fulfillment of prophecy.

      Please respond to the 3 following questions:

      1) How can Isaiah chapter 53 be referring to anyone other than Jesus considering such things as the following?:

      Verse 3 says “he was despised and rejected by mankind.” This does not take any interpretive finagling. Jesus WAS despised and rejected by mankind…that is why he was crucified.

      Verse 5 says “he was pierced for our transgressions.” This also does not take any interpretive finagling. Jesus hands were pierced on the cross…and his death was a sacrifice for our transgressions (sins).

      Verse 9 talks about how he was placed in a rich mans grave. This is what happened. He was buried in the tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea…a rich man.

      2) How can the following verses from the Hindu scriptures (Upanishads and Vedas) which discuss diving self-sacrifice be referring to anyone besides Jesus?:

      “The Supreme Creator took a perfect human body (Nishkalanka Purusha) and offered it up as a self-sacrifice (Brihad Aranyak Upanishad 1:2:8).”

      “If you want to be delivered from the sin, which you commit through eyes, mouth, ears and mind, bloodshed is necessary. Without shedding the blood, there is no remission for sin. That must be the blood of the Holy one. God is our creator. He is our King. When we were perishing, He came to save us by offering even his own body on our behalf.” (Tandya Mahabrahmana 4.15).

      “The redemption is through shedding of blood only and that blood has to be through the sacrifice of God himself.” (Taittiriya Aranyaka, verse 3).

      “This [sacrifice] is the only way for the redemption and liberation of mankind. Those who meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.” (Yajur-Veda 31:18)

      “The Purusha was above sin, and only in knowing him does one attain immortality.” (Chandogyopanishad 1:6:6-7)

      “After giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice, this Purush resurrected himself.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28.4-5; Kathopanishad 3: 15).

      “The purpose of this sacrifice is to provide the only way to Heaven and the only way to escape from Hell.” (Rig-Veda 9:113:7-11; 4:5:5; 7:104:3).

      “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa [a wooden pole] causing blood shed.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6).

      “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines.” (Rig-Veda 10:90:7, Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3:9:28).

      “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

      “None of His bones must be broken.” (Yajur-Veda 31:; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6)

      Regarding the last passage above, for example, please note that the Old Testament also discusses how Jesus bones would not be broken.

      A copy and paste from this post:

      When God gave Moses and Aaron the rules for the Passover, some might have sounded unconventional—for example, the clear prohibition against breaking any bones of the lamb that was sacrificed and eaten by each household. Why did God insist on this?

      This command—that the Passover lamb not have its legs broken—carries symbolic weight. When Jesus, whom John the Baptist proclaimed to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), was crucified, not one of his bones was broken. John 19:31-34 tells us that when the soldiers came to Jesus to break his legs to hasten his death, they found that he was already dead, so they pierced his side with a spear but did not break his legs.

      As John testifies, “These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken’” (John 19:36). The Exodus 12:46 rule is also echoed prophetically in Psalms 34:20: “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” To the last detail of his death, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies concerning the Messiah, verifying that he was, as John the Baptist claimed, the sacrificial Lamb of God.

      Please, as another example, note that both the Hindu scriptures and the Bible note how Jesus was offered a drink of wine before death:

      “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

      “The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.” (Matthew 27:34)

      3) How do you explain the following mentions of God’s self-sacrifice in ancient Chinese imperial documents? (as I describe in my essay Which God is Real?) How can the following be referring to anyone besides Jesus?

      Chinese Christian Chan Kei Thong writes in Finding God In Ancient China: How the Ancient Chinese Worshiped the God of the Bible:

      “The Bible recounts a dramatic astronomic phenomenon occurring at the cruxifiction:

      It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23: 44-46)

      Note that this solar eclipse lasted for three hours — from the sixth to the ninth hour, which is roughly noon to 3pm in modern timekeeping–before Jesus breathed His last. At that moment, the veil of the Jewish temple was supernaturally torn in two: a dramatic symbolization that the barrier between God and man was removed once and for all.”

      “Once again, this event is corroborated in the Chinese historical documents, which record a highly significant solar eclipse occurring around the time indicated in the biblical account:

      In the day of Gui Hai, the last day of the month, there was a solar eclipse, [The emperor] avoided the Throne Room, suspended all military activities, and did not handle official business for five days. And he proclaimed, ‘My poor character has caused this calamity, that the sun and the moon were veiled, I am fearful and trembling. What can I say?… Anyone who presents a memorial is not allowed to mention the word ‘holy’”.

      “Another entry made a short time later, referring to the same eclipse, said:

      Summer, fourth month [of the year], on the day of Ren Wu, the imperial edict reads, ‘Yin and Yang have mistakenly switched, and the sun and the moon were eclipsed. The sins of all the people are now on one man. [The emperor] proclaims pardon to all under heaven.’

      This solar eclipse was recorded in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, Gui Han was the last day of the third month in the spring, during the 7th year of Han Emperor Guang Wu (reigned A.D. 25 – 57). That corresponds to A.D. 31, which means that this major eclipse happened 34 years after the astral events involving the magi! “[At the time of Christ’s birth]

      “Even more incredibly, a commentary in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, said simply,

      ‘Eclipse on the day of Gui Hai, Man from heaven died.’

      The man from heaven died! Could there be a more apt description or a more accurate understanding of the Cruxifiction?

      God’s love extends to all the nations of the world, and in some unique and unknown way, He gave special insight to Chinese astronomers to understand what He was doing. We are all sinners, even the emperor, but God laid all our sins on His only Son, Jesus Christ.”

      Thong then goes on to describe how the Record of the Han Dynasty records that a rainbow encircled the sun three days after the eclipse, which corresponds with the day of Christ’s resurrection.

      Perhaps these are contributing factors to the phenomenon of China already having more Christians than Communist Party members!


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        gary says:

        You obviously did not read my entire comment.

        You are cherry picking verses from this passage. “He was despised and rejected by mankind”.

        Could this passage not be a prophecy for the doctor who discovered germ theory. The world accused him of being crazy. They despised him and rejected him. So this passage MUST be about him. Come friend, you are being silly.

        “His hands and feet were pierced” would certainly seem to prophesy Jesus’ nailing to the cross. However, if you had read my entire comment you would have seen that at the very bottom of the chapter the translators state this: MOST Hebrew manuscripts do NOT says his hands and feet were “pierced”.

        Whoever “found” this prophesy about Jesus found it in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew. I think we should go with the Hebrew and not a translation.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          This is profoundly ridiculous.

          You say that the verse, “He was despised and rejected by mankind” could apply to the doctor who discovered germ theory. However, could you also, for example, say of the doctor who discovered germ theory that:

          “he was pierced for our transgressions,

          he was crushed for our iniquities;” ???

          Could you say of the doctor who invented germ theory that:

          “the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
          and by his wounds we are healed”
          ???

          Seriously! Who do you think you are fooling?!

          It is thoroughly transparent to any intelligent third party viewer of this discussion that you need to take the verse about being “despised and rejected by mankind” out of the larger context of the 53rd chapter in order for it to apply to the doctor who invented germ theory.

          And your attempt to take this one verse out of the context of the whole chapter makes it utterly transparent that you are not looking for truth. Rather, you are looking to justify your anti-Christian ideological agenda.

          The Hebrew transcripts do not need to say that his hands and feet were pierced. The fact that any part of the body was pierced is a remarkable enough similarity to Jesus.


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            gary says:

            The original Hebrew did NOT say that the man described in the Psalm has his hands and feet pierced! That is a translation error by the people who translated the Hebrew into the Greek Septuagint, from which you get the incorrect wording in your English Bible!!

            Psalm 22:16 was incorrectly translated into the Greek and Syriac. Here is what that passage said in most Hebrew manuscripts:

            “like a lion [they are at] my hands and feet”

            There is NO piercing of feet and hands in the original Hebrew. Your English Bible of “piercing” is a translation error!


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Gary,

              I recommend that you read this Bible Hub commentary on Psalm 22:16. An excerpt (I have bolded parts that I feel are important):

              They pierced.—The word thus rendered has formed a battle-ground for controversy. As the Hebrew text at present stands the word reads kāarî (like a lion). (Comp. Isaiah 38:13.) But no intelligible meaning can be got out of “like a lion my hands and my feet.” Nor does the plan commend itself of dividing the verses differently, and reading, “The congregation of wicked men have gathered round me like a lion. On my hands and my feet I can tell all my bones.” The punctuation of the text must therefore be given up, and a meaning sought by changing the reading. The necessity of a change is supported both by the ancient versions and by some MSS., and also by the Masora; though considerable difference exists as to what the word should be read. If the authority of the ancient versions alone were to decide, some verb in the past tense must be read, but the most reasonable course is to accept the present text, but with a different vowel, treating it as a participle, with suffix, of kûr, whose root-idea, according to Ewald, is “to bind;” but according to most other scholars is “to dig.” It is, however, so doubtful whether it can mean to dig through—i.e., to pierce—that it is better to understand here a binding of the limbs so tightly as to dig into them, and wound them. Render: “The band of villains [literally, breakers] surrounded me, binding my hands and feet so as to cut them.”


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                gary says:

                I would encourage you to ask Jewish scholars how they would translate the Hebrew in this passage to English. If the majority of Jewish Bible scholars agree with your interpretation, I will gladly admit my error.


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    gary says:

    Here is the next prophecy on your list: the Messiah will be born of a woman. Hmmm. How else would the Messiah be born, in vitro? The passage used for this prophecy is in Genesis chapter 3, verse 15. I have included the previous verse:

    The Lord God said to the serpent,

    “Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
    on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.

    15
    I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[e] and her offspring;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

    So God tells the snake that he and the woman are going to hate each other and so will their offspring. Humans will hit snakes over the head to kill them, and snakes will bite people in the heel/ankle.

    Sorry. There is nothing in this passage that says anything about Jesus. To say it does takes the most inventive stretching of logic and the English language.


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    gary says:

    Let’s look at verses 9 and 10:

    Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

    10
    On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

    Now this is a very odd statement for Jesus to make if he is truly God as all Trinitarian Christians believe. Why would God need to make HIMSELF trust in himself? This is something a weak, sinful human would say to an All-powerful Deity, not a God talking to himself, or 1/3 of a Godhead talking to another 1/3 of the same Godhead.

    This passage has nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever. This is the psalmist crying out to his god for assistance.

    Now, let’s just pretend that this passage is Jesus (God) speaking to the Father (God). Why would Jesus, who is as eternal as his Father, say to his Father that the Father has been his God from his womb? If this is Jesus speaking, what he would say would be something like this: You and I, Father, have been One for all eternity. WE have always been God.

    This is obviously not Jesus speaking, but a mortal human whose existence begins in the womb. Trinitarian Christians are not Mormons. They do not believe that human souls have existed prior to conception in the womb.

    Now, look at the footnotes: Notice that most Hebrew manuscripts say something very different for verse 16, the one verse in this passage that Christians have cherry picked to prophesy Jesus’ future crucifixion. What do most Hebrew texts say this verse really says?

    Psalm 22:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts like a lion [they are at] my hands and feet

    So in most Hebrew texts, there is no hand and feet piercing.

    This entire Psalms has NOTHING to do with anything that happened during the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. I will look at a few other of your “Jesus prophesies”. Let’s make sure we look at the CONTEXT of the passage, and not simply one verse pulled out of context to fit our established belief.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      This is an odd circular argument. You have to first assume that these particular passages are referring to Jesus in order to attack them as referring to Jesus.

      I am not a biblical scholar. Who has alleged that these passages refer to Jesus? Please clarify.

      I cannot respond to an argument that someone else has made. You, yet again, refer to Christians as if they are all the same person when you refer to “the one verse in this passage that Christians have cherry picked to prophesy Jesus’ future crucifixion.”

      I cannot respond to all arguments made by all Christians because I am only one Christian. Did you forget? This is very strange.


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        gary says:

        I’m confused. YOU referred me to this list of alleged OT prophecies asking me if they could just be coincidence. I read your article, and I’m now pointing out the fallacious reasoning used to pull one or two passages out of context to make them fit your preconceived beliefs.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          Sorry, you did not specify which of the prophecies in the link that I gave that you were talking about.

          You need to reference the particular prophecy in the link I provided and the particular book and chapter of the Bible you are talking about. You cannot just say “verses 9 and 10” and expect me to know what you are talking about.


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            gary says:

            Predicting Jesus’ crucifixion: Psalm 22


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    gary says:

    Christians have a very bad habit of cherry picking verses in the Old Testament, then forcing them to fit their beliefs. So does the OT predict the crucifixion? Let’s see. But, instead of picking out one verse which certainly sounds like a crucifixion, let’s look at the passage in context and let’s look at comments by the translators at the very bottom of the page:

    Why Have You Forsaken Me?

    To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

    22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

    2
    O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

    3
    Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises[a] of Israel.

    4
    In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.

    5
    To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

    6
    But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

    7
    All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

    8
    “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

    9
    Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

    10
    On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

    11
    Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

    12
    Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

    13
    they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.

    14
    I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
    my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;

    15
    my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

    16
    For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
    they have pierced my hands and feet[b]—

    17
    I can count all my bones—
    they stare and gloat over me;

    18
    they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

    19
    But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

    20
    Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!

    21
    Save me from the mouth of the lion!
    You have rescued[c] me from the horns of the wild oxen!

    22
    I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

    23
    You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

    24
    For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
    and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

    25
    From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

    26
    The afflicted[d] shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

    27
    All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
    and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.

    28
    For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

    29
    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.

    30
    Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;

    31
    they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.

    Footnotes:
    a.Psalm 22:3 Or dwelling in the praises
    b.Psalm 22:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts like a lion [they are at] my hands and feet
    c.Psalm 22:21 Hebrew answered
    d.Psalm 22:26 Or The meek


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    gary says:

    Scott,

    Conservative Christians such as yourself are not the only religious people whose Holy Book describe amazing scientific facts. Did you know that the Koran, written in the seventh century, describes the trajectory of the sun and the moon in a spherical pattern! This must be proof that the Koran is the very Word of the Creator, right?

    And that isn’t all. The Koran contains many, many scientific facts that have not been discovered by scientists until only the last few centuries. Here is a link to a long list of these amazing scientific findings in the Koran:

    http://miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_index.html


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      Your link does not provide any references to the Koran whatsoever which link scientific discoveries to passages from the Koran.


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        gary says:

        THE HELIO-CENTRIC SYSTEM

        He created the heavens and the Earth with truth. He wraps the night around the day and wraps the day around the night, and has made the Sun and Moon subservient, each one running for a specified term. Is He not indeed the Almighty, the Endlessly Forgiving? ( Surat az-Zumar, 5)

        In the above verse the movement of the Earth is described by the word “yukawwiru,” which comes from root verb “takwir,” meaning “to cover up a spherical body,” in the way that the rotation of the Earth gives rise to night and day, like the winding of a turban. In addition to the spherical shape of the Earth the word is also the most accurate expression of its movement around the Sun. Because of the Earth’s spherical shape and its movement around the Sun, the Sun always illuminates one side of the Earth while the other is in darkness. The side in shadow is shrouded by the darkness of night, to be replaced by the brightness of day when the Sun rises. The positions of the Sun and Earth are revealed as follows in Surah Ya Sin:

        And the Sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. And We have decreed set phases for the Moon, until it ends up looking like an old palm spathe. It is not for the Sun to overtake the Moon nor for the night to outstrip the day; each one is swimming in a sphere. (Surah Ya Sin, 38-40)

        The movements of the Sun and Moon in verse 40 of Surah Ya Sin are described by the Arabic word “yasbahoona,” meaning “flowing, passing or swimming.” This word refers to an action performed by someone on their own. Someone acting according to this verb continues to perform it alone, with no intervention from anyone else. The above verses may therefore be referring to the Sun’s independent movement in the universe, independent of any other celestial body. (Allah knows the truth.) It is impossible for us to see or follow the movement of the Sun with our own eyes. It is only possible to determine that movement using special technological equipment. As stated in verse 39 of Surah Ya Sin, in addition to rotating around its own axis once every 26 days, the Sun also moves through its own course.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          This is very weak. The ancient Greeks knew about the spherical Earth as early as the 6th century BC.

          You are interpret the “flowing, passing, or swimming” of the sun and moon to be a foretelling of a heliocentric solar system? This is very very weak.

          How can you possibly interpret any of these verses to have foretold a heliocentric universe? This is very strange. Please elaborate if you wish to develop this argument further.


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            gary says:

            I DON’T believe that these passages from the Koran foretell scientific facts. But this is what religious people do: they force the facts of science to fit the inerrant theology of their ancient holy book.

            The fact that the cosmic age of the earth fits your holy book’s “six day creation” is pure coincidence, just as the sum of the vowels and consonants in Putin’s name can be manipulated to give him the sign of the Beast. The similarity you describe as amazing does not prove that your invisible deity in the sky is the Almighty Ruler of the Universe.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Gary,

              So the remarkable similarity between the biblical and scientific (Big Bang) account of creation is a coincidence? Ok, now I know your stance.

              Please note that Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, is not a Christian or a Jew. Penzias stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

              “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

              And regarding the Big Bang, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow (a self-described agnostic) writes:

              “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

              J.M. Wersinger, Assoc. Professor of Physics at Auburn University, also not a Christian or a Jew, writes:

              “Not only did the Big Bang model seem to give in to the Judeo-Christian idea of a beginning of the world, but it also seemed to have to call for an act of supernatural creation…”

              Astrophysicist and cosmologist George Smoot (also not a Christian or a Jew) writes:

              “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the Big Bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”

              Please cite for me some non-Muslims who consider the “flowing, passing, or swimming” of the sun and moon in the Koran to be a foretelling of a heliocentric solar system. Your comparison is utterly ridiculous.

              The million million-to-one conversion ratio between Earth time and cosmic time (accepted by the respected peer reviewed journal Nature) which converts the roughly 13.8 billion Earth years to six days is a coincidence? Ok, now I know your stance.

              Are the prophecies of Jesus foretold in the Old Testament about Jesus are coincidences?

              PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE respond to the following article about these prophecies:

              http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm

              Your book of Revelation comparison is also ridiculous. There is no finagling of numbers. When the Bible something such as “in the beginning,” there is no bending facts to fit one’s interpretation. The universe had a beginning, and the Bible knew this thousands of years before modern science.


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          gary says:

          So do I think that Mohammad writing in the seventh century AD was given insights into complicated scientific facts?

          No.

          These statements by Islam of the “amazing” scientific references in the Koran appear just ridiculous and fabricated to you, just as your beliefs of the “amazing” scientific accuracy of your ancient, middle-eastern holy book appear to skeptics and non-Christians such as myself.


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        gary says:

        THE EARTH’S GRAVITATIONAL FORCE

        Did we not make the earth a receptacle? (Surat al-Mursalat, 25)

        The Arabic word “kifatan,” translated as “receptacle” in the above verse, means “living things being gathered together and protected in their dwellings, places where living or inanimate things are gathered together; on which things are piled; place where things are collected.” “Kifatan” comes from root word “kafata,” which means “to collect, gather toward one, close embrace.”

        With its gravitational force, the earth pulls the human beings and everything else on it, living or inanimate, toward its center. It is very likely that the use of a verb meaning “to pull toward one” refers to this force of gravity. (Allah knows the truth.)


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          This is even weaker, and again, very strange. Do you not think that people were able to observe the effect of gravity before this passage was written? What does this passage really foretell?


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    gary says:

    Scott,

    Just because you can find a scientist or two who publish an article in Nature does not mean that your theory has scientific validity. The majority of scientists consider your view as pseudo-science at best, and nonsense at worst. So how can this ratio you espouse be so accurate? I have no clue. But how can my mathematical calculations in my Putin is the Beast Theory be so accurate? Answer: Because I want thm to: I found facts that fit my theory, instead of following the facts to derive a theory.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      You say, “the majority of scientists consider [my] view as pseudo-science at best.” Please cite for me a SINGLE SCIENTIST who thinks that EITHER of the two following items:

      1) The relativity of time (described by Einstein as “time dilation”).
      2) The million million-to-one ratio at which Earth time converts to cosmic time (as accepted by the peer-reviewed journal Nature). Recall that this ratio converts the roughly 13.8 billion years of Earth time to SIX cosmic days.

      There is no “finding facts to fit a theory.”

      Further, you have IGNORED and FAILED TO RESPOND to my points about the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Please AGAIN read and respond to the following article:

      http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm

      Lastly, you have IGNORED and FAILED TO RESPOND to my points about how Jesus is mentioned in both the Hindu scriptures and in ancient Chinese imperial documents:

      An excerpt from my essay regarding how God’s self-sacrifice on the cross is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents:

      Chinese Christian Chan Kei Thong writes in Finding God In Ancient China: How the Ancient Chinese Worshiped the God of the Bible:

      “The Bible recounts a dramatic astronomic phenomenon occurring at the cruxifiction:

      It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23: 44-46)

      Note that this solar eclipse lasted for three hours — from the sixth to the ninth hour, which is roughly noon to 3pm in modern timekeeping–before Jesus breathed His last. At that moment, the veil of the Jewish temple was supernaturally torn in two: a dramatic symbolization that the barrier between God and man was removed once and for all.”

      “Once again, this event is corroborated in the Chinese historical documents, which record a highly significant solar eclipse occurring around the time indicated in the biblical account:

      In the day of Gui Hai, the last day of the month, there was a solar eclipse, [The emperor] avoided the Throne Room, suspended all military activities, and did not handle official business for five days. And he proclaimed, ‘My poor character has caused this calamity, that the sun and the moon were veiled, I am fearful and trembling. What can I say?… Anyone who presents a memorial is not allowed to mention the word ‘holy’”.

      “Another entry made a short time later, referring to the same eclipse, said:

      Summer, fourth month [of the year], on the day of Ren Wu, the imperial edict reads, ‘Yin and Yang have mistakenly switched, and the sun and the moon were eclipsed. The sins of all the people are now on one man. [The emperor] proclaims pardon to all under heaven.’

      This solar eclipse was recorded in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, Gui Han was the last day of the third month in the spring, during the 7th year of Han Emperor Guang Wu (reigned A.D. 25 – 57). That corresponds to A.D. 31, which means that this major eclipse happened 34 years after the astral events involving the magi! “[At the time of Christ’s birth]

      “Even more incredibly, a commentary in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, said simply,

      ‘Eclipse on the day of Gui Hai, Man from heaven died.’

      The man from heaven died! Could there be a more apt description or a more accurate understanding of the Cruxifiction?

      God’s love extends to all the nations of the world, and in some unique and unknown way, He gave special insight to Chinese astronomers to understand what He was doing. We are all sinners, even the emperor, but God laid all our sins on His only Son, Jesus Christ.”

      Am I “finding facts to fit my theory” here?!


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        gary says:

        I am not a scientist, so I cannot debate your two points above with you. However, I would challenge you to provide the percentage of physicists and other science who believe that your “ratio” proves that the Biblical account of Creation is correct and that Yahweh is the Lord of the Universe. Again, just because you can find a couple of scientists who endorse a theory does not make it fact. I am a physician. There are many physicians who declare as fact some of the most bizarre medical theories. The issue I always look at when a patient brings in some article by an “MD” stating that oxidized pond water cures cancer, is: what is the consensus in the medical community as a whole on this issue? It doesn’t mean that our oxidized pond water doctor is wrong, it just means that his discovery should be looked upon with suspicion and reservation if the overwhelming majority of his colleagues say that he is “all wet”.


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    gary says:

    Fitting the Bible to the Data (1998)

    Victor J. Stenger

    photo of book coverReview of The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom by Gerald L. Schroeder. New York and London: The Free Press, 1997.

    How can both the Bible and science be right? Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder says he can show us how. Let’s start with cosmology. The Bible says God created the universe in six days and indicates the passage of only about 6,000 years since then. Science currently estimates the visible universe to be about 13 billion years old, give or take a few billion. Schroeder reconciles the two, explaining that the six days of the Bible refer to a different measure of time. He explains: “there is no possible way for those first six days to have an Earth-based perspective simply because for the first two of those six days there was no Earth” (51).

    Instead, time during this six day period was measured on a cosmic clock. And what else could be used for that clock but the vibrations of light (electromagnetic waves)? Today the light from creation appears as the cosmic microwave background. This is now redshifted by a factor of a trillion (1012) from the period of “quark confinement” when matter as we know it first began to form. Thus the cosmic clock at that epoch ran off a trillion days for each of our modern days. The six cosmic days of creation thus took about 15 billion years earth time, give or take a few billion. So, according to the author, Genesis is not only consistent with cosmology, it gives the correct age of the universe!

    Each of the six days in Schroeder’s Genesis actually takes a different length of earth time. The duration D, in earth days, of each cosmic day t is calculated from the formula D = (Ao/L)exp(-Lt), where Ao = 4×1012 (the ratio of the frequencies of the cosmic microwave background at quark confinement compared to now) and L = 0.693 (natural log of 2). More simply, cosmic day one is 8 billion earth years long and you divide by two to get the duration of each succeeding cosmic day.

    Cosmic day one starts 15.75 billion earth years ago and covers the creation of the universe, the “breaking free” of light as electrons bind to atomic nuclei, and the beginning of galaxy formation. This is described in Gen. 1:1-5 as the creation followed by light separating from the darkness.

    Cosmic day two starts 7.75 billion earth years ago and lasts four billion earth years. During this period the stars and galaxies are born. This corresponds to Gen. 1:6-8, the formation of the heavenly firmament.

    Cosmic day three starts 3.75 billion earth years ago. During two billion earth years, the earth cools, water appears, and the first life forms appear. In Gen. 1:9-13, vegetation first appears during the third day.

    Cosmic day four starts 1.75 billion earth years ago and lasts a billion earth years. The earth’s atmosphere becomes transparent and photosynthesis produces an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Schroeder says that this corresponds to Gen. 1:14-19 when “the Sun, Moon, and stars become visible in the heavens” (67).

    Cosmic day five starts 750 million earth years ago and lasts 500 million earth years. During this period, the first multicellular animals appear and the oceans swarm with life. Gen. 1:20-23 says the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and “birds fly above the earth” (94).

    Cosmic day six starts 250 million years ago and ends at the time of Adam. During this period we have a massive extinction in which 90 percent of life is destroyed and then repopulated with humanoids and humans. This, Schroeder says, corresponds to what is described in Gen. 1:24-31.

    Technically, Schroeder’s formula gives the present as the end of the sixth day. However, it could just as well have ended a few thousand years ago and not affect the rest of the calculation where things are rounded off at hundreds of millions of years. Schroeder argues that after the six cosmic days of creation, Genesis switches its focus over to humanity and starts measuring time in human terms. The rest of the Bible concerns itself with the 6,000 earth years since Adam and Eve, estimated from the Bible in Bishop Ussher fashion.

    Schroeder does not deny the existence of hominid creatures before Adam. He talks about Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, and accepts that they had developed tools, pottery, and many human-like qualities. In Lev. 11:33 the Bible talks about pottery. But, Schroeder argues that since it never mentions the invention of pottery, that event must have pre-dated Adam (130).

    According to the author, the Bible has no interest in these pre-Adam hominids because they were not yet fully human and had no souls. Thus they are never mentioned. Adam represents the quantitative change to a large brain, but more important, the qualitative change that makes us different from all other forms of life: “our soul of human spirituality” (133). God breathed this into Adam, the first real human, 6,000 years ago.

    Schroeder’s attempt to connect 31 lines of Genesis to big-bang cosmology and earth paleontology makes entertaining reading, but will convince no one who is not already convinced or totally lacking of critical facilities.

    Let us return to the beginning. Schroeder’s use of quark confinement as the defining moment for his cosmic time scale is completely arbitrary. He seems to have chosen it for no better reason than it gives the answer he wants. The redshift from quark confinement to the present is of the order of 1012. Multiplying this by six days gives 15 billion years, which is consistent with our current estimate for the age of the universe.

    Alternatively, Schroeder might have chosen the moment in the early universe called “decoupling,” which represents the point where radiation separates from matter. Indeed, he relates this event to the separation of the “light from the darkness” described in Genesis day one. But the redshift from decoupling to the present is only of the order of 1,000, which would give an earth time interval of only fifteen years for the six cosmic days of creation. If he had chosen some other moment, he would have obtained yet a different time scale.

    Furthermore, by Schroeder’s own formula the universe creation corresponds to the time of quark confinement. Blueshifting back from that point rather than redshifting ahead, the events prior to quark confinement would recede infinitely into the past, in earth time, and we would have no creation at all.

    Schroeder’s use of an exponential function to give different earth periods for each cosmic day is not justified by his argument that earth time is simply redshifted cosmic time. While an exponential relationship would apply for the inflationary epoch in the early universe, that has ended by the time of quark confinement. Afterwards we have the almost linear Hubble expansion in which the redshift varies as a power law with time, not exponentially. By having each cosmic day half as long as the preceding one in earth years, again a completely arbitrary, unjustified procedure, Schroeder is able to vaguely relate events known from cosmology to those described in Genesis.

    In cosmic day two the “firmament” is created. Note that Schroeder excludes from the “firmament” all galaxies more than 7.75 billion light years away, of which there are many. Furthermore, he sees no problem with calling the expanding universe a “firmament.” Like all apologists, he selects his data carefully, accepting only those which agree with his hypotheses and discarding those which do not.

    Primitive life first appears in cosmic day three. Here again it takes some mighty stretching to associate what is described in the Bible for the third day, including fruit trees, with the primitive life described by paleontology for that epoch.

    Schroeder has the sun, moon, and stars becoming visible in cosmic day four. In fact, Genesis seems to say the that sun, moon, and stars are created at that time – well after the earth was created.

    Cosmic day five has the waters teeming with life. But the biblical verses imply birds as well. Schroeder says that “birds” is a mistranslation and that the Bible here is referring to water insects instead. Translation is so easy when you know what you want a passage to say.

    Cosmic day six contains the mass extinctions of life that occurred 65 million years ago. The biblical verses referenced make no mention of mass extinction. The Biblical Flood occurs well after Adam, but Schroeder needs to end the six days of creation with Adam for other purposes. This is one event he simply cannot make fit, although he is not honest enough to say so and leaves the impression that everything is consistent.

    At times you get the impression that this book is a parody, with quite a few good chuckles when read in that context. However, the sections on evolution soon convince you that no parody is intended. They are just too unfunny, too dull. Schroeder trots out all the old, tiresome arguments about why “life could not have stared by chance” and how the simplest forms, even viruses, are “far too complex to have originated without there being an inherent chemical property of molecular self-organization and/or reaction enhancing catalysts at every step of their development” (85). He applies the usual creationist deception of calculating chance probabilities as if chance is the only operative mechanism, and then saying this “proves” that God intervenes along the way when they come out very low. And, of course, the “staccato aspect of the fossil record” refutes classical evolution. “These rapid changes cannot be explained by purely random mutations at the molecular-genetic level” (87).

    Notice how often theists tell us that something cannot be explained except by God? They never seem to learn from history.

    Victor J. Stenger is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii and the author of Not By Design: The Origin of the Universe (Prometheus Books, 1988), Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World Beyond the Senses (Prometheus Books, 1990), The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology (Prometheus Books, 1995) and Timeless Reality : Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes (Prometheus Books, 2000).


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      Please note that Victor Stenger does not have any credentials as a biblical scholar. In order to be an Old Testament scholar, one must have a firm grasp of Hebrew.

      Therefore, Stenger’s commentary on such issues as whether the correct interpretation of the wording in day 5 of creation is “bird” or “insect” is of no relevance.

      Stenger says that the million million-to-one conversion ratio from Earth time to cosmic time is “arbitrary.” Well, apparently the peer-reviewed journal Nature was being arbitrary also when it agreed to this.

      Also, Stenger says “[Schroeder] sees no problem with calling the expanding universe a ‘firmament.’” Unfortunately for Stenger, the Bible is completely unambiguous about the universe expanding. Psalm 104:2 says, “he [God] stretches out the heavens like a tent.” Further, if you look up the word “firmament” in the Oxford Dictionary, its says, “the heavens or the sky.” Firmament does not imply non-expansion. This is Stenger’s unjustifiable add-on, and therefore a straw-man argument.

      The Bible knew about the expanding universe thousands of years before modern science. Your comparison about Vladimir Putin being the beast is absolutely ridiculous, as any third party viewer of this conversation can tell. “Stretching out the heavens” is completely unambiguous and does not require any interpretive manipulation….as does your Putin example.

      Many scientists, in fact, use the analogy of the universe being like an expanding balloon.

      Another straw-man that Stenger commits: Stenger says that Schroeder “has the sun, moon, and stars becoming visible in cosmic day four. In fact, Genesis seems to say the that sun, moon, and stars are created at that time – well after the earth was created.”

      No Genesis does not say that the sun, moon, and stars are created at that time. That is Stenger’s misinterpretive add-on, and therefore another straw-man argument. Science says that a translucent cloud layer was removed at this time, so that the sun, moon, and stars shone through. This is what Genesis 1:15 means when it says, “lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth” on the 4th day.

      Lastly, Stenger says “Schroeder trots out all the old, tiresome arguments about why ‘life could not have stared by chance’ and how the simplest forms, even viruses, are ‘far too complex to have originated without there being an inherent chemical property of molecular self-organization and/or reaction enhancing catalysts at every step of their development.'”

      Please note that merely characterizing an argument as “old” and “tiresome” does nothing to refute that argument. He seems to confuse merely characterizing an argument with actually responding to that argument. Stenger says that chance is not necessarily the “only operative mechanism.” Do you agree? If so, then what are the other “operative mechanisms” that produced life from non-life?

      I am VERY EXTREMELY CURIOUS TO HEAR YOUR REPLY.

      Please consider the following description of the simplest living organism (the single cell), as excerpted from The Way of the Cell by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold, when crafting your response:

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”


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    gary says:

    Hi Scott,

    Here is the point I am trying to make: If one starts with an “inerrant” belief as one’s hypothesis and forces the facts to fit the hypothesis instead of the hypothesis fitting the facts, it is amazing the theories one can form.

    So, if I have already decided that Vladimir Putin IS the Beast, I look at facts and force them to fit my theory. The Putin in the Beast Theory above is my own invention just to prove this point.

    Now, I will provide an answer to your question below.


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    gary says:

    One other amazing fact that Christians have discovered in addition to the relationship between cosmic time and earth time:

    The Russian Federation contains ten ancient kingdoms described in the Book of Revelation. These nations represent the ten horns of the Beast. Gog and Magog were ancient names for St. Petersburg and Moscow respectively. The Book of Revelation (along with inferences in the Book of Daniel)predict that the forces of Evil will be led in the Battle of Armegeddon by the Beast himself. If you assign the number “1” to every consonant and the number “2” to every vowel in the name of Vladimir Putin you arrive at a total number of 18. If you multiply the number 18 by the number of male members of the Romanov dynasty whose first name included the letter “r”, (111), you obtain the number 1998, the year that Vladimir Putin was first noted to prefer the color black for his overcoat. Divide 1998 by the number 3, the secret code number of the Illuminati, what number do you get?

    Answer: 666

    The Mark of the Beast

    Vladimir Putin is the Beast.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      This is very ridiculous. Any intelligent third party viewer of this conversation can see that you are tying to divert attention from a question which you cannot answer. A diversionary tactic such as your irrelevant “Russian Federation Book of Revelation” paragraph is known as a “red herring argument.”

      Once again: The million million-to-one ratio at which cosmic time converts to Earth time (accepted by the respected peer-reviewed journal Nature) means that the roughly 13.8 billion Earth years convert to six cosmic days. This is the six day creation that the Bible speaks about. Please review the article which I linked to by Gerald Schroeder, who is both a biblical scholar and a physicist (formerly a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

      The question, yet again, is this: How could the Inspirer of the Bible know about both the relativity of time (thousands of years before Einstein discovered the relativity of time) and the exact ratio at which Earth time converts to cosmic time…if the Inspirer of the Bible is not God?

      I have found it useful to keep a counter of the number of times that an atheist ignores a question which cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of their belief system. THE COUNTER IS NOW ON TWO (2) FOR THIS QUESTION!

      Further, you seem to think that Christians are all one person. There may be some Christian somewhere who believes in the interpretation of the book of Revelation that you cite. But even if there were, what would be the relevance of this?


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    gary says:

    Hi Scott,

    I apologize if I did not address your points. However, we may be speaking about two different issues. You are saying that the Big Bang Theory and other scientific discoveries are compatible with the Biblical Creation Story, thereby proving the existence of the Creator God, Yahweh, the Trinitarian Christian God.

    My point is this: There may well be evidence for a Creator, but if such evidence exists, it does not automatically translate into the existence of the Christian God. When I was growing up as a born again evangelical Christian, it would have been heresy for any “true” Christian to deny a literal six day Creation, but now many evangelicals and other conservative/orthodox Christians see no problem with harmonizing Evolutionary Theory with the Biblical account in Genesis. How does this prove that the Christian God is the Creator, however? If you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 literally, they are completely incompatible with the Theory of Evolution. You have harmonized a story fhat Christians have believed for almost 2,000 years was a literal six day event.

    As far as the Hindu scriptures. What does this prove? How many “saviors” have had a similar story to Jesus? Isn’t it possible that Christians borrowed these details from the Hindus and not the other way around?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      You are not getting this. The REMARKABLE similarity between the biblical and scientific (Big Bang) accounts of creation demonstrate that whoever inspired the Bible clearly understood how the universe came to be thousands of years before modern science.

      Further, whoever inspired the Bible clearly understood both the relativity of time and the EXACT RATIO at which cosmic time converts to Earth time…thousands of years before modern science. As I mentioned, this million million-to-one ratio for converting cosmic time to Earth time is accepted by the highly respected, peer-reviewed journal Nature.

      When you use this ratio, the roughly 13.8 billion year old universe is about SIX DAYS old in terms of cosmic time. This explains the six day creation in the Bible.

      How could the Inspirer of the Bible know these things if that Inspirer was not God?!

      I do not read the first two chapters of Genesis entirely literally. Darwin’s theory of evolution does not conflict with the Bible. Rather, certain philosophical add-ons to this theory conflict with the Bible. These philosophical add-ons were put in place by people who subscribe to the matter-first worldview known as materialism (as described in this essay). I recommend my essay titled Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism.

      CHARLES DARWIN’S OWN VIEWS on this matter are instructive. In his autobiography, Darwin wrote:

      “Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”

      I have to point out that it would be impossible for Christians to borrow these concepts from the Hindus. First of all, Jesus was a historical figure, not a mythological one. Even ancient sources hostile towards Christianity, such as the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus and the ancient Roman historian Celsus, do not attempt to deny Jesus’ miracles. Celsus, for example, rather than denying Jesus’ miracles, accused him of sorcery. Celsus wrote:

      “It was by means of sorcery that He [Jesus] was able to accomplish the wonders which He performed… Let us believe that these cures, or the resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves… These are nothing more than the tricks of jugglers… It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of power…”

      Lastly, Jesus is mentioned in far more places than in the Hindu scriptures and the Old Testament prophecies that I linked to in my previous comment. Please read my essay titled Which God Is Real?

      An excerpt from this essay regarding how God’s self-sacrifice on the cross is mentioned in ancient Chinese imperial documents:

      Chinese Christian Chan Kei Thong writes in Finding God In Ancient China: How the Ancient Chinese Worshiped the God of the Bible:

      “The Bible recounts a dramatic astronomic phenomenon occurring at the cruxifiction:

      It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23: 44-46)

      Note that this solar eclipse lasted for three hours — from the sixth to the ninth hour, which is roughly noon to 3pm in modern timekeeping–before Jesus breathed His last. At that moment, the veil of the Jewish temple was supernaturally torn in two: a dramatic symbolization that the barrier between God and man was removed once and for all.”

      “Once again, this event is corroborated in the Chinese historical documents, which record a highly significant solar eclipse occurring around the time indicated in the biblical account:

      In the day of Gui Hai, the last day of the month, there was a solar eclipse, [The emperor] avoided the Throne Room, suspended all military activities, and did not handle official business for five days. And he proclaimed, ‘My poor character has caused this calamity, that the sun and the moon were veiled, I am fearful and trembling. What can I say?… Anyone who presents a memorial is not allowed to mention the word ‘holy’”.

      “Another entry made a short time later, referring to the same eclipse, said:

      Summer, fourth month [of the year], on the day of Ren Wu, the imperial edict reads, ‘Yin and Yang have mistakenly switched, and the sun and the moon were eclipsed. The sins of all the people are now on one man. [The emperor] proclaims pardon to all under heaven.’

      This solar eclipse was recorded in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, Gui Han was the last day of the third month in the spring, during the 7th year of Han Emperor Guang Wu (reigned A.D. 25 – 57). That corresponds to A.D. 31, which means that this major eclipse happened 34 years after the astral events involving the magi! “[At the time of Christ’s birth]

      “Even more incredibly, a commentary in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty, said simply,

      ‘Eclipse on the day of Gui Hai, Man from heaven died.’

      The man from heaven died! Could there be a more apt description or a more accurate understanding of the Cruxifiction?

      God’s love extends to all the nations of the world, and in some unique and unknown way, He gave special insight to Chinese astronomers to understand what He was doing. We are all sinners, even the emperor, but God laid all our sins on His only Son, Jesus Christ.”


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        Gary says:

        With every scientific discovery Christians have followed the same pattern:

        1. Denounce it as an evil attack on God and people of Faith.

        2. Once the evidence for the scientific claim is so overwhelming, Christians abandon the literal interpretation of the Bible passages in question and harmonize the scientific claim into their theology.

        This has been done with the following scientific discoveries and claims:

        -a spherical earth
        -heliocentricity
        -the age of the universe
        -evolution of species by natural selection
        -the absence of geological evidence for a world-wide flood.

        If any conservative orthodox or evangelical Christian had endorsed these views just 40 years ago, they would have been branded a liberal and run out of their church. If ANY Christian had adopted these views 150 ago he would have been branded a heretic and run out of his church. And if any Christian had adopted these views anytime in the first 1800 years of Christianity he would have been branded a heretic and executed by the Church.

        I am just wondering: In the future, when someone discovers a device that can locate the corpse/DNA of any human being who has ever lived, exactly how are you going to modify your Christian worldview when we find the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth?


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          This is even more ridiculous.

          When you say “Christians have followed the same pattern,” you seem to refer to “Christians” as if they are all one person. There are actually several billion Christians who have diverse views about scientific issues and about how literally scripture should be interpreted.

          Further, the Bible never endorsed a flat earth, or denounced heliocentricity, etc. This is because the Bible was never intended to teach science.

          Please give me an example of a Christian who endorsed a non-spherical earth based upon the Bible. Isaiah 40:22 mentions “the circle of the Earth.” Job 26:10 says, “He [God] drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,
          At the boundary of light and darkness.”

          Regarding the age of the universe, you have failed to respond to my citation of Gerald Schroeder, who is both a biblical scholar and a physicist (formerly a Professor of Physics at MIT). He shows how the six day creation is in perfect accord with modern science. This is because (as Einstein demonstrated) time is relative to the observer and Earth time converts to cosmic time at a million million-to-one ratio. Again, this ratio is accepted by the respected, peer-reviewed journal Nature. So, to the question of whether the universe was created in six days (as according to the Bible) or 13.8 billion years, the answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE. How could the inspirer of the Bible know about both the relativity of time (thousands of years before Einstein) and the exact ratio at which Earth time converts to cosmic time, if the Inspirer of the Bible is not God?

          PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE answer this question and do not try distract attention from your inability to answer this question (with another “red-herring” diversionary tactic)!!

          Regarding evolution by natural selection, you have failed to respond to the points I made in my essay titled Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism. The Bible has never conflicted with Darwin’s theory. Rather, the Bible has conflicted with shoddy philosophical add-ons to Darwin’s theory. Please note that the following two statements commit the same category error since they confuse different levels of causation:

          “Life was not created by God, but rather by natural processes.”

          “Cars are not created by people, but rather by manufacturing processes.”

          No matter how you slice it Gary, you cannot take scientific views that some of the several billion Christians have held and characterize them as “the Christian scientific views”…as if Christians are all the same person. When you do so, you are committing the Ad Hominem logical fallacy.


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    Mars says:

    Scott,
    OK, now this makes sense to me a little more. The forms and ideas exist within the mind of God, so they can be established as objectively existing. Now what I am confused about is how we know that the ideas which people come up with exist within the mind of God. If we hold up a book and say that it is a book, how can we say that this idea resonates within the mind of God, too (thus giving it objective existence)? It would seem that if a person wants to call a bunch of tightly bound pieces of paper a “book” then the existence of that book would only be subjective. What is the evidence that the book itself exists within the mind of God?
    I have seen The Matrix trilogy, and I think your on point with my issue and how it relates to the film. How my problem connects to the point that I described above is that in the film, the people who live in the digital world believe that their world is real, when the reality is that none of what they are experiencing — the cars, the roads, the buildings, the jobs, their homes — actually exists. And if it were the case that the Matrix was a true story, then God would not recognize any of the cars, roads, buildings, jobs, and homes as real either, as all of these things are an illusion. If our material world exists similar to that of a digital world, then wouldn’t it be that all of what we are experiencing — our cars, roads, buildings, jobs, and homes — does not exist either, but only as an illusion? The legitimacy of our creations and what we differentiate in the natural world can only be backed up when we know that those same ideas are also held by God, and I’m not finding evidence in favor of His recognition of our creations or definitions. I could say that a door is a door, and someone could walk up to me and jsut as well say that the door is actually a bed, and both of us would be either right or wrong.
    The reason why I was pointing out quantum physics earlier is because it doesn’t seem to address my above issue; it rather states that we can prove that particles exist within the mind of God; it does not provide evidence in favor of the creation of things made up of particles.
    I do recognize the limitations of human conceptualization. I just feel like the issue that I am having is a large hole in my understanding of the world. In truth, this is the last hole too. Once I come to a conclusion with this, I will be able to a consensus about things. Whenever I am in, say, a restaurant, I don’t want to have to question myself everytime I acnowledge the restaurant as a restaurant. I don’t want to keep asking myself: “Well, is this actually a restaurant?”. I just want to comfortably live with the fact that what I am in is a restaurant.


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      Mars says:

      Scott,
      On top of the confusion I have above, I also have a question about the relatively of time. Take a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO_Q_f1WgQI
      It seems that if time is relative and exists as a “flat circle”, wouldn’t this give way to determinism? It is implying that every single moment in history exists,and that all of our decisions are decided in the future. Wouldn’t this deny us our free will?


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        Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

        Mars,

        Time cannot be a “flat circle” because of the second law of thermodynamics. This law says that the entropy of the universe (which is a measure of disorder) is increasing. Put another way, the universe is “winding down” like a clock. The universe would have to wind itself back up…but this is impossible.

        I also recommend that you read my essay titled Atheism and the Denial of the Soul, which addresses the issue of determinism. An excerpt which discusses determinism:

        …as Montreal Neurological Institute neuroscientist Mario Beauregard points out in his book The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, determinism is impossible in light of the discoveries of modern physics:

        “There is a principle…called the Heisenberg Uncertainty (indeterminacy) principle. It says that subatomic particles do not occupy definite positions in space or time; we can find out where they are only as a series of probabilities about where they might be (we must decide what we want to know).”

        “This area of physics, quantum physics, is the study of the behavior of matter energy at the subatomic level of our universe. Briefly, the synapses, the spaces between neurons of the brain, conduct signals using parts of atoms called ions. The ions function according to the rules of quantum physics, not of classical physics.”

        “What difference does it make if quantum physics governs the brain? Well, one thing we can dispose of right away is determinism, the idea that everything in the universe has been or can be predetermined. The basic level of our universe is a cloud of probabilities, not of laws. In the human brain, this means that our brains are not driven to process a given decision; what we really experience is a ‘smear’ of possibilities. But how do we decide between them?”

        UCLA Professor or Research Psychiatry Jeffrey M. Schwartz echoes Beauregard’s points about the impossibility of determinism in light of modern physics, in his book The Mind & The Brain:

        “Though you would hardly know it from the arguments of those who appeal to physics to assert that all mental phenomena can be reduced to the electrochemical activity of neurons, physics has progressed from its classical Newtonian form and found itself in the strange land of the quantum. Once, physics dealt only with tangible objects: planets, balls, molecules, and atoms. Today, in the form of quantum mechanics, it describes a very different world, one built out of what [University of California, Berkeley physicist Henry] Stapp calls ‘a new kind of stuff,’ with properties of both the physical and the mental.”

        “…What we now know about quantum physics gives us reason to believe that conscious thoughts and volitions can, and do, play a powerful causal role in the world, including influencing the activity of the brain. Mind and matter, in other words, can interact.”


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          Mars says:

          Scott,
          Thank you for your reply! I never actually ascribed myself to determinism. Personally I do not accept it (one really can’t if they are religious). What I was saying was that if the point in the video was true, then wouldn’t it lead to determinism. But points about the Uncertainty Principle and Quantum Physics are great to bring up in the face of anyone who believe otherwise (i.e. atheists who recognize what their belief system entails).

          I believe I have found a quote that perfectly summarizes what has been bothering me. This is from Brian Green’s The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory:
          “The reductionist philosophy easily ignites heated debate. Many find it fatuous and downright repugnant to claim that the wonders of life and the universe are mere reflections of microscopic particles engaged in a pointless dance fully choreographed by the laws of physics. Is it really the case that feelings of joy, sorrow, or boredom are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain—reactions between molecules and atoms that, even more microscopically, are reactions between some of the particles in Table 1.1, which are really just vibrating strings?…At the other end of the spectrum are the opponents of reductionism who are appalled by what they feel to be the bleakness of modern science. To whatever extent they and their world can be reduced to a matter of particles or fields and their interactions, they feel diminished by that knowledge. … I would not try to answer these critics with a peptalk about the beauties of modern science. The reductionist worldview is chilling and impersonal. It has to be accepted as it is, not because we like it, but because that is the way the world works.”

          Now, while I do not accept reductionist theory as the prime describer of the universe’s ultimate reality (it doesn’t take into account quantum physics or consciousness) I do feel that the theory can be logically perscribed to matter, and things that we “make” with it. What is almost depressing to me is that the theory is that the “wonders of life and the universe are mere reflections of microscopic particles” and nothing more. So my question is this: Is the natural (material world) reductionist, as is described in the quote above, or can material things be differentiated among themselves?

          I am also confused about something that I brought up earlier: The forms and ideas exist within the mind of God, so they can be established as objectively existing. So, how can we know that the ideas which people come up with exist within the mind of God? If we hold up a book and say that it is a book, how can we say that this idea resonates within the mind of God, too (thus giving it objective existence)?


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    gary says:

    There may well be a Creator. There may well be millions of gods. There may be millions of supernatural beliefs that are really true. Almost every culture has its superstitions. So how do we determine which to believe and which to discount as very improbable and therefore beliefs that we should not lay awake at night worrying about? Do you worry that Allah is going to cast you into the Muslim hell? Of course not.

    Supernatural claims by definition cannot be proven false with physical evidence. We each must weigh what evidence we have available to us to determine the likelihood of a supernatural claim. You do not lie awake at night terrified of being cast into the Muslim hell by Allah because you do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to believe this supernatural claim.

    And I hold the same position regarding your Christian supernatural claims. Just as you are not angry at Allah, I am not angry at the Christian god. Just as you are not choosing to rebel against Allah, I am not choosing to rebel against Yahweh/the Trinitarian Christian god. You don’t worry about the Muslim hell because you don’t believe that Allah exists, as I do not believe that Yahweh exists. You would demand evidence from a Muslim to believe his supernatural ancient tale, as I am doing with you of your ancient supernatural tale.

    Most atheists and agnostics (including me) do not attempt to prove that a Creator does not exist. Our argument is that there is no evidence to prove that the Christian god is the Creator; that the Christian holy book is the very Word of the Creator; or that the Church represents the Creator here on earth. We believe in Science and Reason. Give us good evidence that the Christian god exists and we will believe. But give us evidence, don’t ask us to accept your supernatural tale by blind faith.

    You wouldn’t accept the Muslim story by blind faith, so why would you expect us to believe your Christian story by blind faith?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Gary,

      Nobody is asking you to accept the Christian God purely on faith. My Christian faith is grounded in reason.

      For example, in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?), I point out the REMARKABLE similarity between the biblical and scientific accounts of creation. An excerpt:

      …For those not familiar with “the Big Bang,” this cosmological event, now almost unanimously regarded as fact in the scientific community, constituted the beginning of the universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago, and bears eerie similarity to the biblical account of the universe’s creation. As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

      “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

      I also recommend that you read my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection. In this essay, I detail how acceptance of the facts surrounding Christ’s resurrection has become widespread among New Testament scholars in the last 40 years (this includes agnostic and atheist New Testament scholars, of which there are many). These facts make the resurrection very difficult to deny. An excerpt:

      Most disbelievers in Christ’s resurrection are likely blissfully unaware of just how far New Testament scholarship has swayed in favor of Jesus’ resurrection in the last 40 years. Readers are strongly encouraged to view a You Tube video titled The Historical Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection That Even Skeptics Believe:

      In this video, New Testament scholar Gary Habermas explains that, among New Testament scholars, if you talked about the empty tomb in the 1970’s “there would be a lot of snickering, and nobody but evangelicals who published in that area would accept it.”

      If you mentioned post-resurrection appearances in the 1970’s “everybody would have laughed.” However, Habermas reveals that, “Today, the majority of New Testament scholars, theologians, historians, and philosophers who publish in the area [including atheist and agnostic academics…not just Christians] believe in the empty tomb.”

      “In the 70’s, if you talked about bodily [post-resurrection] appearances of Jesus, they’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s nice. Go back to your church and talk about it, but don’t do it on a university campus.’”

      Today, however, belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the predominant view within New Testament scholarship.

      As Habermas puts it, “Today, bodily resurrection is the predominant view in the academy.” Habermas also notes that, “Raymond Brown (probably the most prominent New Testament scholar in America), shortly before his death, said that the majority of contemporary theologians are conservative today.”

      Habermas titles his argument for the resurrection of Jesus the “minimal facts argument” since it is based only upon the data that is granted, in his words, “by virtually all scholars on the subject, even the skeptical ones” (such as atheist and agnostic scholars). These five “minimal facts” are as follows (as detailed in his book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus):

      1) Jesus died by crucifixion
      2) Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.
      3) The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.
      4) The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.
      5) The tomb was empty.

      Habermas explains that the following phrase will receive virtually no dispute among contemporary New Testament scholars (whether Christian, agnostic, or atheist):

      “Jesus earliest followers had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus.” (Scroll forward to 52 minutes into the video to view Habermas make this statement).

      So how do atheist and agnostic scholars who accept the truth of the above statement make sense of it in light of their disbelief in Jesus’ resurrection? This article provides a good example of an atheist New Testament scholar who struggles to explain the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ resurrection through the lens of his belief system:

      “…Atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann maintains a priori rejection of the supernatural and yet he says, ‘It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.’ Although he accepts the historical evidence he concludes that the best explanation for it is that everybody who thought they saw the resurrected Jesus actually hallucinated. Peter hallucinated because he was overcome by grief for denying Jesus, Paul hallucinated on the road to Damascus, James the skeptical brother of Jesus hallucinated, and all the five hundred who saw Jesus at one time hallucinated.”

      It does not take a mathematician to conclude that the probability of several individuals having the SAME hallucination is infinitesimally small.


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        gary says:

        Thank you for your detailed reply.

        I would agree that the majority of evangelical and conservative Christian New Testament scholars believe that there was an empty tomb. The real question must be: What percentage of New Testament scholars are evangelical, conservative, orthodox, or Roman Catholic? I would bet the percentage is very high. Therefore, saying that the majority of New Testament scholars believe in the empty tomb is like saying the majority of Book of Mormon scholars believe that an angel appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him Golden Tablets! This fact does not prove the historical event and its supernatural claim in question.

        Most skeptics do not doubt that the disciples believed that they had seen a resurrected Jesus. The question is: “In what manner did they see him?”

        Do multiple people have the same vision today? Yes! Thousands of people have “seen” the Virgin Mary on multiple occasions. Thousands of Hindus have seen their Hindu statues cry milk! Superstitious people “see” some pretty incredible things, so believing that your dead friend and leader is alive because you “saw” him appear to you, spoke to you, and even touched you is NOT unheard of, in fact, it happens all the time.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Gary,

          Wrong. You are not getting this. Habermas reveals that, “Today, the majority of New Testament scholars, theologians, historians, and philosophers who publish in the area [including atheist and agnostic academics…not just Christians] believe in the empty tomb.”

          Further, you have failed to respond to the REMARKABLE similarity between the biblical and scientific accounts of creation which I pointed out. If you are really looking for the truth (and not a way to avoid having to answer to a higher power), I recommend that you read Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science and the Bible by Gerald Schroeder.

          Schroeder has the unique qualifications of being both a biblical scholar and a physicist (formerly a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

          Back to my points about New Testament scholarship: Nearly all New Testament scholars (whether Christian, agnostic, or atheist) accept the following facts:

          1) Jesus died by crucifixion
          2) Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.
          3) The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.
          4) The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.
          5) The tomb was empty.

          Habermas explains that the following phrase will receive virtually no dispute among contemporary New Testament scholars (whether Christian, agnostic, or atheist):

          “Jesus earliest followers had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus.” (Scroll forward to 52 minutes into the video to view Habermas make this statement).

          One can only make sense of these “minimal facts” if one accepts that Jesus rose from the dead. The “hallucination” explanation which is supported by many atheist New Testament scholars just does not work.

          “…Atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann maintains a priori rejection of the supernatural and yet he says, ‘It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.’ Although he accepts the historical evidence he concludes that the best explanation for it is that everybody who thought they saw the resurrected Jesus actually hallucinated. Peter hallucinated because he was overcome by grief for denying Jesus, Paul hallucinated on the road to Damascus, James the skeptical brother of Jesus hallucinated, and all the five hundred who saw Jesus at one time hallucinated.”

          It does not take a mathematician to conclude that the probability of several individuals having the SAME hallucination is infinitesimally small. Habermas comments on the absurdity of this proposition in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus:

          “Although the hallucination theory enjoyed some popularity over a hundred years ago and still has a few adherents, it suffers from a number of problems.”

          “First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.”

          “…Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

          Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

          “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

          ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

          The “Virgin Mary” appearances are not a good comparison because they involve seeing an image of Mary in a rainbow or in a window. They do not involve an actual appearance of Mary. Further, a hallucination cannot explain ALL of the minimal facts. For example, it cannot explain the empty tomb, or the fact that Paul and James (who were disbelieving skeptics) were suddenly changed.

          Please also read my essay titled Do Christ’s Divinity and Resurrection Defy Common Sense?

          An excerpt:

          An exhaustive exploration of the evidence for Christ’s divinity and resurrection would be impossible in the short span of an essay. However, what I can do is introduce the reader to brief excerpts of arguments from individuals who began their exploration of the gospels as hardened skeptics…but, as a result of their research, became believers. One such individual was the British journalist Frank Morrison. As an atheist setting out to write a book debunking the miraculous claims of the gospels, Morrison, much to his own amazement, eventually found himself, instead, writing a book confirming these miraculous claims. His book Who Moved the Stone? is, in his own words, “the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write another.” Below is an excerpt:

          “The modern reader, coming to these [biblical] passages with a certain instinctive reluctance to accept anything that transcends the field of normal experience is inclined to say, ‘I can understand Jesus predicting His own death. He must have foreseen what was the probable outcome of the ever-widening gap between Himself and the priests, and I think it is not unlikely that He may have prepared the disciples privately for the event. But surely these direct references to His rising from the dead can have been written only after His death and are not an integral part of the original utterances.’ Let us admit frankly that it does look like that at first sight. However, when we come to examine closely the minutes of this trial with all its primitive marks of authenticity, its meticulous and, in the end, fruitless hearing of hostile witnesses, we make the startling discovery that these very words (‘in three days’), which reason asserts could never have been uttered by Christ, are precisely the words that according to all the witnesses formed the pith and core of the fatal and historic sentence with which He was charged. It would have been a strange coincidence indeed if the one sentence chosen by the enemies of Christ on which to base the most deadly charge they could bring against Him found no counterpart or parallel whatever in all the varied teaching of the two preceding years.”

          Warner Wallace is a former cold-case homicide detective who, like Morrison, began his exploration of the gospels as a hardened skeptic (and atheist). Wallace’s experience as a cold-case detective provided him with an expertise in analyzing written eyewitness statements, which he was able to apply to the eyewitness accounts of the gospels. He writes in his book Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels:

          “In the end, it all comes down to the reliability of these accounts. When I was a nonbeliever, I heard Christians talk about the inerrancy or infallibility of the Bible, at least as these terms are typically applied to the original manuscripts that were composed by the authors. I examined these concepts in depth in seminary many years later, but as I first read the accounts in the Gospels, I was far more interested in evaluating their reliability as eyewitness accounts than their inerrancy as divine communiqués. I knew from my experience as a detective that the best eyewitness accounts contained points of disagreement and that this did not automatically invalidate their reliability.”

          “If it was God’s desire to provide us with an accurate and reliable account of the life of Jesus, an account we could trust and recognize as consistent with other forms of eyewitness testimony, God surely accomplished it with the four gospel accounts. Yes, the accounts are messy. They are filled with idiosyncrasies and personal perspectives along with common retellings of familiar stories. There are places where critics can argue that there appear to be contradictions, and there are places where each account focuses on something important to the author, while ignoring details of importance to other writers. But would we expect anything less from true, reliable eyewitness accounts? I certainly would not, based on what I’ve seen over the years.”

          But perhaps the most prominent example of an atheist who became a believer as a result of his research into the gospels was C.S. Lewis: A Professor of Medieval and Renaissance studies at Cambridge University, Lewis was a mythology expert of the highest caliber (with a photographic memory). Art Lindsley recalls in C.S. Lewis’ Case for Christ that:

          “When Lewis examined the Gospel narratives, having already become an expert in mythology, he was surprised to find that his literary judgment told him that they were more than myths:”

          “[Lewis wrote] ‘I was now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myths. They had not the mythical taste. And yet the very matter that they set down in their artless, historical fashion…was precisely the matter of the great myths. If ever a myth had become fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh: God, Man.’”

          And, regarding the reliability of the Gospel accounts, Norman Geisler notes in Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith:

          “Simon Greenleaf, one of history’s greatest legal minds, former Harvard law professor, and author of a book on legal evidence, carefully applied the rules of legal evidence to the Gospel accounts in his book The Testimony of the Evangelists. He argued that if the Gospels were submitted to the scrutiny of a court of law, ‘then it is believed that every honest and impartial man will act consistently with that result, by receiving their testimony in all the extent of its import.’ He added, ‘Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.’”

          I would like to conclude this essay by quoting scripture. But before any hardened atheist or agnostic readers click away from this page in disgust, I should mention that I have decided to spice things up by quoting HINDU scripture (The Vedas which date to at least 1200 B.C. and the Upanishads which date to around 500-400 B.C….as excerpted from The Christ Connection: How the World Religions Prepared the Way for the Phenomenon of Jesus by Roy Abraham Varghese). I do this in order to give a taste of the references to God’s self-sacrifice on the cross which are present in other cultures and time periods (which I detail in Which God Is Real?) :

          “The Supreme Creator took a perfect human body (Nishkalanka Purusha) and offered it up as a self-sacrifice (Brihad Aranyak Upanishad 1:2:8).”

          “If you want to be delivered from the sin, which you commit through eyes, mouth, ears and mind, bloodshed is necessary. Without shedding the blood, there is no remission for sin. That must be the blood of the Holy one. God is our creator. He is our King. When we were perishing, He came to save us by offering even his own body on our behalf.” (Tandya Mahabrahmana 4.15).

          “The redemption is through shedding of blood only and that blood has to be through the sacrifice of God himself.” (Taittiriya Aranyaka, verse 3).

          “This [sacrifice] is the only way for the redemption and liberation of mankind. Those who meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.” (Yajur-Veda 31:18)

          “The Purusha was above sin, and only in knowing him does one attain immortality.” (Chandogyopanishad 1:6:6-7)

          “After giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice, this Purush resurrected himself.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28.4-5; Kathopanishad 3: 15).

          “The purpose of this sacrifice is to provide the only way to Heaven and the only way to escape from Hell.” (Rig-Veda 9:113:7-11; 4:5:5; 7:104:3).

          “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa [a wooden pole] causing blood shed.” (Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3.9.28; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6).

          “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines.” (Rig-Veda 10:90:7, Brihadaranyakaopanishad 3:9:28).

          “Before death he should be given a drink of somarasa [sour wine made of an herb called somalatha].” (Yajur-Veda 31).

          “None of His bones must be broken.” (Yajur-Veda 31:; Aitareya Brahmana 2:6)


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            gary says:

            Again, thank you for your detailed response.

            Gary Habermas and William Lane Craig repeatedly make the claim that the majority of New Testament scholars, including liberals and atheists, believe there was an empty tomb. Does that mean we should just take Habermas’ and Craig’s word for it? I would like to see a list of these scholars. Again, the majority of New Testament scholars are Christians, so saying that the majority of NT scholars believe in the empty tomb is not surprising. If you can show me that the majority of atheist and liberal Christian scholars believe that there was an empty tomb, then your point will have much more credibility, at least to me. Please direct me to such a list.

            Other than the empty tomb, I agree with other four points. But I must question this assumption that you make:

            “One can only make sense of these “minimal facts” if one accepts that Jesus rose from the dead. The “hallucination” explanation which is supported by many atheist New Testament scholars just does not work.”

            I will comment on this point in a separate comment. Let me say this: I have no problem submitting to a Higher Power. But just as you would not submit to Allah or Krishna as that higher power without evidence, I am not willing to submit to Yahweh/the Trinitarian God without evidence. If you can provide me with good evidence, not just hearsay and assumptions, I will whole-heartedly believe. However, so far in my discussions with conservative Christians I have not been presented with any good evidence. I ask for the same level of credible evidence that you would demand to believe the Muslim or Hindu supernatural story. I am not willing to believe any of these religions’ supernatural tales without evidence.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Gary,

              This is very strange. I cited two ultra-elite scientists who note the REMARKABLE similarity between the biblical and scientific (Big Bang) accounts of the creation of the universe. I cited a biblical scholar and physicist (formerly a Professor of Physics at MIT) who wrote an entire book about this. I cited the very clear references to Jesus in the Hindu scriptures (Vedas and Upanishads).

              But, instead of responding, you ignore the evidence I present and claim that you “have not been presented with any good evidence.” Ignoring the evidence presented while simultaneously asserting that there is “no good evidence” commits the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. You seem to think that you can just assert that there is “no good evidence” while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to you, and still maintain a posture of intellectual integrity. I see this logical fallacy very frequently when debating atheists.

              Further, refusing to entertain arguments from people who disagree with you is circular reasoning…open-and-shut.

              As Habermas notes, “Raymond Brown (probably the most prominent New Testament scholar in America), shortly before his death, said that the majority of contemporary theologians are conservative today.” This is despite the fact that 40 years ago, the vast majority of New Testament scholars DID NOT accept the empty tomb. Therefore, your assertion that “the majority of New Testament scholars are Christians” falls flat on its face. If the majority of New Testament scholars are Christians, why did they not accept the empty tomb 40 years ago?

              Further, it is not just New Testament scholars. As Habermas notes, “Today, the majority of New Testament scholars, theologians, historians, and philosophers who publish in the area [including atheist and agnostic academics…not just Christians] believe in the empty tomb.”

              Are the majority of historians and philosophers who publish in the area also Christians? Are you going to reject these facts merely because they are presented by a Christian? If so, you are, again, committing circular reasoning. A copy and paste, again, regarding the views of the ATHEIST New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann:

              “…Atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann maintains a priori rejection of the supernatural and yet he says, ‘It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.’ Although he accepts the historical evidence he concludes that the best explanation for it is that everybody who thought they saw the resurrected Jesus actually hallucinated. Peter hallucinated because he was overcome by grief for denying Jesus, Paul hallucinated on the road to Damascus, James the skeptical brother of Jesus hallucinated, and all the five hundred who saw Jesus at one time hallucinated.”

              Further, click here to see a list of 44 prophecies from the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus.

              Still further, please click here to read an article by Gerald Schroeder (who, again, is a biblical scholar and former Professor of Physics at MIT) in which he shows how the Bible understood the relativity of time thousands of years before Einstein. An excerpt:

              14 billion years or six days?

              Today, we look back in time and we see approximately 14 billion years of history and those years went by. But how would they be perceived from the Bible’s perspective of time? Looking forward from when the universe was very small – billions of times smaller – the Bible teaches that six days passed. In truth, they both are correct. What’s exciting about the last few years is that we now have quantified the data to know the relationship between the perception of time from the beginning of stable matter, the threshold energy of protons (their nucleosynthesis), looking forward and our measure of the history of the universe. It’s not science fiction any longer. A dozen physics textbooks all bring the same generalized number. The general relationship of the stretching of space between the era of proton anti-proton formation, that time near the beginning at the threshold energy of protons when the first stable matter formed, and time today is a million million. That’s a 1 with 12 zeros after it. Space has stretched by a million million. So when a view from the beginning looking forward says “I’m sending you a pulse every second,” would we see a pulse every second? No. We’d see one every million million seconds. That’s the stretching effect of the expansion of the universe on the perception of time.

              Schroeder notes that the million million-to-one ratio used to convert cosmic time to Earth time is accepted by the prestigious, peer-reviewed journal Nature. So, WHOEVER INSPIRED THE BIBLE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BOTH THE RELATIVITY OF TIME AND THE EXACT RATIO AT WHICH COSMIC TIME CONVERTS TO EARTH TIME THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE MODERN SCIENCE!!

              Are you going to just ignore this evidence and make another repeated assertion that there is “no good evidence?” Go ahead, but you will not be fooling anyone and all intelligent third-party viewers will immediately recognize that you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion.


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    Mars says:

    Hi Scott,
    First I would like to thank you for putting up a great website. I’ve referred to it many times over the years, and it has helped me strengthen my faith. I have a big question that I haven’t been able to get off my head for a long time, and it has been holding me down.

    First off, in this essay you make the following claim:

    “Material things cannot have ‘a complete, absolute independent reality in themselves’ because, as modern physics has demonstrated, the material world cannot exist independent from consciousness (mind). There is no reality independent of mind.”

    I recently came to this conclusion on my own, and I have a pretty big issue with it. This idea implies that nothing except out minds exist. This makes everything, atleast to me, very uninteresting because it implies that everything is relatively everything else, and that matter in and of itself does not exist. For example, lets take a chair. One could say that this chair isn’t a chair at all, but really just a lot of planks of wood being tightly bound together by metal nails. But then again, one could say that the wood planks are not wood planks at all, but just tightly bound atoms. Likewise, one could say the same thing for the metal nails. But even then this would not be true. One could say that the tightly bound atoms are actually even more tightly bound protons and neutrons with electrons there too. But then EVEN THIS could not be true, as you could argue that the protons and neutrons are made up of even tighter quarks and strings! AND EVEN THEN, one could argue that the quarks and strings don’t have any reality in and of themselves! All of this, while I would like to think that the chair is a chair!! It takes away the reality of the things in the material world, and suggests that the natural world doesn’t exist in and of itself.

    A natural phenomenon in which this could be perscribed would be in making reference to the stratosphere. Consciously, we want to be able to organize things, so as to be able to comprehend the universe as best a way as possible. So when we refer to the stratosphere, we are only referencing a part of the sky, but the stratosphere doesn’t exist in and of itself.

    An unnatural example of this could be drawn from your example of the Ford car manufacturing plant. One could say that the manufacturing plant does not exist, because all it is, is a lot of aluminum, wood, and steel (or whatever else makes a manufacturing plant) being tightly held together by other seperate metal nails. It is not a plant, but it is the materials which are forced together really tightly. What is contradictory is that you say that the car plant exists, but you also say here that material objects don’t have an “independent, material reality in themselves”. So does it exist, or does it not? And if it does exist, is it our minds which give it its reality? This actually seems to tie in with the Ship of Theseus perfectly.

    This idea essentially eliminates any identity except that of the mind of a person. And I don’t like it, because it makes the natural world uninteresting. Because material object’s don’t have their own identities, but exist relatively the same as everything else (since all matter is made of quarks, strings, etc.), I could say that a flower pot is relatively the same as a car. All barriers that seperate flower pots from everything else fall, just as barriers for everything else in the natural world seem to fall. The absolutes which do exist seem to only be in our minds, and don’t exist externally.

    The same idea can be applied to gravity. You address it as a real thing, when it isn’t actually something in and of itself, but only is the end result of a curvature in spacetime. It ceases to be a law, and acts as a descripter for what happens when you put a really heavy mass on a spacetime plane. It loses itself, in a sense. And I’m over here wanting gravity to be a real thing.

    Everything seems to just loose what makes it unique, independent, and existent. Now, I agree with you that consiousness is the prime reality, and I believe that matter is not the same as consiousness. So, with this reality that is dependent on the mind, is it that our mind is able to construct exterior barriers for outside objects, and thus give something like a flower pot an independent, absolute reality in itself? I would sure like that to be true. It really is what makes the universe so awe-inspiring. It says that our minds aren’t the only things that exist in and of themselves. The idea of external objects not existing has personally been bugging me very much because when I go out to, say, watch a movie, I can’t stop thinking that what I am looking at is not really a movie at all, but only a bunch of light on a screen. There is no way of proving that the film itself exists externally from my mind, nor could I also suggest that the film reel itself is nothing more than photos that were edited and brought together, or if it is just tightly held atoms.

    If you could help me with this, it would be much appreciated. Again, thanks for hosting such a great website :)


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Mars,

      Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to hear that my website has helped someone’s faith! Thank you so much for letting me know!

      You suggest that my essay implies that “nothing except our minds exists.” This is not the case at all. The mind of God is the mind which has created the material world. The mind of God is the “prime reality,” or the something-from-which-everything-else-comes.

      You ask if the car plant exists or not. The answer is yes. Theism says that things exist, but that they are the product of an eternally existent consciousness (God). Material things have an existence independent of our minds…in the mind of God. As I discuss in God Is Real, How Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, modern physics has shown that the observation of a conscious observer is necessary to produce physical reality. But since humans have not always existed, there needs to be a mind which produces the physical reality in which we are participants.

      I strongly recommend that you view the video titled Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism by Inspiring Philosophy.…at least from about 12:30 until the end (at 17:30). This is the video that I embedded at the above mentioned essay, and you can view it there or directly on YouTube. The commentary by the renowned physicist Michio Kaku, I think, would be particularly helpful to you (it begins at about 14:00). And at about 15:45 in the video by Inspiring Philosophy, the narrator says, “we just use our free will to participate in deciding what the outcome will be, whether a wave or particle result. But we don’t get to choose the specifics. So the evidence suggests that we are just lesser minds dependent on a larger mind that is actually in control of the structure of the experience.”

      You say that “the idea of external objects not existing has been personally bugging” you. The implications of quantum physics are not that external objects do not exist, but that they are the products of the mind of God. The mind of God is the “prime reality,” or the something-from-which-everything-else-comes.

      Does this clarify things for you? Let me know.

      Scott


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        Mars says:

        Scott,
        Thank you for replying! Your comment does help clarify my issue, particularily when you bring up Michio Kaku’s quote. I am still sort of confused though. That’s on me though; I didn’t articulate my thoughts clearly enough.

        The video in and of itself is great, and it does provide insight into how and why matter does exist after it collapses from a wave function into a particle, but it seems to only provide great evidence for just that: the existence of particles in the real world, and nothing more. What sets me back is that quantum physics does not allow for us to constitute the reality of things which we “make” using these real particles, no matter how densely we pack them together. For example, with the support of quantum physics, I could say that there is a watch in my hand, and it is for sure a lot of real particles densley packed together. The wave function for each of these particles has been collapsed upon observation, and so I have me a lot of particles. I could not argue with quantum physics that these densley packed particles make up a watch. What seems to make a watch what it is, is its identity, or the independent reality in and of itself. So how can I provide evidence in favor of the existence of a “watch”? I can certainly provide evidence in favor of the particles in my hand where the watch would be, but I can’t say that the watch in and of itself exists, despite how much we may want it to exist.

        When you talk about the existence of the car plant, you say: “Theism says that things exist, but that they are the product of an eternally existent consciousness (God). Material things have an existence independent of our minds…in the mind of God”. While this is true for the most fundamental particles, It isn’t true for things such as the inventions of humans. Does this imply that a watch exists independent of our minds because God recognizes the watch as a watch? It would seem otherwise, becuase it is the invention of a human; but once the human is done, say, inventing his watch, does his recognition of the finality of the creation of the watch justify its objective existence external from that person? I can’t find any evidence in support of human recognition of a watch justifying its objective existence, outside of our minds.

        Could you also give your thoughts on the Ship of Theseus? According to a theistic approach of the question, it should be that the ship made entirely out of new parts should be the Ship of Theseus, whereas the parts to the original Ship of Theseus would be the remnants of what it used to be. And it would also seem that a materialistic approach to the problem would take the opposite stance; that the ship made out of the original parts is the Ship of Theseus, whereas the new parts put together are not the Ship of Theseus. My problem is that in neither situation the existence of the Ship of Theseus can seem to be supported, because of quantum physics’ lack of explaining the existence of things larger than particles, or densley packed particles. Quantum physics could take a stance when the ship is really only recognized as nothing more than a bunch of densley packed particles, but it could not make a case for a “ship” in and of itself.

        I also have a question about the first sentence in Kaku’s quote. He says: “We just use our free will to participate in deciding what the outcome will be, whether a wave or particle result.” Does this mean that when we excercise our free will, the only choice we can make is that of either intentionally collapsing a particle through observing it, or choosing not to observe it, and thus making it exist in a state of wave funcitionality? And what does he mean when he says that we don’t get to choose the “specifics”? Do the specifics mean the ways in which the particles fold out in reality? I’m confused about this.

        On a side note, I have another question about the existence of the laws of physics (just normal phyics this time, thank God). If the “laws” as we recognize them are really just descriptive of what happens in nature, as opposed to being entities in and of themselves, then what are they, and what are the true laws which govern the material world? Sounds like a weird question, but I’m confused about it. An example of this can be outlined in my description of gravity in my original post about it only being the result of a curvature in spacetime rather than being an entity in and of itself.

        Personally I’m finding myself leaning toward a reality in which something like the ship, or the watch, or gravity do exist, because I don’t believe that God would want us to be living out our lives through the illusion that the large things which we create aren’t actually there, but just a ton of tiny particles transfering between states.

        If you are confused about any of what I said, let me know. It certainly doesn’t help that my high school teacher is teaching me about Newtonian physics and nothing else… something which they should realize has been discredited in a sense for around a hundred years thanks to Einstein.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Mars,

          I must admit that I do not entirely understand your question. But, let me respond with and answer to what I think may be your question.

          Are you familiar with the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s Theory of Forms? Please click here to read a Wikipedia post about it. An excerpt:

          Plato’s theory of Forms or theory of Ideas asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.

          Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” can be used to express his Theory of Forms. Click here to read a Wikipedia post about his “Allegory of the Cave.” An excerpt:

          Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

          The allegory may be related to Plato’s Theory of Forms, according to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas”), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.

          So, using Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, material things are like the shadows on the cave wall, and “forms” or “ideas” are the “highest and most fundamental things”…which are held in front of the flame to create the shadow.

          Does that help clarify?


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            Mars says:

            Scott,
            Your comment does address the question that I was asking! Also, your summary of the Allegory of the Cave helps me even more, but there is still a piece to this whole thing that I am not understanding.
            With regard to the Allegory of the Cave, does this mean that the “forms” or “ideas” exist inherent in the shadow itself? Or, does the “form” or “idea” exist only within the people’s minds?
            Another way I could refer to my problem is by stating my issue like this: Say a person is looking at watch on the table. Does the “form”, or “idea”, of the watch exist inherent in the matter which makes up the watch itself, or does the idea of the watch exist only within the mind of that person? Does the substance (idea/soul) of the watch exist external from our heads, or does the substance exist built-in to the matter of the watch itself?
            Again, let me know if I need to clarify anything.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Mars,

              The “forms” or “ideas” exist within the mind of God. The material world is a “shadow” world.

              Have you seen the movie The Matrix with Keanu Reeves? This movie was, in part, inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. What the characters in the movie experience as the physical world is only an illusion created in a computer program. I am not suggesting that we are living in a computer simulated reality, but I am suggesting that the physical world is not the “highest and most fundamental kind of reality.”

              Consider the following excerpt from the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus in which Socrates points out our inability to KNOW if we are awake, or merely dreaming everything that happens to us:

              Socrates: The question I imagine you have often heard asked— what evidence could be appealed to, supposing we were asked at this very moment whether we are asleep or awake, dreaming all that passes through our minds or talking to one another in the waking state?

              Theaetetus: Indeed, Socrates, I do not see by what evidence it is to be proved, for the two conditions correspond in every circumstance like exact counterparts.

              The idea that the physical world is best compared to a dream or a shadow on the wall (and not the “highest and most fundamental kind of reality”) is very difficult for Western minds (such as ours) to grasp. This is because our culture has very deeply entrenched materialist assumptions that we usually do not even realize that we are making.

              Renowned physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin explain how materialism/naturalism took such a strong hold on the modern western worldview, and therefore persists despite being incompatible with modern physics, in their book The Matter Myth:

              “…At the time of the publication of the Principia [Isaac Newton’s landmark work] the most sophisticated machines were clocks, and Newton’s image of the working of nature as an elaborate clockwork struck a deep chord.”

              “…It is hard to overstate the impact that these physical images have had in shaping our world view. The doctrine that the physical universe consists of inert matter locked into a sort of gigantic deterministic clockwork has penetrated all branches of human inquiry. Materialism dominates biology, for example. Living organisms are regarded as nothing more than complicated collections of particles, each being blindly pulled and pushed by its neighbors.”

              Imagine how hard it was for people to accept the fact that the Earth is round…when this was first discovered. They must have thought, “If the world is round, why doesn’t everything just fall off?”

              Much as a spherical Earth was a non-intuitive shock to such people, the revelation that the material world is not the “highest and most fundamental kind of reality” is a non-intuitive shock to the Western mind.

              Lastly, please remember to give due consideration to the limitations of human language and human conceptualization when you ponder these very deep ontological issues. Ultimately, human language and concepts run up against a wall. As the Bible says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly.”


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    It seems to me that we are gradually moving from a theoretical understanding of the “mental universe” toward a practical understanding. Quantum theory, philosophical idealism, dreams, hallucinations, psychic phenomena, and the broad category of “spirituality” all show that mind is the source of reality. Meanwhile, however, we spend billions of dollars on ever-more powerful particle smashers looking for ultimate reality in a fundamental thing outside of the mind. We are not quite ready to accept the practical consequences of accepting the world as a product of the mind, for this means that the world must be a dream, and for now, we want the world to be more than a dream. But if our essence were also “dream-stuff” what difference would it make? I present a long argument in support of this viewpoint in my book, The Collapse of Materialism, for those wondering if there is anything to this way of thinking. http://www.amazon.com/The-Collapse-Materialism-Visions-Science/dp/193790721X. I also interview a wide variety of guests in this field on my show Conversations Beyond Science and Religion at webtalkradio.net


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Phillip,

      Thanks for commenting! I don’t get too many comments from authors!

      I fear that materialism is so deeply entrenched in academia (and our culture) that it will take a very long time to dislodge. Materialism dates all the way back to the ancient Greek atomist philosophers such as Democritus (if I have my history of science right).

      In his landmark work on the history, psychology, and sociology of science titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn describes the crucial role preconceived beliefs (such as materialism) play in shaping and directing the conclusions of those in the scientific community:

      “Effective research scarcely begins before a scientific community thinks it has acquired firm answers to questions like the following: What are the fundamental entities of which the universe is composed? How do these interact with each other and with the senses? What questions may legitimately be asked about such entities and what techniques employed in seeking solutions? At least in the mature sciences, answers (or full substitutes for answers) to questions like these are fully embedded in the educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice. Because that education is both rigorous and rigid, these answers come to exert a deep hold on the scientific mind. That they can do so does much to account for the peculiar efficiency of the normal research activity and for the direction in which it proceeds at any given time. When examining normal science [I shall] describe that research as a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education.”


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        Yes, Thomas Kuhn was right and in my opinion materialism’s days as the leading paradigm are coming to end because it no longer adequately explains all worldly phenomena. With regard to the entrenchment of materialism I quote a famous musician who said, “the harder they come, the harder they fall.”


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    Andrea says:

    Awesome


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    Nick says:

    Scott,

    I’m not sure I’d use Albert Einstein here. He’s largely regarded as a sort of pantheist, not your typical theist – especially not your particular form of theism, Christianity. In fact, this brings me to a question:

    Would a supernatural force keeping atoms together, and thereby the force responsible for the continued existence of our universe, really have to be conscious? Would the “thing” that existed prior to the Big Bang (an incident that does not require intelligence) *need* to be intelligent? If so, would it *need* to be theistic as opposed to, say, deistic?

    And what of the theory that proposes universes are merely bubbles in a greater “multiverse,” with various explanations of where “big bangs” may come from? I’m just not sure our failure to fully understand certain aspects of our physical reality (yet) ought to convince us a theistic god who actually interferes with our lives exists. I could just as easily conclude deism or pantheism is true. Or, perhaps, I could simply admit we don’t know the answers to those questions yet.

    Would you really consider that so unreasonable?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Nick,

      No, Einstein was not a pantheist. Einstein said:

      “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”

      Let me respond to the rest of your comment tomorrow…I am going to dinner.

      Scott


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        Nick says:

        “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

        -Albert Einstein

        Whether or not he called himself a Pantheist, such a statement could easily be interpreted and categorized as Pantheist. But even if he wasn’t a Pantheist…

        “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists,” he replied, “not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”

        -Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp (The Open Court Publishing Co., La Salle, Illinois, Third Edition, 1970) pp. 659 – 660.

        …I’m not so sure I’d use him in connection with any Theistic doctrine. Spinoza’s God was most certainly not Theistic. His god was also not Deistic by definition, for Spinoza didn’t divide reality between the universe and the divine, but considered God and the universe two sides of the same coin. In other words, the Universe is God.

        Sounds awfully like Pantheism to me. But at the least, it certainly doesn’t sound like Theism.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Nick,

          To be clear, Einstein was neither a pantheist nor a theist. Rather, he was a deist. Deists believe in God, but not a personal God…as your citation indicates. Einstein’s views on God evolved throughout his life, and he settled into deism towards the end of his life.

          So you are certainly correct that Einstein should not be cited as a supporter of theism. However, please note that the title of this essay is God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. In other words, the intent of this post is to establish the existence of God, and not to argue specific theological stances. I make a case for theism (as opposed to other theological stances) in other posts such as Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance) and On the Bible and Fairy Tales…ATHEIST Fairy Tales.

          So, let me make a few final points regarding Einstein and God:

          1) Einstein was very explicit about his belief in God (no wiggle room here whatsoever).
          2) Theological considerations (in other words, what type of God exists) are an entirely different subject matter from whether or not God exists.
          3) Einstein died in 1955, which was before the emergence of Big Bang science. As I detail in the first of the two above essays, Big Bang science shows a REMARKABLE similarity to the biblical account of creation. Therefore, Einstein did not have all of the information that we have today. To this end, a couple citations from Is There A God? (What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance?):

          As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

          “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

          Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

          “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

          A citation from On the Bible and Fairy Tales…ATHEIST Fairy Tales:

          “Here is evidence for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way that this could have been predicted within the realm of physics as we know it.”

          –Astronomer Allan Sandage, winner of the Crafoord Prize (the highest award in astronomy), discussing the origin of the universe. Sandage is considered to be one of the founders of modern astronomy and was widely regarded to be the world’s greatest cosmologist until his death in 2010. He came to belief in God as a result of his science, as he announced at a conference on the origin of the universe in 1985. He also became a Christian.

          Regarding the questions you asked in your previous post:

          You ask: “Would a supernatural force keeping atoms together, and thereby the force responsible for the continued existence of our universe, really have to be conscious? Would the ‘thing’ that existed prior to the Big Bang (an incident that does not require intelligence) *need* to be intelligent?”

          The answer is yes. Please recall the citation I provide in this essay from Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry:

          “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.”
          [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

          In short, modern physics has shown that THERE IS NO REALITY INDEPENDENT OF CONSCIOUSNESS: To this end, I cite a couple of the most important contributors to modern physics:

          “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

          –Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory.

          “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

          –Erwin Schroedinger, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”

          Next, you ask: “And what of the theory that proposes universes are merely bubbles in a greater ‘multiverse,’ with various explanations of where ‘big bangs’ may come from? I’m just not sure our failure to fully understand certain aspects of our physical reality (yet) ought to convince us a theistic god who actually interferes with our lives exists. I could just as easily conclude deism or pantheism is true.”

          Nick, what relevance does the proposed existence of multiple universes have to the fact that physical reality is the construct of a conscious being? As a theist, I have no particular reason to disbelieve in the existence of multiple universes. In fact, I find it entirely reasonable to believe that an infinite God may choose to create, well…infinitely. Please explain how the proposed existence of multiple universes or “bubble” universes is relevant to the subject matter we are discussing.

          Considering what we know about physical reality being a construct of consciousness, what reason would there be to entertain non-conscious explanations for the origin of our universe (or a multiverse in which our universe may be situated)? The need to find materialistic (non-conscious) explanations can only stem from an ideological necessity, not a logical necessity.

          Scott


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    Ron says:

    Sorry for the duplicate posts, but the Webmaster or whoever kept rejecting the first post as “unreadable”, so I tried again with a shorter version. They say the same thing: Eben Alexander is a fraud.


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    Ron says:

    Eben Alexander’s “heaven” included no Jesus whatsoever, and referred to God as something like “Omm”. New Age impersonation of a “believer.” Heaven with no sight or mention of Jesus? Please!


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    Ron says:

    Regarding Eben Alexander’s supposed visit to Heaven, I don’t buy it.
    I buy the idea of Heaven, but EA’s account of his visit included exactly zero mention of seeing Jesus anytime during that adventure. And he kept mentioning a strange reference to something like “Omm” when referring, I think, to what he felt was God. I mean, come on, Scott, how can you, as a Christian, fall for New Age nonsense like that?


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    Ron says:

    Re Eben Alexander’s supposed visit to Heaven, I don’t buy it.
    I buy the idea of Heaven, but EA’s account of his visit included exactly zero mention of seeing Jesus anytime during that adventure. And he kept mentioning a strange reference to something like “Omm” when referring, I think, to what he felt was God. I mean, come on, Scott, how can you, as a Christian, fall for New Age nonsense like that?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Ron,

      I think the crucial problem with “New Age” belief is that it endorses a monist ontology. Monism is the belief that God, the universe, and all of us humans are all ONE…as is the case with one (but only one) of the six schools of Hinduism. Conversely, theism teaches that the universe and God are separate.

      Although Alexander uses the term “Omm,” he endorses THEISM and not monism (unless I have missed something). At no point (of which I am aware) does Alexander make any statements to the effect of “we and the universe are all one.” Quite to the contrary, Alexander endorses Christian theism.

      I, like you, would have preferred it if Alexander had encountered Jesus in his NDE. However, just because he did not encounter Jesus in his NDE does not mean that his NDE suggests that Jesus is not really God. As a parallel, do all people who vacation in Paris experience the Eiffel Tower? Probably the vast majority do, but if some do not, does this mean that the Eiffel Tower does not exist?

      Have you considered the possibility that God did not include Jesus in Alexander’s NDE because God wanted to reach out to those who are not yet ready to accept Jesus? In other words, perhaps God wanted to use Alexander’s testimony as a stepping stone to acceptance of Jesus…for those who are so anti-Christian that they reflexively stop paying attention when any mention is made of Jesus. (I know a few of these people).

      This is speculation, sure. However, God reaches out to people where they are spiritually, and perhaps God needs to reach out to some people regarding his own existence before he can reach out to them about salvation through Jesus.

      Moreover, many people are so deeply immersed in the materialist/naturalist belief system (in which atheism is grounded) that they cannot perceive the reality of the spiritual world. God needs to reach out to these people about the reality of the spiritual world…perhaps before he can even reach out to them about his own existence.

      Even though Alexander does not discuss Jesus in is book, he is very explicit about how his NDE made his belief in Christianity unshakeable.

      Please read this article E.A. wrote for the Huffington Post. Some excerpts of what he wrote:

      “Any pastor will tell you that the single concept that separates the wheat (that is, the real believers) from the chaff (those who are Christians only in name), is whether a person accepts that what Christian tradition says happened on Easter Morning really happened. The entire force of the Christian message can be pushed into that moment when the rock of the cave rolled aside and Jesus — the same and yet not the same Jesus whom his mother had watched die on the cross just two days before — stepped out once more into common daylight. That he had, in fact, overcome death.”

      “Now, I can tell you that if someone had asked me, in the days before my NDE, what I thought of this story, I would have said that it was lovely. But it remained just that — a story. To say that the physical body of a man who had been brutally tortured and killed could simply get up and return to the world a few days later is to contradict every fact we know about the universe. It wasn’t simply an unscientific idea. It was a downright anti-scientific one.”

      “But it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul.”


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    Deyna Winter says:

    What proof do you have of God’s existence..concrete..off your own lives.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

      God’s existence cannot be proven. But, if you think about it, there is basically nothing that can be proven to human beings in a conclusive manner. In other words, there is no human belief that cannot be subjected to some degree of doubt.

      Suppose, for example, that I asked you to PROVE to me that the oceans are comprised of mostly water.

      You might start by saying that there is a wealth of observational data demonstrating that this is the case.

      But then a skeptic could reply by saying “Show me the data!”

      If you then produced the data, the skeptic could then say, “How do I know this data wasn’t faked? Prove to me that this data is conclusive. How do we know that there aren’t large portions of the unexplored depths of the oceans that are comprised of mostly mercury? What percentage of the oceans did you survey to come up with this data?”

      You see, it is not about proof…because that is basically impossible for a human being to prove anything such that there can be no remaining doubt. Rather, it is about preponderance of evidence.


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        DB says:

        The good thing about science is that no matter what you believe, it is still true. Religion was used to explain the unexplainable (Gods of lightning, thunder etc) but with the advances of science anyone who still believes that there is some holy trinity, allah or zeus waiting for them in the afterlife is just afraid of the dark.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

          I have heard this one so many times that I have written a couple essays in reply. In The God of the Gaps: Why God and Science Are Not Competing Explanations, I detail how the view that “science explains things without the need for God” amounts to a confusion of science with ontology. And in Why Trying to Explain Away God With Science is an ERROR, I demonstrate that the view that “science explains things without the need for God” is what is known as a category error, in philosophical terms.

          And I am afraid that I have to throw down the gauntlet and ask you what SPECIFIC scientific discoveries have done away with the need for God. For the benefit of third party viewers of this discussion, I am going to confidently predict that you will not be able to answer this question (at least not coherently).

          The most frequent atheist response that one hears to the above question is Darwinian evolution. But, as I point out in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, Darwinian evolution does not even attempt to answer the question of how life emerged from non-living matter. Rather, it only addresses the issue of how life diversified from a putative common ancestor (the first self-replicating molecule, which was itself several orders of magnitude more complex than anything humans have ever produced). Evolution, in other words, does not start with mud. Rather, it starts with this dizzyingly complex putative common ancestor.

          Please also read Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism where I demonstrate that the view that evolution “does away with the need for God” in biology is based upon philosophy, not science….and very poor philosophy at that.


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    Darwin says:

    okay, i think i have a better understanding. It just confused me a bit because i see there’s one god but there were some things that the father knew but jesus didn’t, for instance: the end of the world. i thought how can they all be equal if there were some things that one could do, that the other didn’t. Also, there are a lot of evidence proving that jesus is god but what about the holy spirit? the trinity isn’t biblical but there is a concept, this mystery is truly hard to grasp. I mean, didn’t the council of Nicea 325 a.d bring up the whole “trinity” thing? i mean, for them to vote on the nature of god is pretty blasphemous, in my opinion. i dont even think gods nature was truly revealed to us. and what is the godhead?


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    Darwin says:

    Hey Scott I have a question about the trinity doctrine. i understand that there is one god, but was jesus god and did he ever claim to be god, or is god the father the only true god?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

      Darwin:

      My friend Dan Lucas is well versed in theological questions like this, so I let him reply. A copy and paste of his reply:

      First off, this is a great question and is a topic that most Christians
      grapple with – and have long, drawn out discussions about this in groups.
      Even Christians that are “educated” in theology still sometimes struggle to
      truly comprehend the subject in their hearts, even though they understand it
      from a scholarly perspective.    Your question is quite literally an entire
      semester’s course in seminary school.  

      The term “trinity” describes a relationship not of three gods, but of one
      God who is three persons. Trinity does not mean tritheism, that is, that
      there are three beings who together are God. The word “trinity” is used in
      an effort to define the fullness of the godhead, both in terms of his unity
      and diversity.  

      Though the formula is mysterious and even paradoxical, it is in no way
      contradictory. The unity of the godhead is affirmed in terms of essence or
      being, while the diversity of the godhead is expressed in terms of person.  

      Though the term “trinity” is not found in the bible, the concept is clearly
      there. On the one hand, the bible strongly affirms the unity of god
      (Deuteronomy 6: 4). On the other hand, the bible clearly affirms the full
      deity of the three persons of the godhead: the father, son, and holy spirit.

      The term “person” does not mean a distinction in essence but a different
      “subsistence” in the godhead. A subsistence in the godhead is a “real”
      difference but not a “essential” difference in the sense of a difference in
      being. Each person subsists or exists “under” the pure essence of deity.
      Subsistence is a difference within the scope of being not a separate being
      or essence. All persons in the godhead have all the attributes of the deity.

      The doctrine of the trinity does not fully explain the mysterious character
      of God. Rather, it sets the boundary outside of which we must not step. So,
      the most important points to understand are:

      1. The doctrine of the trinity affirms the triunity of god.

      2. The doctrine of the trinity is not a contradiction: God is one in essence
      and three in person.

      3. The bible affirms both the oneness of god and the deity of father, son,
      and holy spirit.  

      4. The trinity is distinguished by the work assumed by the father, son, and
      holy spirit.  

      5. The doctrine of the trinity sets the limits of human speculation about
      the nature of god.  

      Does this help you?  If not, please ask more questions or ask for
      clarification on anything!
      First off, this is a great question and is a topic that most Christians
      grapple with – and have long, drawn out discussions about this in groups.
      Even Christians that are “educated” in theology still sometimes struggle to
      truly comprehend the subject in their hearts, even though they understand it
      from a scholarly perspective.    Your question is quite literally an entire
      semester’s course in seminary school.  

      The term “trinity” describes a relationship not of three gods, but of one
      God who is three persons. Trinity does not mean tritheism, that is, that
      there are three beings who together are God. The word “trinity” is used in
      an effort to define the fullness of the godhead, both in terms of his unity
      and diversity.  

      Though the formula is mysterious and even paradoxical, it is in no way
      contradictory. The unity of the godhead is affirmed in terms of essence or
      being, while the diversity of the godhead is expressed in terms of person.  

      Though the term “trinity” is not found in the bible, the concept is clearly
      there. On the one hand, the bible strongly affirms the unity of god
      (Deuteronomy 6: 4). On the other hand, the bible clearly affirms the full
      deity of the three persons of the godhead: the father, son, and holy spirit.

      The term “person” does not mean a distinction in essence but a different
      “subsistence” in the godhead. A subsistence in the godhead is a “real”
      difference but not a “essential” difference in the sense of a difference in
      being. Each person subsists or exists “under” the pure essence of deity.
      Subsistence is a difference within the scope of being not a separate being
      or essence. All persons in the godhead have all the attributes of the deity.

      The doctrine of the trinity does not fully explain the mysterious character
      of God. Rather, it sets the boundary outside of which we must not step. So,
      the most important points to understand are:

      1. The doctrine of the trinity affirms the triunity of god.

      2. The doctrine of the trinity is not a contradiction: God is one in essence
      and three in person.

      3. The bible affirms both the oneness of god and the deity of father, son,
      and holy spirit.  

      4. The trinity is distinguished by the work assumed by the father, son, and
      holy spirit.  

      5. The doctrine of the trinity sets the limits of human speculation about
      the nature of god.  

      Does this help you?  If not, please ask more questions or ask for
      clarification on anything!


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    Darwin says:

    hey scott, I’ve been reading the bible and some things are becoming more clear but I’m still abit confused. I’ve read that salvation is of the jews but didn’t Jesus die for everyone? And also weren’t the followers of Christ Israelites? And if they are Israelites, then why are we referred to as christians? Also, i’ve been seeing debates on whether Jesus was a jew or hebrew and whether he was black or white. I’m conflicted on this. Can you help me out?


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

      Darwin:

      My friend Dan Lucas is better at answering such questions than I am, so I asked him to answer. Below is a copy and paste of his reply:

      First off, these are great questions — I often hear these questions posed from mature Christians to church pastors. But, to answer your questions simply and directly:

      Salvation is not just of the Jews, it is a gift of supreme grace offered to all mankind by God and through the sacrifice of his only son, Jesus Christ. Through belief and acceptance of him as the savior, any man can achieve salvation. This is an important distinction because most religions attribute your actions to be a part of how you achieve salvation. Jesus made it very clear that this is not the way to heaven. This is a very important and core belief of any Christian. The only way to the father (commonly referred to as “God”) is through Jesus and the belief that he paid the ultimate price for all our sins. Through our love and acceptance of him, we receive salvation as a free gift of grace (a gift given though not deserved). There is a lot more to this discussion then that, but that would be going down another path altogether..

      When you say “followers of Christ”, I am assuming you are speaking of the 12 apostles, also commonly referred to as “disciples”. The disciples were all technically from Israel, correct, but they were not necessarily the only followers of Jesus. They just happened to be the 12 men that left EVERYTHING behind and chose to follow and obey Jesus for the rest of their lives. The term “Christian” did not arise until well after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I encourage you to read the book of Acts for a great story of how the Christian “church” got its start. I can’t remember exactly when the term “Christian” started to be commonly used, but I believe it was around 50 A.D. You did not have to be from Israel to be baptized a Christian, and even Jesus was very clear that his disciples were to dedicate their lives to spreading the Gospel (“The Good News”) about his death and resurrection for the payment of man’s sin — to all mankind, not just Jews (or the Eastern Hemisphere, for that matter).

      Jesus was a Jew. I am surprised this was debated and not sure what the difference between Jew and Hebrew is, but he definitely believed the Jewish bible to be divine, perfect, and God’s word. He was a Jew, yes, but is important to understand that he encouraged and loved all people, Jews and Gentiles (non-Jewe) alike. He did not differentiate.

      Whether he was black or white is more of a matter of historical fact. I personally don’t even see it as relevant to spirituality. Actually, I would think him to be more of a darker skin being that he was born in a region that would suggest that. But, I doubt that he was of European skin tone or African skin tone. That wouldn’t make sense, and I would think it mentioned in the bible or other writings because it would have been very odd for a woman in that region to have a black of white baby, even if it was divinely conceived (which only a small percentage of people believed, anyway). The pictures we see of Jesus today where he is full out white are likely the result of European influence. But, at the end of the day, who really knows. And I don’t personally see that as relevant to your spirituality. Or mine, for that matter.


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        Darwin says:

        oh okay, I get it now. thank for clearing things up, but i’m a little confused when you said “but he definitely believed the Jewish bible to be divine, perfect, and God’s word”. Which bible is the right bible?


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    L A says:

    Hello, Scott. I am a christian, because I do believe in the information you have presented on this website. I have some questions about morality in the Bible: It seems as if God wanted to keep us ignorant, and once Eve ate the whole apple, human’s were able to think. Why wouldn’t God want humans to think, as I know you have done a lot of thinking to put together this website.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

      Hey,

      I don’t think that God wanted to keep us ignorant in general. Rather, it was only ignorance of good and evil that God thought was best for us. Humans were able to think before Eve ate the apple…they just didn’t have knowledge of good and evil.

      Scott


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    halim says:

    i’am not christian (forgive me if that is some sort of sin to you) i am in fact a muslim – (please dont make generalisations since not everyone is the same and thats a fact) – but can sometimes be very agonostic when comes to religion – personally all religions are very confusing (even my own faith islam) since they all claim to be true yet in reality they can’t all be true becuase of the diverse and contradictory bieliefs held. Your site is amazing , you deserve recognition for this great source of knowledge you provide, becuase of this you kind of enlightened me and humbled me. many compliments from me a muslim …in general thanx ;)


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    Darwin says:

    Hey Scott, i have a question. Have you taken into consideration the teachings of the muslim religion and their interpretations of Jesus? Do they have anything factual? To be honest, I’m not sure about a lot of things and I still question religion a bit and I stumbled on a video with a spoken word muslim poet who made a response to a video from another poet video entitled “why I hate religion, but love jesus” and, I found his arguments confusing. I do have faith in god but constantly i feel like it keeps coming into question with everything I run into on a daily basis. I just hope that you can clear some of these things up for me, I’d really appreciate it.


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    I don’t even understand how I finished up here, but I thought this put up was good. I do not understand who you are, however certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who are not already. Cheers!


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    Darwin says:

    okay but what about the whole jews inventing christianity and over time, changes are made within the bible. and plus in the white mans bible, it relates to whats written within the king james bible. well I do know there are many versions but I’m using with what I have, idk which bible is the true bible. but for example, rape, slavey, war, all of that is written in the bible and says god approves of it. can you explain this to me?


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      nick says:

      Hey Darwin, I read your posts and I read that you’re interested in finding out about things.

      Asking questions and reading is a great thing and I think you’re doing very well to try and explore ideas. There are many views out there and you could spend years reading a plethora of different world viewpoints.

      You must be very careful in what and who you read sometimes, not all books are correct. Sometimes innacuracy is an inocent or benign thing, but when you begin to read racial accusations and obvious racist remarks, alarm bells should begin to ring. This author Ben Klassen, as Scott says, is an anti-semetic white supremecist. We live in an open society, so perhaps it is legitimate to print such ideas although I’m not even sure they are legal. You will find that he had a racist world view and his ultimate goal in life was to begin a racial holy war. This is the sort of thing that any member of society, be they theist, Christian, atheist or agnostic will have nothing but contempt for.

      You are doing a great thing in asking questions and trying to understand the world. In doing so you must explore many ideas as there are so many. There are so many books and ideas to be uncovered and you will come across some crasy ideas and some good ones. There’s nothing wrongg with having different ideas, but when you begin to read some of the things that Klassen has written, you are not reading so much historical investigation as much of what he says is racist propoganda and further seemed to be innacurate. I hope you continue to ask questions and explore other books, as it is the best way to learn, but I don’t think that Klassen is a good place to look.


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        Darwin says:

        thanks nick.


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    Darwin says:

    also, check this out, it was from “Natures Eternal Religion”

    In the previous material it has been fairly well proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christianity is a suicidal philosophy or
    teaching. If taken seriously enough by its followers it will destroy them, and if a whole race or nation takes it seriously enough
    and faithfully attempts to follow the teachings of the The Sermon on the Mount then that whole nation will destroy itself.
    The great Roman nation, the finest civilization produced by the White Race in classical times, in the first few centuries A.D., did
    take Christianity seriously, and it did destroy itself, never to rise again.
    Where did Christianity originate ? If we read the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament and the New testament, we will not get the
    correct answers. The fact is Christianity is,a and was, a Jewish creation, dreamed up, composed, and promoted by the
    hierarchy of the Jewish Race, undoubtedly, by the Elders of the Sanhedrin itself.
    It is, in fact, an unholy teaching designed to unhinge and derange the White Gentile intellect and to cause him to abandon his
    real responsibilities of doing that for which Nature created him. It is an unnatural and completely perverted attitude towards the
    natural surroundings with which Nature has provided us.
    Whereas the full impact of it completely destroyed the Roman Empire within less than two centuries after it became the
    adopted religion of Rome, it is today still an overriding influence hanging like a shadow over affairs and thinking of the White
    Race throughout the world. It is, therefore, important that we trace its origin, despite the fact that much evidence has been
    deliberately destroyed and many roadblocks have been p[laced in the way of objectively even considering the evidence that
    still survives.
    Anyone recapturing his senses and looking at that evidence will find hat its origin is much different from what our church fathers
    today would have us believe. However, let us take at face value what the church fathers and the “Holy” bible are teaching us
    today. The first page of the New Testament, Matthew 1, immediately makes it clear that Jesus was a Jew and it traces his
    genealogy all the way from Abraham through David through Joseph to Christ. At another place it gives the genealogy of Mary,
    and makes sure that we are fully aware that she, too, is a Jew.
    Here, immediately, the first major contradiction is revealed, glaringly revealed, that is, if Jesus was the Son of God how could
    he also be the son of Joseph ?
    Anyway, be that as it may, we now look at the disciples of Jesus and the apostles and we find that Matthew, who supposedly
    wrote the first book in the New Testament, was also called Levi, son of Altheus and was, as so many Jews are, a tax collector
    in Capernaum. We find that the Apostle Mark, who wrote the second book of the New Testament, was also called John Mark,
    he son of Mary, in whose home in Jerusalem the early Christians gathered and he was a cousin of Barnabas. We find, that
    above all, Mark was also a Jew. We now come to St. Luke, who was probably the only Gentile in the group of twelve.
    Historians regard him as a Gentile physician. However, he was under the complete dominance of Paul, who was a proselyte
    Jew, and Luke spent most of his life as a disciple traveling around in the company of Paul, the Jew.
    We now come to Apostle John whom we find is also a Jew, along with his brothers Peter and James.
    We now come to the Apostle Paul, who changed his name from the real name of Saul, born in tarsus, of Jewish parents, and a
    man who was reared strictly in the Jewish tradition of the Pharisees of his time. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, it was
    Paul who is credited with writing 14 of them and credited with writing well over half of the New Testament itself.
    And so it goes. Of the 12 disciples that Christ supposedly had, all of them Jews with the possible exception of Luke and as we
    noted he was completely under the influence of Paul. It is more than passing strange that, according to the New Testament
    itself, the writers, preachers, and apostles of this “New Teaching,” as well as the supposed founder himself, are all Jews with
    very little exception. It is more than passing strange also that the Jews themselves never accepted this highly suicidal teaching
    but were tremendously active in promoting and foisting it on the White Gentiles in general,and the great Roman nation in
    particular.
    We do not doubt that these Jewish characters were fanatically active in promoting the suicidal new teaching of Christianity, nor
    do we doubt that they had not only hundreds but thousands of Jewish helpers that were the “Hidden Hand” that promoted the
    spread of this teaching among the Romans and Gentiles in the Roman Empire. There is, however, serious doubt that such a
    character as Jesus Christ ever lived at all, and there is, however, overwhelming evidence to indicate he did not exist, but was
    figment of the Jewish of the Jewish imagination.
    The beginning of the Christian era found Rome near the height of her civilization. Her supremacy, in the then known world, was
    pretty much unchallenged and it was the beginning of a long period of peace. To be specific, Pax Romana (Roman Peace)
    lasted approximately 200 years beginning with the reign of Caesar Augustus. Rome was highly literate, there were many great
    writers, scholars, historians, sculptors and painters, not to mention other outstanding men of philosophy and learning.
    Yet it is highly strange that despite the great commotion and fanfare that supposedly heralded the birth of Christ and also his
    crucifixion (according to the bible), we find not a single historian nor a single writer of the era who found time to tale note of it in
    their writings. Outside of the fabricated biblical writings, no Roman historian, no Roman writer, and no Roman play-writer, has
    left the slightest hint that he had the faintest awareness that this supposedly greatest of all greats was in their very midst and
    preaching what is claimed the greatest of all the new gospels.
    Whereas Caesar left voluminous writings that are still extant today and can be studied by our high school boys and girls, Christ
    himself, who had supposedly the greatest message to deliver to posterity that the world has ever known, left not the slightest
    scrap of paper on which he had written a single word. This, in fact, the biblical literature itself confirms and mentions only that
    once he did write in the sand.
    Today we can still study Cicero;s great orations and writings. He has left over 800 letters behind that we can study to this day.
    We can study whole books of what Marcus Aurelius wrote, we can study what Aristotle wrote, what Plato wrote, and scores of
    others wrote that were contemporary with the first beginning of the Christian era, or preceded it. But strangely there is not a
    word that is in writing hat can be attributed to Jesus Christ himself.
    Furthermore, the Greeks and the Romans of that era, and even previously and afterwards, had developed the art of sculpturing
    to a fine state. We can find busts of Cicero, of Caesar, Of Marcus Aurelius and innumerable other Greek and Roman
    dignitaries and lesser lights, but nor one seemed to think it important enough to sculpture a likeness of Jesus Christ. And the
    reason undoubtedly is there was none to model at the time. There were undoubtedly numerous skilled artists and painters at
    that time, but again strangely enough none took the time or the interest to paint a likeness of this purportedly greatest of all
    teachers, who in fact was proclaimed the Son of God come to earth. But no painting was ever made of this man, who, we are
    told, gathered great multitudes around him and caused great consternation and fear even to King Herod of Judea himself.
    Now all of this is very, very strange, when, if, as the Bible claims, the birth of Jesus Christ was ushered in with great fanfare
    and great proclamations. Angels proclaimed his birth. An exceedingly bright star pointed to his place of birth. In Matt. 2:3, it
    says, “When Herod, the king, had heard of these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.” We can hardly gather
    from this that no one was aware of the fact that the King of the Jews, the great Messiah, was born, for we are told in the
    preceding verse that the Wise Men came to King Herod himself saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have
    seen his star in the East and we are come to worship him.” Evidently the event was even lit up with a bright star from heaven.
    In any case, King Herod, we are told in Matt. 3, was so worried that he sent the Wise Men to Bethlehem to search diligently for
    the young child to bring it to him so he undoubtedly could have him put to death. As the story further unfolds we learn that
    Joseph heard of this and quietly slipped out in the night taking with him his wife, the young child and a donkey and departed for
    Egypt. When Herod found out that he had been tricked it says that he “was exceedingly wroth and sent forth and slew all
    children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.”
    Now this is a tremendously drastic act for a King to take, that is, to have murdered all the children in the land that were under
    two years of age. Again we can hardly say that the birth of Jesus was unheralded, unannounced and unobserved, according to
    the story in the bible. However, it is very, very strange that this act of Herod, as drastic and criminally harsh as it is, is nowhere
    else recorded in the histories or writings of any of the other numerous writers of the times. All we have is the claims of those
    people who wrote the New Testament. In fact, whoever wrote the New Testament invented so many claims that are
    inconsistent with the facts that they even made a rather glaring error by pulling King Herod into the story. History tells us that in
    the year 1 A.D. When Christ was supposedly born, Herod had already been dead for four years. He could hardly been
    disturbed or very wroth about the birth of anybody in the year 1 A.D.
    There is further great evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never wrote any of those chapters that are supposedly
    attributed to them. What historical evidence can be dug up reveals that they were written much later, not at the time that Jesus
    supposedly said all those things, but somewhere around 30 to 50 years later by a person or persons unknown. Furthermore,
    when we compare the first four books of the gospel with each other, which supposedly tell more or less the same story, we find
    that they contradict each other in so many details that one need only read them for himself to pick them out. I neither have the
    time, the space, not the inclination to go into all these contradictions. They are too numerous.
    I do not contend that it really makes a great deal of difference whether there ever was a Jewish character by the name of Jesus
    Christ that led to the creation of a new religion to be foisted on the White Race for their destruction. The point is that, in any
    case, it was the Jews collectively who created and promoted this new teaching upon the White Race and it did destroy the
    Roman civilization.
    Nevertheless, the evidence is overwhelming that these ideas long preceded the Christian era and it was not Christ who came
    out with them but a Jewish sect called the Essenes who lived on the border of the Dead Sea. It was they who had already
    evolved the ideas contained in the Sermon on the Mount but have been attributed to Christ. Not only had they evolved the
    same ideas as set forth in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but the wording, the phraseology and the sentences were the same
    and they preceded the supposed time of the Sermon on the Mount by anywhere from 50 to 150 years.
    The Essenes were a Jewish religious group living in approximately the first century B.C. And the first century A.D. We have
    important sources of their contemporary writings in the historian Josephus and also in the philosopher Philo. They are also
    mentioned by various other Roman and Greek writers of those times in which their religious teachings are revealed in
    considerable detail. However, in the last twenty years the thousands of Dead Sea Scrolls, many of which were written by the
    Essenes themselves, reveal a tremendous amount of insight into their religious teachings, and above all, reveal that they
    preceded and preempted the Sermon on the Mount word for word, so that the so-called “new” teachings of a figure supposedly
    appearing from heaven in the year 1 A.D. And preaching during the years 3- to 33 A.D. Were neither original nor were they
    new.
    Furthermore, we learn that the Essenes were notable for their communistic society, their extreme piety and purity and their
    practice of celibacy. They possessed all their worldly goods in common and looked upon private property as an evil which
    might divert them from sanctity. They engaged in agriculture and handicrafts, considering these occupations less sinful than
    others. They also practiced baptism, and this practice preceded the the Christian era by at least one hundred. So the Christian
    apostles can hardly be credited with having instituted the ritual of baptism, as is claimed.
    Why, the average reader might ask, haven’t we been told more about the Essenes if they were the original practitioners of
    Christianity? There are two good and overriding answers for that. The Christians on their part, although the early Christian
    fathers were well aware of the Essene teachings and writings, took every measure possible to destroy them and purge them
    from circulation. The reason being they did not want their presence known because it would undermine their dogma that Christ
    was the originator of the New teaching. It would make impossible the claim that this was a great new revelation sent forth by
    God himself amid the hosannas and singing of angels. The Jews, on the other hand, did not want to reveal the presence of the
    Essenes because they wish to completely hide any connection between the Jews and the new religious teaching that they
    were about to administer unto the Gentiles. They even went to great lengths to appear hostile to it.
    Before I go further into the highly illuminating and highly interesting Dead Sea Scrolls I want to make just one further point that
    is that the original manuscripts on which the New Testament supposedly based is always alluded to being translated from the
    “Original Greek.” Since the New Testament repeats over and over again and again that Paul spoke to his flock in Jewish and
    that Jesus spoke in Jewish and that the Apostles were Jewish, why, then, is it that the manuscripts were all in Greek?
    The historical facts add up to this : the Jewish hierarchy and undoubtedly the whole conspiracy was well coordinated and had
    many, many members and co-workers. It was not written at the time of Christ at all, but the movement was given great
    promotion by the combined efforts of the Jewish nation. As they organized and promoted their ideas further, these were
    reduced to writing considerably later than the years 30 to 33 A.D. When Christ supposedly came out with these startlingly and
    “new” revelations. The conclusions are that they were written by Jewish persons whose identity we shall never know and were
    written by collectively by many authors, were revised from time to time and not only in their original formation and formulation
    but have been revised time and time again throughout the centuries to become more effective and persuasive propaganda.
    However, we want to go further into the teachings of the Essenes and who they were and why their particular teachings were
    pounced upon by the Jews to be formulated into a well distilled poisonous brew and then fed to the Gentiles.
    The Dead Sea Scrolls, which are more numerous and much more revealing than the Jewish press of today has informed us tell
    us much about the teachings and the life of the Essenes. One of the important things that they tell us about the Essenes is that
    they vanished from the face of the earth after about two centuries of existance and the termination date being somewhere
    around the year 100 A.D. They were, needless to say, only a very small sect of the Jewish tribes and not a part of the Jewish
    conspiracy as such. Being outside of the mainstream of Jewish activity and thought, the Jews nevertheless observed from
    them that this kind of teaching could ruin and destroy a people. The Jews, looking for a way to destroy the Roman nation, who
    in the year 70 A.D. had destroyed and levelled Jerusalem to the ground, noted well what these teachings were and decided to
    perpetuate them on the Romans.
    Essenism was really a revolutionary new form of social order, an ideal cooperative commonwealth in miniature. Instead of the
    Messiah, the ideal of the Essenes was the “Teacher of Righteousness.” They established a new cooperative communitarian
    brotherhood and they were the first religious society to establish and observe the sacraments of baptism and the eucharistic
    meal. Most important of all they were the firs group to condemn and abolish the age old institution of human slavery.
    Furthermore, the “Teacher of Righteousness” as promulgated by the Essenes may not have been the first pacifist in history,
    but he was the first to implement his pacifist theories with an overall practical measure, which if generally adopted, would
    abolish war. This, of course, was a wonderful religion for the Jews to sell to the Romans, for if they convert the Romans into
    submissive pacifists they could certainly soon thereafter dominate them in full. And this they did.
    The Essenes lived in the area of Qumran near the Dead Sea and according to Philo, the Jewish Philosopher and writer
    contemporary of that age, “the Essene brotherhood would not allow the manufacture of any weapons or allow within their
    community any maker of arrows, spears, swords or any manufacture of engines of war, nor any man occupied with a military
    avocation, or even with peaceful practices which might easily be converted to mischief.” Not only does Philo tell us about the
    Essenes, but also Josephus and Pliny, both contemporary historians, tell us much about the Essenes.
    As mentioned before, much is emerging also from the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The overriding fact that emerges from the
    study of the writings of the historians of that time and the Dead Sea Scrolls is this tremendously significant fact : namely that
    the beliefs, teachings, and practices attributed to Jesus Christ,although not exactly identical in all respects with those of the
    Essene school, were nevertheless, closer to those of the Essenes than to those of the Bishops of the Ecumenical Council
    which determined the Nicene Creed of orthodox Christianity.
    So we can come to the obvious conclusion that the Christian beliefs and doctrines as supposedly enunciated by Christ in the
    Sermon on the Mount did not originate at all at that time but at least 100 years earlier from a Jewish sect called the Essenes
    living near the Dead Sea; that the Elders of Sanhedrin recognized this teaching as being deadly and suicidal; that they further
    took this doctrine and distilled and refined it into a working creed; the Jews then, with a great deal of energy and tremendous
    amounts of propaganda (in which they excel), promoted and distributed this poisonous doctrine among the Romans.
    Setting this creed down in writing ion what is now called the New Testament evolved over the next several centuries. It was
    written by persons unknown to us today but undoubtedly of Jewish origin. Furthermore, to give it a mystical and heavenly sent
    deification, they invented the person of Jesus Christ, and claimed that he was the Son of God. Then, having laid the ground
    work for this new church, they consolidated that power at a meeting in Nicene, where the creation of the new church was
    solidified, the creed formalized and given official sanctification.
    Thus, in short, was launched the new church and the new religion of “Jesus Christ” which was fabricated out of thin air. Not a
    single trace of the Jesus Christ personage can be found in authentic history. Nevertheless, this newly fabricated hoax of Jesus
    Christ, the Son of God this idea, with all its suicidal doctrines, was soon to pull down in ruins the great Roman Empire and the
    great White civilization that went with it.
    Never again did the White Race shake off the control if the Jews. Never again did the White Man regain control of his own
    thinking, of his own religion, his own finances, nor his own government. Unto this day the White Race has not regained control
    of its own destiny.
    It is the unalterable goal of our new religion, Creativity, and the Creativity Movement, to again have the White Man regain
    unconditional control of his own destiny and his own future.
    To do this we, first of all, have to straighten out the White Man’s thinking. That is what this book is all about.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Darwin:

      This is a bunch of garbage written by a white-supremecist nutcase. It is not worth your time, or mine to even read. Serious arguments need serious consideration, but this is something that truly needs to be dismissed offhand.

      For example, the stance that Jesus Christ never existed is not taken seriously by legitimate scholars (whether they be Christian or atheist or agnostic). Jesus’ existence is confirmed by the writings of several non-Chrisitan historians from Jesus’ era, such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger. Click on this article to see what I mean.


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        Darwin says:

        Hey Scott, I’ve still been researching facts about the truth concerning the bible, jesus, and many other other religions and I feel that I have a reached a point where I can acknowledge the existence of god, but yet, I still find myself still lost. One recent site I’ve been on was telling me that “jesus” isnt the true name of god but is in fact “yahushua” or “iseus” or “Elohim” and that jesus comes from the greek god zeus and now i’m confused on whether or not christianity is somehow linked to judiasm. Another recent thing I’ve read was the significance of “amen”. If “Amen” was a pagan idol within egyptian mythology, then why is “amen” being said after christian prayers? Also, is the Torah the true biblical text? What’s the real truth concerning god and life itself?


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

          Darwin:

          Please read my essay titled Isn’t Christianity A Myth? I discuss this topic. Please feel free to ask me any questions when you are done.

          Scott


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            nick says:

            Hey Darwin. The KJV is a standard English translation. It’s not a perfect translation, as there are various disputed interpretations of certain words and phrases. However, overall it is a pretty good translation of the older texts and is one of, if not the most widely used English translations of the BIble. Bible scholars will use different translations as well and it is a disputed subject as to which translation represents the original texts closest. When you translate writing and text, especially from ancient languages, sometimes words and context can be slightly altered or misinterpreted. The accepted Bibles in circulation are all honest attempts to translate the ancient Biblical manuscripts and may suffer from some literary errors, but in general are close translations of the original scriptures. The texts of the Old Testament are very well documented, with many surviving Hebrew manuscripts having existed for almost 2200 years, yet which match almost word for word the existing books in the first Testament of the Bible. (I have heard of some scrolls called the ‘Silver Scrolls’, which are supposedly 700 years older than the Dead Sea scrolls, but I have not researched these before and am not sure if they are accepted… but perhaps these might be even more interesting) If you are interested Darwin, search the net for ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’. There are various websites about them and one or two good documentaries on youtube. Do a search for ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’ or ‘The Shrine of The Book’ in Jerusalem.


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            Darwin says:

            Thanks Scott, I’ve carefully read the essay numerous times and I can honestly say that I understand what you are saying. I guess right now, its hard for me because there are times where I’m not sure what to believe and who is telling the truth now a days. I read plenty of articles each day and I hear new information being presented by various people but I’m just not sure whether or not their telling the truth. Usually, I just tend to end up being more lost than how I originally start. Like for instance, I read that the term “believe” is just a scam because in between its “LIE”. For some reason, even the little things get to me. I just want to know the truth so I can be free of this fear. Another question I have is which bible should I read. I see a whole lot of controversy over the KJV about how reliable or unreliable it is.I just want to know what should I do.


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              Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 33 ) says:

              Darwin:

              I’ll tell you what: Let me know what atheist arguments are upsetting you and we will discuss them and examine them closely.

              Regarding beliefs being a scam, that is a strange atheist argument. Many atheists seem to believe that they don’t really believe anything that hasn’t been proven by science. But one of the main points of this essay is that atheists strongly believe something that has been completely discredited by modern physics (and by virtually all philosophers, by the way). I am of course referring to materialism.

              And about the reliability of the bible, please watch this video. Please also watch this video.

              Scott


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Darwin:

      A legitimate historian would laugh at this stuff and label it garbage. This is just anti-semitic conspiracy theory stuff that tries to blame everything on Jewish people. Legitimate historians would never make such nonsense statements as:

      “Christianity is,a and was, a Jewish creation, dreamed up, composed, and promoted by the
      hierarchy of the Jewish Race, undoubtedly, by the Elders of the Sanhedrin itself.
      It is, in fact, an unholy teaching designed to unhinge and derange the White Gentile intellect and to cause him to abandon his
      real responsibilities of doing that for which Nature created him. It is an unnatural and completely perverted attitude towards the
      natural surroundings with which Nature has provided us”.

      You don’t really take this stuff seriously even for a minute, do you? It’s pretty much a joke.


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    Darwin says:

    also, Scott, i need your thoughts on this. I’ve been reading that Jews created Christianity. I’ve read this within “The White Mans Bible” by Ben Klassen and I gotta say, its pretty scary. I reccommend you read this. I’ve taken an excerpt of it:

    lexandria, Egypt, Center of Learning. Alexander the Great
    I
    ary

    ly
    lso Hotbed of Christian Subversion. By the time of Julius
    ce.
    n of

    an.
    ypatia. During the fourth century A.D. there lived in Alexandria
    e
    eautiful, Intellectual, Athletic. Hypatia was born in the year 355
    the time she was 20 she could walk 10 miles without fatigue, could
    A
    died at the early age, of 33. Before his death in 323 B.C. he
    founded the illustrious city of Alexandria in Egypt. Ptolemy
    (Ptolemy Soter), Pharaoh of Egypt, started a Museum and Libr
    in Alexandria about a generation later. This library grew and
    eventually comprised of 400,000 volumes. In the continuing
    intellectual growth an additional Library was established in an
    adjacent quarter of the city in the Temple at Serapis. It eventual
    comprised of another 300,000 volumes. During the next several
    centuries Alexandria was not only the capital of Egypt, but the
    intellectual capital of the world.

    A
    Caesar in the first century B.C. Egypt became a Roman provin
    When Constantine became emperor in 313 A.D. he decreed
    Christianity the official religion of the Empire to the exclusio
    all others. By this time Alexandria had become a hotbed of
    Christian subversion, and Constantine’s edict encouraged the
    Christians to attack the intellectuals, whom they termed as pag

    H
    a lovely intellectual woman by the name of Hypatia, the daughter
    of Theon. She grew up in an ideal intellectual climate, since her
    father Theon was a teacher, a mathematician and a philosopher. H
    taught her astronomy, astrology, mathematics and rhetoric.

    B
    A.D. She grew up to be a tall, slim, beautiful woman. Not only was
    she highly gifted intellectually, but she was unusually athletic. By
    472
    swim, row, ride horseback and climb mountains. She had bodily
    grace, beauty of face, and above all an abundance of intelligence.

    Exposed Superstitions. By the time she began giving lectures of
    h
    fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach
    superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-mind
    accepts and believes them, and only after great pain and perhaps
    tragedy can he be in after-years relieved of them. In fact, men w
    fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth — ofte
    more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to
    refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”

    Supported by Prefect. Orestes, who was the prefect of the c
    a
    by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world
    is just as base as to use force,” Orestea applauded her. News of this
    event was carried to Cyril, the then Bishop of Alexandria. He was
    infuriated and declared he would excommunicate Orestes.

    Bishop Opposed Her. But neither Cyril nor Orestea could u
    e
    Rome. The quarrel grew more acrimonious, with Bishop Cyril
    venting his pathological hatred more and more against Hypatia.

    Viciously Attacked by Christian Mob. In March of 415 A.D.,
    se
    was 60 years old, she left the lecture hall one night to enter a
    carriage and go home. She was viciously attacked by the Nitrian
    Monks leading a fanatical, hate filled Christian mob. After firs
    stripping her naked, she was barbarously murdered. She was then
    dragged through the streets by the mob, her flesh cut from her
    bones and finally burned piecemeal.

    Promoting Truth and Culture Her O
    to
    er own she was saying such things as: “Fables should be taught as
    ill
    n
    ity,
    ttended her lectures. When in one lecture Hypatia stated: “To rule

    nseat
    ach other, since both derived their power from the Emperor in

    veral years after Bishop Cyril had come to power, when Hypatia
    t

    nly Crime. Her crime? She
    ld the truth about the Christians’ unreasoned and superstitious
    473
    lies, she promoted learning and culture, and thereby undermined
    the power of the tyrannical Jewish-Christian power structure.

    * * * * *

    No Evidence Whatsoever. W amine what substantiated
    vidence there exists for the basic claims of Christianity, such
    e
    al
    at is the basis of all the Christian hocus-pocus is contained in the
    e

    at
    irst few
    enturies grew into the Roman Catholic Church, guaranteed its
    ves
    st
    hen we ex
    e
    claims as life in the “hereafter,” the existence of hell, the existenc
    of heaven, the existence of spooks in the sky, and even the actu
    historical existence of that central figure of Jesus Christ himself,
    we find there is no evidence whatsoever. We repeat — none
    whatsoever that has the slightest basis in fact or genuine history.

    Authors Unknown. The sum total of all the so-called “evidence”
    th
    so-called “gospels” — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Who wrot
    these garbled, self-contradictory concoctions nobody really knows,
    and it doesn’t much matter. Certainly there is nothing known about
    these characters except they are “credited” with writing the
    “gospels,” but what research can be done on this jumbled mess
    indicates that a number of unknowns had a hand in putting it
    together from some earlier myths. It is, however, extremely
    doubtful that there ever was a Matthew, Mark, Luke or John th
    had anything to do with writing the so called “gospels.”

    Authenticated Itself. The Christian church, which in the f
    c
    own “authenticity” and its own charter by a process of what is
    called arguing in a circle. It claims its principal authority from the
    gospels, based on Matthew 16:18 in which Jesus purportedly gi
    the church its charter: “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter,
    and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell
    shall not prevail against it.” The Roman Catholic church claims it
    is the church referred to, and has its credentials from Jesus Chri
    himself.
    474

    Round an
    “g
    the authenticity and authority of the Roman Catholic church? Why,
    the gospels do. A perfect example of bad logic known as “arguing
    in a circle.” You have heard kids do it all the time. All it takes is a
    massive dose of propaganda dumped on gullible yokels to make it
    stick. It is the same as two con men working in collusion to be
    each other’s chief character witnesses.

    Federal Reserve used same Con Gam
    to
    international Jewish bankers. They print up billions of worthless
    counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes, known as dollars. They are
    backed by anything. Who guarantees the counterfeit notes? Why
    the Federal Government does. Who elects, controls, owns and
    manipulates the Federal government? Why, the international
    Jewish bankers do. Just as the average White yokel accepts the
    counterfeit dollars on faith, so also does he accept the Christia
    “spooks in the sky” story on faith. At this point it is well to
    remember our definition of faith: foolishly accepting as true a
    concept or an idea without bothering to check for valid evid

    * * * * *
    d Around. So who guarantees the authenticity of the
    ospels? Why, the Roman Catholic church does. Who guarantees
    e. The principle is similar
    one used by the Federal Reserve, a private organization of
    not
    n
    ence.

    Capitalize on Superstition and Gullibility. The Christian
    hurches strongly discourage anyone from seeking legitimate
    ic,

    inds

    c
    evidence. For that matter, they also vigorously condemn log
    reason, or the idea of thinking for yourself. They put a high
    premium on faith, i.e., child-like gullibility. They do not like to
    have you asking questions. They want gullible fools whose m
    can be programmed to believe whatever they are told to believe.
    Otherwise, they make it plain, hell fire and damnation will be your
    dire penalty. Either you believe the spooks in the sky story as they
    tell it, or you fry in the hereafter. It is a powerful club and it has
    475
    worked wonders on the gullible and superstitious for centuries. As
    we have pointed out earlier, the combination of gullibility and
    superstition has wreaked havoc on the White Race, and the Jewish
    mind manipulators have exploited those two human weaknesses
    the most — to our detriment and to their benefit.

    * * * * *
    to

    Where did Christianity come a Jewish religious fanatic
    und it as the New Testament describes?
    ast question is a flat no.
    sus Christ did not invent or found Christianity. All evidence that
    ut of
    they
    s of
    to
    ne
    . At this time the Christian movement,
    lthough purportedly nearly 300 years old, still did not have a
    ers
    a
    from? Did
    fo

    Christ Never Existed. Our answer, to the l
    Je
    can be gleaned from a scholarly examination of authentic history
    points to an obvious conclusion: there never was any Jesus
    Christ roaming about in 30 A.D. or thereabouts teaching a new
    religion. (We have gone into more detail about this subject in
    NATURE’S ETERNAL RELIGION.) The whole story was
    invented and concocted much later. It was patched together o
    fables, myths, bits and pieces of other religions, until finally
    had a movement going that pulled in the Roman Emperor
    Constantine. It was this Roman Emperor, who had the mind of a
    criminal, (he murdered his own wife and son, and thousand
    others) who in the year 313 A.D. really put Christianity into
    business. The Romans, who had always been extremely tolerant
    all religions, were now told by an edict of Emperor Constanti
    that Christianity was now the supreme religion of the empire to the
    exclusion of all others.

    Still No Bible at 300 A.D
    a
    written text or “Bible.” Under the powerful and dictatorial
    direction of Emperor Constantine a convocation of church fath
    was called at Nicaea, a town in Asia Minor. At this meeting
    number of scripts and writings were dragged together and a heated
    476
    controversy ensued over a period of several months. Many wri
    were considered, discussed, argued over, and reviewed. Some were
    revised, some were rewritten, some were rejected. The final
    package that emerged from the Council of Nicaea was what was
    called the New Testament, a contradictory, demented
    conglomeration of far-out nonsense. To it was patched the Jewish
    “Old Testament.” The Christian movement now had a
    with Constantine as final arbiter. When the gathered bishops would
    or could not agree, he would threaten to bring in his army, whic
    was standing by outside, to enforce compliance.

    Ready to Crush All Opposition. Constantine exercis
    p
    enforcement to now promote Christianity and crush all opposition
    Christianity was now on its way.

    * * *
    tings

    “Bible,”

    h
    ed the full
    owers of his position, financially, militarily and in terms of legal
    .
    * *

    Jews Concocted Christianit id the ideas of Christianity
    ome from? As we have shown throughout this book, the Jews,
    h
    the
    ilitary
    ative
    ELIGION we
    ave already discussed the Essenes as being the precursors of
    y. Where d
    c
    who were scattered throughout the Roman Empire, have been
    Master Mind-manipulators of other peoples from the earliest
    beginnings of their history. They have always been at war wit
    the host peoples they have infested like a parasite. When during
    Jewish Wars of 68-70 A.D., Rome put down the Jewish rebellion
    in Judea and leveled Jerusalem to the ground, the Jews were
    thirsting for revenge. They were looking for a way to destroy
    Rome, the Roman race and its total empire. They had tried m
    opposition and failed miserably, being no match for the superl
    Romans. They looked for an alternative — mind-manipulation
    through religion — and they found the right creed in a relatively
    unimportant religious sect called the Essenes.

    The Essenes. Since in NATURE’S ETERNAL R
    h
    477
    Christianity, we will not repeat it here. Suffice it to say the
    teaching of the Essenes was the basic fabric on which Christian
    was built. It was a suicidal teaching. The Jews recognized it
    such, remodeled it slightly, then fed this suicidal poison to the
    Romans. How well they succeeded we have recorded elsewhere
    this book.

    Horrible C
    e
    horrible concept of hell as a powerful club on the minds of its
    victims, to frighten, to terrorize and to stampede its gullible vi
    into submission.

    ity
    as
    in
    oncept of Hell. In the succeeding chapters we want to
    xamine more closely how the Jews used Christianity and its
    ctims
    478
    CREATIVE CREDO No. 48

    Fear and Terror as Christianity’s Ultimate Weapon

    motions Activate, Paralyze. There are certain human emotions
    apitalize on Panic. In this chapter we want to focus on the
    hilt, have
    ears: Real and Imaginary. Fears can be real, or they can be
    nt

    ool to Enslave. Real fears are a helpful protective device that
    gle

    ost people’s fears are imaginary. Most fears are unreal and
    E
    that stir men into action. Among these are love, hate and anger.
    There are certain emotions that paralyze and incapacitate. The
    foremost among these are fear, panic and confusion.

    C
    phenomenon of fear and how the diabolical Jewish mind-
    manipulators have utilized this treacherous weapon to the
    capitalized on this human frailty and used it as a powerful weapon
    to intimidate, to paralyze, to whip their victims into line in order to
    enslave them.

    F
    imaginary. A real fear is one that is based on a real and immine
    threat of danger. For example, if a criminal who has broken into
    your house is holding a gun at your head threatening to kill you,
    your fear is based on reality. On the other hand, if you have a fear
    of a spook in the sky that no one has ever seen, heard, felt or smelt,
    then such fear in all likelihood is based on fantasy and is unreal.

    T
    Nature has built into most creatures as an aid in the eternal strug
    for survival. Unreal fears are a form of psychosomatic sickness and
    are detrimental to the physical and mental health of its victims.
    They do more than unnecessarily make such people sick. They
    warp their personalities, paralyze their activities, and make them
    easy prey in submitting to the will of even weaker and inferior
    enemies. In short, fear can be and is a perfect tool with which a
    weaker adversary can enslave a stronger.

    M
    unreasonable. The latter can be termed as phobias.
    479

    T
    which different people are afflicted — fear of heights;
    claustrophobia; fear of snakes; fear of failure; fear of su
    of rejection; fear of love; fear of disease (hypochondria); fear of
    going insane; fear of the future; and a thousand other fears, most
    which are in part, or wholly, imaginary.

    F
    phobias that has afflicted mankind through the tens of thousand
    years going back to the Stone Age is the fear of imaginary ghosts,
    fear of the Unseen. In his ignorant attempt to explain the
    Unknown, man inverted ghosts, spirits, demons and spook
    thousands. All of them were attributed with supernatural powers,
    and most of them were deemed as hostile and malevolent. They
    were insanely feared, catered to, and endless attempts were made
    to placate them. It is this phobia, this fear of spooks in the sky (and
    elsewhere) that is the basis of practically all of history’s endless
    religions.

    M
    phobias and superstitions stepped the wily Jew, to aggravate and
    amplify existing fears and to capitalize on them to the hilt. These
    master mind-manipulators of all time harnessed the full potential
    of all such inherent fears and exploited those fears and phobias of
    ot
    here are any number of unreal and unreasonable phobias with
    ccess; fear
    of
    ear of The Unknown. One of the oldest and most universal
    s of
    s by the

    aster Mind-Manipulators. Into this murky picture of fears,


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    Darwin says:

    hey one more thing, what about the image of jesus thats been giving to us? i’ve been looking into some things and found out that the image of christ isnt christ but of Cesar Borgia. why is a man who isnt christ being shown as christ?


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      I don’t know who told you that. As far as I can tell, the commonly recirculated images of Jesus come from the Shroud of Turin. Click here to see what I mean.


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        Darwin says:

        its not him, listen to this, “The original King James Bible of 1611 had the Apocrypha in it, but in 1928 under the Vatican, they made an agreement to take 14 books out of the King James holy bible. Why you might ask, well because thousands of years before they put this image up to be Christ(the image of cesare borgia), they found out that it was written of in the Wisdom of Solomon located in the Apocrypha, that they would do this and the reason for it. So knowing this was written of in the Wisdom of Solomon, the Roman Catholic Church took it out of the bible so the people wouldn’t figure out their deception. It is a noted fact that when they did this, they knew exactly what Christ people really looked like, they knew Christ and his people were not Europeans, but instead were actually Hebrews, who were dark brown people. So let’s findout in the bible first what Satan was going to do, and then will find out what exactly was written in the Wisdom of Solomon that the Apocrypha had to be taken out and credited as unscriptual and not divinely inspired, by the Catholic Church.”


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    Darwin says:

    I watched the video and I understand, thankyou for that but can you also answer my other questions?


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    Darwin says:

    Hey, I’m 16 and for the past 3 years, I’ve been reading a whole bunch of material which may be right or wrong, idk. I’ve been struggling trying to find out the existence of god and so before I begin to write down my questions, I just want to know if there is anyone here who can answer them.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Go ahead and ask me them.


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        Darwin says:

        okay, here are my questions, who was jesus? is it true that everything from the bible came from old texts within africa thousands of years ago before christ? I read this book called “The Secret” and it discusses the Law of attraction and the author was going into details about how the world came into creation through thought and how many years ago, leaders decided to create “God” as a way to control people, also I’ve read somewhere that we use god as a way to make ourselves feel better for the fear of death and how its just our minds that are creating these weird delusions to trick us. Now, I know I’m still young but I’ve been questioning alot of things lately, I guess it came to me because I had a conversation with this man who was agnostic, and he literally broke down the bible in front me talking about how god just punishes people and how majority of whats written in it is about him punishing his people. I felt like collapsing because t I didnt know what was true anymore, sometimes I’m barely able to sleep at night because i’m constantly reading trying to find out if jesus was god or is there a god at all. also, was there an adam and eve? and i saw somewhere that people are hiding pieces of eden or something and using it to control people. idk if I’m being decieved, I just want to know whats the truth. also, in regards to Noahs ark, i found it puzzling as to how he was able to get “all” of the species of insects, bugs and animals. please clear this up for me, I would really appreciate it.


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          syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Jesus is the son of God. He came to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind so as to repair our damaged relationship with God. Click on this link to explore more. I must strongly recommend a few books. Who Moved the Stone? was written by British journalist Frank Morison. When Morison set out to write the book, his intent was to demonstrate that the resurrection story of Jesus was false. In the process of researching for the book, however, he came to the opposite conclusion.

          The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a similar book in that it was written by a journalist who set out to determine if the stories in the bible about Jesus had any basis in fact. When Strobel set out to research the topic, he was a hard-core atheist. But when he concluded his research, he was a believer in the divinity of Jesus.

          A Case for the Divinity of Jesus was written by Dean Overman, who was a Templeton Scholar at Oxford University (and brilliant). You may want to wait to read this book until you get older as it is more scholarly.

          Regarding Adam, I recommend that you read this article written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder. Below is the except that regards Adam:

          Adam was the first human, the first Homo sapiens with the soul of a human, the neshama. That is the creation listed in Genesis 1:27. Adam was not the first Homo sapiens. Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (part 1 chapter 7) described animals co-existing with Adam that were identical to humans in shape and intelligence, but because they lacked the neshama, they were animals. The Guide for the Perplexed was published in the year 1190, seven centuries before Darwin and long before any evidence was popular relative to fossils of cave men and women. So from where did these ancients get the knowledge of the pre-Adam hominids? They learned it, correctly we discover, from the subtle wording of the biblical text. Those animals in human shape and intelligence would be the “adam” listed in Genesis 1:26, when God says “Let us make Adam.” But in the next verse God creates “the Adam,” the Adam, a specific being [a nuance in the Hebrew text first pointed out to me by Peggy Ketz and totally missed in the English translations!]. The Mishna in the section, Keli’im, discusses “masters of the field” that were animals but so identical to humans that when they died one could not tell them apart from a dead human. Masters of the field implies farming – a skill that predates the Adam by at least 2000 years according to pollen studies in the border area between Israel and Syria. Nahmanides (year 1250; the major kabalistic commentator on the Torah), in his long discussion of Genesis 2:7, details the flow of life that led to the Adam, the first human. He closes his comments there with the statement that when this spirituality was infused into the living being, that being changed to “another kind of man.” Not changed to man but another kind of man, a homo sapiens / hominid became spiritually human. The error in the term “cavemen” is in the “men.” They were not men or women. Though they had human shape and intelligence, they lacked the neshama, the human spirit infused by God. Cave men or women were never a theological problem for the ancient commentators. And they did not need a museum exhibit to tell them so. It is science that has once again come to confirm the age-old wisdom of the Torah! (For a detailed discussion of the ancient sources cited here, see the two relevant chapters in my second book, The Science of God.)

          So, to summarize, Adam was not the first member of the homo sapiens species (our species). Rather, he was the first member of the homo sapiens species infused with the human spirit (soul).

          Regarding Noah’s Ark, please view this article. It discusses your questions.

          Please note that some Christians believe that not all biblical stories were intended to be descriptions of literal historical events. Rather, some Christians believe that some of the biblical stories were intended as metaphors to communicate spiritual truths.


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            Darwin says:

            wow, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions syoungren. you’ve really helped me out, but may I ask you one more thing, how do you know for sure that God is with us and its not just our minds fooling us giving us delusions?


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              syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

              Let me answer that by referring you to some of the essays that I have written. Some of the essays include videos. Since you are only 16 and haven’t yet been to college, some of this stuff might be challenging. If that is the case, please feel free to ask me any questions that you might have. You can click on the links I have created for you below to go to the essays that I would like to refer you to first:

              Is There A God? What is the chance that the world is the result of chance?

              Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it? (This one has several short videos).

              Some quotes to consider… if you think science leads to atheism.

              If God is there, why doesn’t he just show himself?


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          Darwin says:

          one more thing, I’ve watched some speeches from dr yosef ben jochannan and richard dawkins but i do find it abit hard to fully comprehend what they are saying.


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            syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

            If you are worried that Richard Dawkins has a good argument against God, then ask yourself this: When asked how life on earth originated, why does he respond by suggesting that it was brought here by aliens? Click on this video link to see what I mean. If life was brought here by aliens, then where did the aliens come from? Dawkins doesn’t give an answer to this. He just suggests that it was “some sort of Darwinian process” even though Darwinian processes only apply to living things.


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    joe says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post syoungren. Keep up the good work. Your logic is to the point and your points a valid. I like everyone seek for truth and I am glad that there are some people who do not blindly follow one way or the other but are willing to put in the research. you should do a talk show or something.


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    emily says:

    I no that God is real but i dont know why He will not answer my prayers….i trust in Him and every thing but He NEVER aswers my questions or prayers why….


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Emily:

      One author wrote, “Delays can actually be part of God’s purpose; seemingly unanswered prayer can be as much a part of God’s will as answered prayer.”

      You see, God often knows what is good for us better than we do. God often uses hardship, for example, to mold us and teach us spiritual lessons.


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    Steve R says:

    Scott

    Thanks for your kind reply.

    I don’t think it is doubt that I have, moreover I often find myself confused by the plethora of argument out there, You have neatly boiled it down to a simple choice of whether one believes in a beginning as in the big bang or infinity and pure chance.

    The big bang is the theory ticking most of the boxes at the moment. But where I have a problem is in the fact that Aristotles theories ticked boxes for 2000 years until Newton and when his theory started to look dodgy along comes Einstein to set us all straight. Now we have quantum mechanics and concepts of dark matter. Who is to say that the big bang theory won’t be turned on it’s head at some point.

    I’m not sure the answers are found from looking backwards anyway. And does God want us to know the answers?

    Would it not be a more reasonable explanation to say the answers will never be found from studying the universe be it the big one or the quantum one. Every solution will yield one more question.

    Surely the simple logic is that if we had certainty regarding God and Heaven, why would we spend one minute longer here?

    If I knew that paradise and total peace awaited me, why would I want to be dragging myself out of bed at 6 every morning to go to work or suffer a tootheache or watch my mother die or experience a thousand things that I’d rather not. Why would I not short-circuit the system and jump of a cliff (maybe lemmings are more enlightened than us)?

    No, if God has a plan for us, the absolute last thing He would want to do is to let on what it was before it was fulfilled. That would allow us to choose whether we wished to carry out the plan or just foerget it and head on into Heaven.

    We can never be certain. Faith is the perpetuum for life. Life doesn’t happen without Faith. Why have Life? Well only God knows the answer to that.

    I don’t know about you but I gain more Faith from reading about near death experiences NDE’s than I do crunching over the big bang vs. infinity arguments.

    Perhaps looking forward is better than looking back.

    Steve


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Yes, you are correct to assert that the Big Bang is a scientific model that is subject to revision just like all other scientific models. But is not an accurate characterization to say that belief in God in some way rests on the Big Bang theory or that it is a neat and simple choice between the Big Bang or pure chance.

      The fact that the universe clearly had a beginning indicates that it clearly had a cause. This is the law of causation, without which science would be impossible. Nevertheless, many atheists continue to believe in an eternally existing universe because this is the only way to assert that the universe “just is” and doesn’t need a cause. (Please view my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal?” in the snippets section). This is just one way in which one can clearly see that atheists must make much bigger leaps-of-faith than theists. The simple fact is that the past eternal universe (upon which atheism relies) has no more chance of coming back than the flat-earth theory….regardless of what scientific developments the future may bring.

      Remember that heaven is not a guarantee. Life is an opportunity that God has given us to be redeemed from evil and to learn to love (and therefore to be in relationship with Him, because God is love). Not everyone succeeds in this task. Please view the NDE videos at the bottom of my essay entitled “Has anyone met God and returned to tell about it?” The one about the former atheist college professor is one of my favorites.


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    Steve R says:

    After wrestling with all this for years I have decided to take Pascals Wager and behave as if I believe in God because I have no other rational explanation and nothing to lose. I do lean towards this side of the argument although my calling is nowhere near as strong as some who post on here. It is my hope that if I try to behave like I believe then at some point things will become clearer.

    But this seems to be a tendancy with many people as they get older. A nagging feeling that one needs to atone for their wrongdoings and a fear of oblivion often drives us into the folds of some religion or another. Why did Blair become a Catholic? Nothing to do with being able to be absolved then?


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Steve,

      Since you seem to have some lingering doubt, let me strongly recommend some books for you to read:

      1) The Wonder of the World by Roy Abraham Varghese, The Christ Connection and There Is Life After Death, also by Varghese. The longtime “frontman” for atheism, Oxford University philosopher Antony Flew, listed The Wonder of the World as one of the two books that most influenced him to change his mind and endorse theism. Flew was the atheist philosopher who wrote Theology and Falsification, which has been the most reprinted philosophical tract of the last half-century.

      2) The Hidden Face of God by former MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder (as well as Schroeder’s other books such as The Science of God). The Hidden Face of God was the second book that Flew mentioned as most strongly influencing him to accept the existence of God.

      3) Who Moved the Stone? by British journalist Frank Morison. When Morison set out to write this book, his purpose was to prove that the story of Christ’s resurrection was false. As a result of his historical research, however, he came to the opposite conclusion.


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    Mike D says:

    Crikey, it seems very complicated trying to figure out which god is right, which version of the bible to read and in what circumstances. But finally I got it, and it seems apposite to let everyone know under the heading “What it all boils down to.” Or should that be, what it all boils down with… Finally friends, I have found my religion, my creator, my god, my rules to live by, and I am complete. I have become a Pastafarian, I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster and I find his teachings to be no less credible than any others, and his doctrines and commandments (or, more accurately, his 8 “I’d really rather you didn’ts”) much more convenient, logical and meaningful to live by. I urge you to rise up, my friends, and worship his noodly goodness, for only then will you be free – Ramen.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      OK, you’ve got the mockery part down pat, and you’ve obviously been reading Richard Dawkins (hence the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”)…now how about a logical argument supporting your atheist views. When you use mockery to substitute for a logical argument, it is obvious to virtually everyone that you don’t have a logical argument.

      Further, I’d like to use this opportunity to point out that atheists love to scrutinize theism, but they seem unable to apply any scrutiny whatsoever to their own views. A conscious and intelligent source for such things as the universe and for life is deemed as absurd as a “flying spaghetti monster” by atheists. But when you ask an atheist where the universe came from (or the multiverse, or oscillating universe, etc…), you get an answer that is far more absurd than a “flying spaghetti monster.” Atheistic explanations for the universe all fall back on some sort of “it just is” argument. This is despite two clear facts:

      1) The universe clearly had a beginning…as I demonstrate in my post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal?” (located in the snippets section) and as is virtually unanimously accepted among cosmologists.

      2) Everything with a beginning requires a cause (as according to the law of causation, without which science would be impossible).

      So the atheistic belief in an uncaused, “just is” universe is even more preposterous than a “flying spaghetti monster.” Atheist physicist Stephen Hawking tries to get around this by arguing that the universe “emerged naturally through natural law.” OK, fine….where did the laws come from if there is no lawgiver? All that Hawking has done is kick the can down the road so as to avoid having to answer a question that is inconvenient to the atheist ideology.

      Further, one must ask: What is so preposterous about a conscious and intelligent source for the universe when we know for a fact that conscious and intelligent creatures exist (us)? How can the view that consciousness and intelligence emerged through random material processes be deemed anything other than preposterous when materialism has been clearly demonstrated to be false by modern physics? I have yet to hear an atheist provide a coherent answer to this question. Atheists therefore must resort to mockery to fill in the void created by their lack of logical, coherent argument.

      Ask an atheist where life came from, and you get answers more absurd still. Atheist biologists Richard Dawkins, Francis Crick and others endorse the view that life was brought to earth by aliens from outer space (as I detail in my post entitled “If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?”) If this is the best that the atheist cream-of-the-crop can come up with, and if the vast majority of people throughout history have shared a belief in God, who has the ridiculous views?


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    Jason says:

    It seems that religion has helped shape your life for the better, which is good. I’m glad you’re not doing the things now that you once were and I’m truly sorry for your life when you were growing up as these horrors are you speak of are the same I had mentioned in an earlier post.

    While I may be missing out on some of the direction and comfort you enjoy by having a relationship with Jesus/God I cannot bring myself to do so unless I fully believed in it. Many of the questions I had when I had doubts came back with the same answers, faith, trust, God. I found all of these answers, incomplete. At that point, the only people that attempted to answer all of these questions in an unbiased, uncaring, and truthful way was science, and if they hadn’t they were working on the problem (such as how the universe came into existence).

    Once I also got used to being an Atheist, not believing in God was a good thing. Instead of being sad about being alone, it was good to know I was fully in control of my life, to live as I saw fit and to finally have autonomy, true freedom. Instead of waiting for hell or paradise for those that do good or bad on earth, I realized it is up to all humans to change the world for the better. Instead of feeling ashamed because I want to do something my church finds immoral (i.e. have premarital sex), I now have the freedom to express these normal human desires.

    I’m happy it has changed your life for the better though. And since it has maybe believing in God/Jesus Christ is a good thing for some.


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      Al says:

      “you gotta serve somebody; it may be the devil or it may be The LORD… but you gotta serve somebody” American cultural icon Bob Dylan

      Jason,

      I see that you’re a smart guy; and it sounds like you’ve been through a lot yourself.

      But Jason believing that everything came from nothing and it all just happened by accident takes MORE FAITH than it does to believe that a loving God created all things. …Yes a loving God! You just don’t know him yet. You know Religion only!

      Remember that LOVE is TRUTH, JUSTICE, MERCY, JOY, PEACE, SELFLESS, ENDURING, PATIENCE, etc

      Jason you had religion in your life – SO DID I– it was baloney and not what God wants. These institutions are shaped by men; filled with rules & regulations many unscriptural and their chambers echo with insincere, incessant and repetitious prayer.
      Especially the neo-Pharisees aka the RCC I was RCC for over 30 years I should know. What a burden this institution was to me. It kept me from knowing Jesus – who ALONE saves!

      Jason I beg you to ask God to open your eyes… buy a KJV of the Bible as well as a New Century Version. Read the NCV and when you need to compare passages refer to the KJV. Also… Don’t go to any church.. until the Holy Spirit moves you to do so.

      When I go to Church now I go for fellowship and to praise God through song. Nothing more! I also go to a non-denominational Church. But that doesn’t mean you have to – you can still attend a denomination just be gracious to others and only go for the above mentioned.  Fellowship with others and to praise God in song.

      If you allow God into your life HE WILL COME IN and HE will answer all your questions in time as you grow in His word. If you do it sincerely! I KNOW THIS! .
      I know that in time you will surrender to Jesus and he will abide in you. You will desire to conform to him. You won’t need rules HE WILL BE YOUR EXAMPLE. HE WILL BE YOUR STRENGTH and He will always be with you.

      Jason this is what the LORD says…

      Romans 1:20
      NCV There are things about him that people cannot see — his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.

      KJV For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen , being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.


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    Al says:

    Jason you should read back to yourself your points.
    Hopefully – if for a moment – you can be objective… something will jump out at you.

    I’m not going to debate you Jason.

    I know what I had!
    &
    I know what I have now!

    I once also was religious (I too was a RC)
    A finally surrendered to Jesus years back … and now I have a relationship.

    I have Forgiveness, Salvation, Purpose, Hope, Truth, & God’s Eternal LOVE. Righteous living in eternal joyful and peace with Jesus in Heaven. He really is the truth, the way & the life. Absolutely!

    What do you have Jason? Apart from an unquenchable thirst for corporeal pleasures.
    You will always thirst. You will never be satisfied.. this worldly thirst will increase and mutate until you won’t even know yourself.

    Look at you own life (as you touched on) … the change that has happened in your life. … who you were once and who you are now. But still … all because you had FAITH… faith in something else apart from God… in yourself …a scientist who writes volumes of books with theories that will never be provable. Do you ask yourself why you align yourself with these theories? What part of your being does this belief serve? Jason think! Whose book do you want to have faith in… Man’s or God’s? Jason I will pray for you. I truly will.

    Before I go; and so that you don’t just assume that I had some stroll in the park kind of life; just know that I was physically & brutally abused by my father until I was old enough to fight back.
    I was ALWAYS (until they passed on) physiologically abused by my Father and to a lesser degree by my overprotective mother. I was also sexually abused as a child. When I got older I quickly ran to alcohol, drugs and then SEX – Sex was a free drug that you could produce yourself. It evolved from dirty magazines, to Porn, to casual sex, to Adultery… to full blow orgies. Also… The occult, gangs, you name it! I was a bassist in a Heavy Metal band and I saw violence you wouldn’t believe – I was always there in the midst of this garbage yet something always kept me from going-over the edge – that proverbial point of no return.

    Jason trust in JESUS… not religion or science.
    H e is striving in you still.
    Open the door to HIM.

    I will pray for you… I hope you will reconsider your direction.

    May God be gracious to you as he was with me.

    Al


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    Jason says:

    I would also like to point out that it does bring me a sense of pleasure to ruffle a few feathers. Many Christians interrupt my Sunday football by knocking on my door to ask me if I’ve been saved. I don’t want to be saved, as I sincerely like the fact that when I die I will not be coming back. It makes me appreciate the life I have now, instead of wasting it like most people do, clinging to the hope they can live in a paradise that isn’t there.


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    Jason says:

    I will attempt to respond to each statement and order them to make it easy to read/follow.

    1) As far as the symbol is concerned, there are many signals used by atheists. The fish with legs probably is used to mock Christians and there is nothing wrong with this. A person’s religious beliefs should be open to debate and discussion, much like politics. This is the 21st century. Christians I’m sure poke fun at Atheists for not holding the same beliefs as them. I should know, I was a Catholic for 19 years of my life, even serving as an alter server for many years. Many Christians told me, Atheists were comparable to homosexuals. Godless heathens. Naturally, we have some catching up to do.

    2) There are many reasons why things are immoral and things aren’t. Everyone would agree that murder for instance is wrong, because it deprives that person, permanently, of existence and experience. We need no higher order to tell us this is wrong, it is quite obvious why. The same logical arguments can be said for other things. “Do not do that because God will be sad”, is basically telling you what to do without reason. I also find it very petty that God would care about the many trivial things that go on in life, yet he has allowed such horrors to occur every single day.

    3) I still maintain that he was an Atheist, possibly an Agnostic at the best. To say he believed in God is simply wrong, as he did no such thing. Again, when he used words like “God” he was talking about the natural order of the Universe, NOT in an omnipotent creator, as you Christians would assert. I’m talking of Einstein by the way.

    4) We are beginning to develop theories that our universe may be apart of a larger, greater universe, I.E. String theory or Multi-verse theory. The main point to consider is that to this date there is still alot of debate and conjecture, because frankly it is a pretty complex problem to attempt to solve. Explaining creation. Instead of defaulting to “This problem is very hard, I give up, God did it”. As an Adult and not a child, this has left many people, dissatisfied and is why we are finally discussing the obvious truth that he was never there.

    5) 2nd law of thermodynamics, causation etc. is great. We must consider that some of these rules may not have applied in the current universe that we see today. I.E. The rules may have been different at some point in time.

    6) The proof of you can’t prove he’s not there is a very weak argument. You could literally say that about anything. If a tree falls in an empty forest can you prove to me that it fell? Unless someone sees it, or sees it after it has fallen, the answer is no.

    Yet the tree does fall. Every time, consistently. We do not need to be there to prove that it does. Its called gravity, and its consistently observed everywhere.

    7) Probability is just that. If there is a .0000000000000000001 chance of something happening, there still is a chance. You can’t say “That is extremely rare, it must be impossible, God did it”. Impossibility and rarity are different.

    My intent here is to criticize your religious beliefs not to make anyone mad or to convert you to my atheism, but the more people like me that speak up the more aware we all become that Christians are slowly becoming a minority, and Atheists, Agnostics and non-religious person’s are, the majority.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      1) I am unconcerned about symbols.

      2) You say, “We need no higher order to tell us this is wrong, it is quite obvious why.” You feel that it is obviously wrong because, “it deprives that person, permanently, of existence and experience.” But why is it obvious that depriving a person, permanently of existence and experience is wrong? The only response that an atheist can provide to this question is one of the “it just is” statements that serve as the foundation for the atheist faith. The universe “just is.” Life “just is.” Commonly agreed upon morality “just is.” If that isn’t faith, nothing is. As far as the horrors that occur every day which you speak of, please read my post entitled “If God is good, why do evil and suffering exist?”

      3) You still maintain that Einstein was an atheist? That is called believing in something in spite of the facts rather than because of them. Einstein made the categorical statement “I am not an atheist….” How are you going to get around that? By the way, as I mentioned in my previous reply, Einstein also said, “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” You, Jason, would be one of the people who made Einstein angry.

      Einstein was really talking about the natural order of the universe when he used the term “God”? Well that is an interesting idea….he was using code language. If by the term “God” he really meant the natural order of the universe, why did he say “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble”? Was the term “spirit” also a code word for “the natural order of the universe”?

      4) We are beginning to develop theories that our universe may be apart of a larger, greater universe? I address this topic in detail in my posts entitled “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and “Isn’t the universe eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator).” I mentioned these essays in my previous replies, but you failed to respond.

      Even without your failure to address these essays, Jason, what would our universe being a part of a larger “multiverse” prove? I personally have no reason to doubt this possibility. At face value, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that an infinite God would create infinitely. Where did this multiverse come from? From the laws of physics (which is where Stephen Hawking suggests our universe came from)? OK fine, you want it you got it. Where did the laws of physics come from?

      Once again, the atheist is forced to fall back upon another “it just is” statement: The laws of physics “just are.” This is a huge leap of faith, pure and simple. And it is a much bigger leap of faith than theists (Christians and others) must make. Which is a bigger leap of faith: 1) Believing that the laws of physics (and other laws for that matter) came from a lawgiver who is a conscious and intelligent being, and that conscious and intelligent beings such as ourselves came from a conscious and intelligent source OR 2) Believing that the laws of physics (and the laws of thermodynamics, morality, etc.) “just are” and that conscious and intelligent beings emerged as a result of random and unintelligent processes without any causal mechanisms?

      If a person takes time to critically examine the atheist faith, he or she will quickly realize that (contrary to the atheist pretense of being highly logical), atheism is full of “it just is” assumptions that are nothing more than exhortations to cease rational inquiry. Don’t ask where the universe came from, “it just is.” Don’t ask where the laws of physics or the laws of thermodynamics, etc. came from, they “just are.” Don’t ask where life came from, “it just is.” (Or perhaps life on earth came from aliens from outer space…as prominent atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion, and Francis Crick, who was famous for being the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, suggested). Click here to see Dawkins endorsing the idea in an interview. Click here to read about Crick’s endorsement of the idea.

      Theists do not in any way encourage scientists to say, “This problem is very hard, I give up, God did it.” This is because theists (and most other people) know that science is limited to the observation of phenomena within the physical and natural universe. Why it is that there exists a physical and natural universe in the first place is not a scientific question. Rather, it is a meta-scientific question (or metaphysical question). In other words, study of phenomena within the physical and natural universe is a fundamentally different field of endeavor than examining why it is that there even exists a physical and natural universe in the first place.

      5) The 2nd law of thermodynamics may not have applied at some point in time? But if the universe is oscillating through phases of expansion and contraction, as you suggest, then the 2nd law of thermodynamics must continuously apply, and then not apply, and then apply again (like a light switch going on and off). Is that what you are suggesting? If that is what you are suggesting, then what is the causal mechanism that allows for this cycling on and off of a law of thermodynamics? Random chance? Another “it just is” statement?

      6) Yes, you could say that about anything. What can you prove to me 100% conclusively that does not require any leap of faith whatsoever? I challenged you to prove to us that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, but you haven’t even tried? Go ahead.

      Gravity is consistently observed everywhere? OK, but I am going to adopt your line of reasoning about the 2nd law of thermodynamics and apply it to gravity: Maybe there are times or places where gravity does not apply. Prove to me 100% conclusively that this is not the case.

      7) Probability is just that? You haven’t responded to my point that bare probabilities are causally inert. Rather, you have ignored it.

      The bare probability that, say, the oceans will instantly turn into maple syrup tomorrow is meaningless. For the bare probability of this event occurring to result in the event actually occurring, there has to be a causal mechanism. Even one chance in two is not enough….without a causal mechanism.

      As I said in my previous example, if a person could hypothetically live forever, that person would still have exactly zero chance of winning the lottery unless that person actually played the lottery. The causal mechanism of going to the store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is necessary for the bare probability of a lottery win to result in an actual lottery win.


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    Al says:

    Mocking Christians!

    “we are fully capable of leading moral, healthy lives without a bright puffy cloud in the sky”

    This is what I find so ironic about so-called “evolved” atheists.

    For instance take the well recognized “Christian” fish symbol – dating back 2 millennia.
    Jason, why do atheists (so intelligent and evolved) have to take this “Christian” symbol and distort it… adding legs and a tool. CLEARLY mocking “Christians”

    Aren’t you Atheists intelligent and creative enough to design your own symbol…must you take this “Christian” symbol and mock & provoke Christians through it.

    BECAUSE that is what you are doing!
    A person who has not contemplated God or Evolution… and isn’t a Christian , wouldn’t know what any of that symbolized. ONLY the people who are on either side of the debate would recognize this symbol… distorted or otherwise.

    I suppose that’s your “we are fully capable of leading moral, healthy lives without a bright puffy cloud in the sky”
    Kind of morality. No Jason… that’s called moral relativism.

    Jason, just answer me one Question HONESTLY.
    Can you do that?

    Do you have ANY doubts about whether there is a God?


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    Jason says:

    I would also like to point out that this site after brief observation is mostly the rantings of seemingly one person, with many preaching or praising that fact.

    Little is being shown of any actual facts or proof but of the lack thereof. For instance, the main argument is that the big bang was the start of our universe, that it was created, that it was a start, it had to have come from somewhere etc. Seemingly conclusive evidence of God. However, if using that argument you could ask what preceded God? If your answer is that God has always been and ever was couldn’t you make the same logical conclusion that the Universe has always been and always was without the need for God? Or maybe, the universe always goes through big bangs and contractions and has been doing so for eternity I.E. has always done that.

    As we can see. The big bang needs no creator, for if it does, God must need a creator and so on. These very simple logical arguments are quite easy to see and follow. God does not exist, and we do not need a God to give the Universe and ourselves meaning. It seems as though the problem is with our primitive understanding of reality.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      Nothing preceded God. There must be an ultimate uncaused cause (or non-contingent reality). Here is why: The law of causation (without which science would be impossible) says that everything with a beginning has a cause. Something that is caused (or is “contingent”) can do nothing (zero) to cause itself. And an infinitely long chain of zeros still adds up to zero. So, your statement that “God must need a creator and so on,” is invalid. Please review my post entitled “Why is there something rather than nothing,” which includes commentary from Oxford University Professor of Philosophy Antony Flew on this subject matter.

      My post entitled “Isn’t the universe eternal?,” does away with your notion that the universe may be eternal. Click on the preceding link or view it in the “snippets” section. Please read and respond.

      Please also review this article regarding the possibility that the universe is eternal. Some excerpts:

      The conclusion to be drawn from the scientific data was inescapable, as [astrophysicist and founder of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies} Dr. Robert Jastrow… wrote: “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.”

      As far as the notion that “the universe always goes thorough big bangs and contractions and has been doing so for eternity,” you are describing what is known as the “oscillating universe theory.” Please read this article. Put simply, the oscillating universe model violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

      Your arguments are very simple, as you say, but they are also very flawed. Let’s take this a step further: I will be generous and assume that your assertion that “the universe always goes through big bangs and contractions and has been doing so for eternity,” is correct. What does this achieve? An eternally oscillating universe cannot eventually produce a universe finely tuned for the existence of life (as described in my essay entitled, “Is there a God (What is the chance that the world is the result of chance?)”

      How can I be so sure? Bare probabilities are causally inert and require a causal mechanism to achieve a result. What do I mean by this fancy statement?

      Let me illustrate: Take the statement, “If a person could, hypothetically, live forever, that person would eventually win the lottery.” We know this statement is false because no matter how long a person lives, that person will never win the lottery unless they actually play the lottery. Going to the convenience store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is the causal mechanism that allows the bare probability of winning the lottery to result in an actual lottery win.

      In a universe that has no intelligent and conscious cause, there can be no causal mechanisms. Even an infinite amount of time (or an infinite number of cycles of expansion and retraction) cannot produce anything without a causal mechanism. Further, the very occurrence of cycles of expansion and retraction requires a causal mechanism. What do you propose caused this eternally expanding and contracting universe? Bare probabilities?


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    Al says:

    Matter… Atoms conveniently morphing and bonding into diverse elements.
    All from nothing… expanding into a previously non-existing space? Time? (who needs that anyway) Inanimate to animate? (It’s alive Igor!) Evolution (or is it adaptation)
    Big enough leap to Sentient… bigger leap to self-Conscious? (Hey I reason and even know myself – I don’t know how & why… but I AM) All by accident!

    NO….. All fairy tales for grown-ups!

    In the Bible, in the very first sentence, God mentions the three things that are essential for us to experience and live this physical reality.

    “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

    “Beginning”, references time. The “Heavens” reference 3 dimensional space, and the “Earth” references matter. How could anyone at that time know that ALL 3 of these must be present, perfectly and precisely as they are in order for us to exist in this reality?
    The Torah has been proven to have been written thousands of years ago, way before any science (Physics) had been done. Also each of time, space and matter contains within it, another 3 aspects. Time cannot exist without any of past, present, and future. Space cannot exist without any of length, depth and width. And finally, matter. You guessed it… it comes in three forms. Liquids, solids, and vapours.

    Personally… I think this is one way that God reveals his triune Godhead.

    Praise, Honor, Glory, Power are yours forever Lord God!

    Finally… To quote King David (a man after God’s own Heart) – “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works”

    That last sentence is without a doubt the reason why one says “there is no God”.
    In order to do evil works!

    No God…. No Godly morality. Just an ever devolving moral relativism, suited for something less than an animal!

    P.S

    I applaud you for what you do.
    Yet – and in the best of sense – I don’t envy you in the least. I certainly don’t have the patience that you do with these folks (not yet anyway)
    He’s still working with me on that one…lol


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    Al says:

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      I couldn’t have put it better myself.


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    Terry S says:

    There were two places in my post that didn’t show up. I had them enclosed by less than and greater than symbols. My bad. I realize these are html tags and shouldn’t have used them in my text. The two places where it just says Terry: should have been followed by these comments.

    The first one is: *** This is me skipping over a bunch of theistic prattle about symbols. ***

    The second was is: *** This is me again skipping over more opinions from dead people who are unable to clarify their positions. ***


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      syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

      This reply is all too typical of atheists who have found themselves backed into a corner. Of course you are skipping over my arguments….you cannot produce for us a rationally constructed rebuttal. You must therefore resort to characterizing my arguments (“prattle” and “opinions from dead people”) so that you can divert attention from the fact that you cannot rationally rebut them.

      The difference between characterizing an argument and actually responding to it in a rational fashion is a crucial distinction for any rational discourse.


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        Terry S says:

        You don’t actually believe that the roman numbering system gives your god any credibility do you? Are you serious or are you just yanking my chain?


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          syoungren ( User Karma: 44 ) says:

          Are you going to actually respond to the argument? Using strident rhetoric instead of producing a counter-argument is a telltale sign of somebody who does not have a counter argument.


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    Terry S says:

    syoungren: ATTENTION ALL READERS, THIS IS VERY INSTRUCTIVE: <— Is this supposed to give your opinions some credibility? It doesn’t.

    syoungren: First, you denigrate the importance of opinions, and then you immediately proceed to produce your opinion.

    Terry: I didn’t denigrate anything. (Thanks for the straw man, I’ll put it out in the corn field to scare away theists.) Opinions are just opinions and have no value regardless of their source. They certainly are not to be taken as truth or facts. [Opinion definition: A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/opinion

    syoungren: Further, your opinion that opinions are unimportant is itself an opinion.

    Terry: What value do you place on opinions?

    syoungren: Who should we listen to? The opinions of most (if not all) of the most important contributors to modern physics, or the opinion of a guy who makes the self-defeating argument that opinions don’t matter?

    Terry: Are you saying one persons opinion is more important than another persons opinion? It is no wonder you are so confused. You are very opinionated yourself. Of course if we just stuck to the facts there wouldn’t be much to write would there. In your case there wouldn’t be anything to write because theists have no facts to support their claim. All a theist has is his opinion and belief.

    syoungren: And the opinions of these scientists is based on their research,

    Terry: If all they got out of it was an opinion, their research wasn’t much help to them was it?

    syoungren: not upon their private religious convictions.

    You would know this How? Can you read the minds of theses scientists? Do you even know what their religious convictions are? There is only one scientist I know of who was very clear on his convictions. That was “Carl Sagan” a publicly proclaimed atheist even to his death. Has the Cosmos changed since his death. I think not.

    syoungren: For example, I will assume that you are a materialist since you clearly are not a theist or idealist.

    Terry: More assumptions on your part. I am an atheist. [Atheist definition: Someone who rejects the theist claim for any reason. No belief or disbelief is required.] http://churchoflogic.com/whatisanatheist/

    Terry: This whole discussion is based on the fallacy of “Appeal To False Authority” where the authority is a scientist. What makes a scientist an authority on god(s). As pointed out before. Science doesn’t attempt to prove or disprove the existence of god(s).

    syoungren: Max Planck: “We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. “

    Terry: Again, all you have are assumptions and opinions. You somehow seem to believe that the opinions of this handful of scientists gives your theist claim some credibility. It doesn’t.

    Terry:

    syoungren: Each society creates symbols using the categories of thought existent in that society.

    Terry: What is “thought existent”? Theist are well known for making things up and then believing the things they made up are real. This is just one example. Did you make this one up yourself? Here are some more examples of things theists have made up: God, Allah, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Devils, Angels, Soul, Sin, Spirits, Miracles, Resurrection and Afterlife. None of these theistic terms have anything to support their existence. These are just “Tools” used by theists to lure people into their faith-based religious cults. Syoungren is just an example of how well and how deeply these infections can control the human mind. It takes a lot of conditioning over a long period of time to get people to believe in the absurd concepts of theism. (walking on water, sticks that turn into snakes, raising the dead etc.) Any rational person would simply reject these absurdities for what they are but not the theist. The theist will do everything possible to twist, bend and shape these absurd concepts into tools to use against people who don’t believe what they believe. Even to use them against other theists that don’t agree with their beliefs. The Christians reject the Muslims claims. The Jews reject the Christians claims. The Muslims reject the Jewish claims. See, we are all atheists.

    syoungren: Lastly, Terry, I would like to point out that (as is typical of many atheists) you make the error of exposing theism to intense scrutiny while simultaneously failing to expose your own views to even the slightest scrutiny.

    Terry: What error? Absurd concepts require intense scrutiny. The atheist makes no claims to scrutinize. Rejecting the theist claim does not create a new claim. However, if you want to scrutinize atheists be my guest. Have at it. Give it your best shot. Just stop making things up out of nothing. Come up with something real and genuine for the whole world to see. Not just your opinions or the opinions of other people.

    syoungren: How can you really believe that the material world is all that exists

    Terry: Without something to support the supernatural world it is the only rational thing to believe in. Only someone under the influence of a religious cult would believe otherwise.

    Terry: