Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Christian Double Standard

This post is about what I like to call the Christian double standard. What is a double standard? Well, according to wikipedia: 'A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations, or to different people in the same situation.' Many times I have received emails from some of my detractors that I am simply proselytizing for atheism. They claim that the purpose of my blog is to gain converts to a "religion" when in fact atheism is not a religion at all. If Christians would stop trying to redefine common and universally understood terms to fit their insane beliefs they would understand that atheism in its simplest form is nothing more than a lack of belief in gods or in this case the biblical God.

My goal in this blog is to provide through my experiences as both a former believer and an atheist information for those who are at a crossroads in their faith. I like to think that I can lead them to assess their beliefs objectively and to think critically about those beliefs. I know personally how hard and torturous the internal struggles that one encounters could be, especially if you have been deeply indoctrinated and Christianity is all you know. In essence, I am not preaching; I'm teaching others that it is okay to doubt.

A large part of the Christian agenda is to proselytize and gain as many converts to the faith as possible. I don't have a problem with this since it is required of them as per the great commission in Matthew 28:16-20. The only time I have a problem with theists mainly, is when their beliefs affect my daily life and worldview. The best example of this is their insistence of being able to teach Intelligent Design in our public schools when they know full well that this clearly is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. They want to make abortions illegal; not because its morally reprehensible which is a matter of opinion, but because of their religious convictions about such matters. Since they know that they are a majority group here in the United States, they want to use that influence on our politics and our countries legislators and the laws they write. 

Christians can preach and proclaim the gospel to anyone anywhere at any time, and yet when people such as myself who do not agree with their beliefs raises his/her voice, we are accused of persecuting them. They love to claim their right to freedom of speech but not when it applies to others whose views contradict what they believe. They make all sorts of ridiculous claims and false notions about atheists, agnostics, etal. Even though their bible teaches that they should not bear false witness against their neighbor/anyone, yet they do it all the time.

Freedom of speech is only okay if you are preaching or promoting the Christian worldview, but it's not okay for you to challenge their worldview or their beliefs. That's a huge double standard by my estimation. But this is to be expected since the bible does condemn all those who do not believe in God as fools, immoral, lustful, murderous, unjust, vile, etc. They are only promoting the many biases that they learn from the so called dubiously "inspirational" book: the bible.

Christians claim absolute truth and quite frankly; they don't like to be challenged or contradicted. At the height of their power during the dark ages they demonstrated this in the most brutal fashion. Not only were they murdering non-believers but they were killing all those that were of another religious system and believers who did not believe as they did! These believers were known as heretics and they were treated as if they were non-believing "enemies" of God and the church.

I am pretty confident that if they were able to wield that power once again then we would probably see a resurgence of Christian brutality being promoted by the church and enforced by the government. That is why a theocracy is one of the most horrifying ideas not just for our modern day and age but for any day and age. Theists demonstrated during the dark ages exactly what they would do with such power. Because of the times they have had to resort to more diplomatic measures, but from time to time you get a glimpse of their former tyrannical and dictatorial ways.

The deception of apologetics

As I’ve stated in my blog on several occasions I am not fond of so called apologetics. What many people don’t realize is that the study of apologetics was not started by non-believers; it was started by believers in search of evidence in various other fields of study that would help validate their beliefs and their faith claims.

Before I begin I would like to define two key terms that are relevant to this post. The first one is theology which is defined in the Mirriam Webster dictionary as:’ the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God's relation to the world.’ The second term is apologetics: ‘a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity.’

As you can see in the above definitions theology is the main branch of study of in this case the Christian faith and all its subjects in relation to faith, practice, and experience. Apologetics is a branch of theology which concerns itself with the defense of those beliefs.  Through its disingenuous use of philosophy apologetics in my view is actually a corruption of mainstream philosophy. Theologians love to engage in pointless circular argumentation mostly based on presupposition and subjective evidence of their beliefs. When pressed they tend to try to flip the arguments against them in the other direction by for instance asking us to prove that God does not exist.

This is what is known as proving a negative and quite frankly it is impossible to do so. But what theologians fail to mention is that the onus is on them to prove that their God does exist, because they are the ones making positive claims regarding the certainty and truths of their beliefs. What evidence do they have of these claims? First and foremost they have faith; an invalid means of obtaining any kind of knowledge in my opinion. Then all that is left is subjective evidence mostly based on their interpretations of their own so called experiences or spiritual encounters with the divine.

Although the bible states in Proverbs chapter 6 verses 16-17 that there are six things that the Lord hates and seven that he abhors and verse seventeen puts a lying tongue at the number two spot. Christians seem to have no problem lying and using or misapplying and interpreting philosophical principles and argumentative methodologies, or pseudoscience to prove their faith as true. This is a perfect example of what we like to refer to as cherry picking not just through the scriptures but through all matters that they feel will help them validate their otherwise unverifiable and most likely false claims to absolute truth.

Although the bible condemns lying it seems to condone it in defense of the faith or if it is necessary to obtain converts. But of course the apple does not fall far from the tree, since in the book of 2 Chronicles chapter 18 is the tale of Ahab king of Israel and Micaiah. According to this tale the king of Israel wanted to attack and conquer Ramoth-Gilead but he was first advised by Jehoshaphat the king of Judah to seek council from the prophets of Yahweh who numbered at 400! They all unanimously told him that he would be victorious and that Yahweh would be with him. 

God had other plans though, and had decided it was time to take king Ahab off of the throne and end his reign once and for all. At first Micaiah went along with the prophecy of the other 400, but when pressed he told the king that he would die if he pursued his intended course of action. The next verses say that Yahweh had actually been consulting with others in heaven regarding who would entice King Ahab to his death at Ramoth-Gilead. After hearing several suggestions a lying spirit said he would do the job and then Yahweh asked him how he intended to carry it out. He said that he would be a lying spirit in the prophets of Yahweh and he was dismissed with the blessing of the Lord to carry out the deception. This explains why the four hundred prophet’s prophecies were at odds with what Micaiah had to say. 

In this situation as in our modern day examples of aplogetics and their uses of deception, misdirection, and misinterpretation of various legit fields of knowledge we see that it is not a sin to lie as long as it suits the purposes of the faith in general. Which is basically: to proselytize and gain as many converts to the faith by any means necessary.

Ironically, it was the study of apologetics that in many cases led otherwise strong believers to later reject the faith. Biblical scholars such as Hector Avalos, John W. Loftus, Bart Ehrman, and Robert M. Price are today known as some of the elite biblical scholars alive and they are all former believers who through their profound and in depth study of the scriptures have been led to a position of disbelief. 

I myself was a former fundamentalist believer who through one day deciding to read the scriptures in their entirety not once but four times, was later convinced that what I had learned could not have been true. I am convinced that anyone who reads the bible in its entirety without all the doctrinal bullshit and mumble jumble, if they are honest with themselves, would come away with the same conclusions.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Circumstantial evidence does not validate the historicity of Jesus nor other Christian claims

Once again Christians in their desperate search for evidence to validate their belief claims, have come up with what they think is the actual date of the crucifixion of Christ! According to the article that this post is a response to, they claim that geologists were able to find evidence of an earthquake in the Dead Sea region which is  about 13 miles from Jerusalem. Geologist Jefferson Williams etal. through the information gathered and other textual sources has estimated that the crucifixion occurred on Friday, April 3, in the year 33 CE.

But what does this article really prove? Absolutely nothing! Before I begin let me state my position on the matter of an historical Christ. I personally do not believe that there is sufficient extra-biblical evidence to validate the claims made about Christ in the gospels. I am convinced to my own satisfaction that Jesus Christ is a mythical figure that was created by the authors of the bible basing themselves heavily on the Old Testament prophecies of a coming messiah. Now getting back to the subject of the article; what they have actually managed to prove was that there was an earthquake at or around the time they have speculated.

Trying to correlate the Jesus narratives as told in the gospels to the earthquake is not science but rather wishful thinking. Christians allegedly believe in their religion of choice by faith; at least that is what most of them claim. But the second someone comes up with something that they believe validates their beliefs they all jump for joy and start making ridiculous claims and assumptions. Any biblical scholar worth his salt will state that there is no credible evidence outside of the New Testament that can validate the claims of the existence of an historical Christ.

The article did mention one theory very briefly regarding the possibility of the earthquake mentioned at the crucifixion of Christ as having been "borrowed" by the gospel authors and even of it being of some type of allegorical significance. I agree with this view partially, but I personally think that this is a simple matter of the gospel writers trying to give their tale historical validity, by writing actual historical events into the myth. Putting their story in an historical context can add to the credibility of that story and can be used as a marker for historians to try and trace the origin of certain elements of that myth.

Many attempts to validate the gospel fictions have ended up being proven as frauds or a wild goose chase at best. The search for Noah's ark, the shroud of Turin, the James ossuary just to name a few have had a lot of exposure and when they made headlines caused quite a media stir. In the end all of the above mentioned items have been proven to be of a fraudulent nature and once again have served only as a bad reminder of how easily people especially believers are so easily misled. Their desperate longing for evidence has been the driving force behind forgers and their means of making a living off of the gullibility of the masses.

For those interested in the above mentioned article you can read it here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The ignorance of faith

"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge."
"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few." Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

After having read Mein Kampf for the first time in its entirety a few years ago I had come to the conclusion that Hitler had a very good understanding of religion. In the above two quotes it is even more evident that my theory is correct. He was known for manipulating the masses and he used many methods to do so. Religion was one tool of propaganda that he used to incite his people towards hatred of the Jews.

The first quote makes a very strong and powerful statement regarding religious belief that is based on faith. The bible defines faith in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 as: 'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' (New International Version 1984) I used this version for this post because it states what I want to say so clearly. It states that part of faith is having certainty of what you cannot see. It is for this very reason that atheists have such a hard time reaching theists, because faith does not require evidence. Faith is entirely of a subjective nature and it is based on your convincing yourself that what you believe is true.

This reminds me of the fundamentalists saying: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!" You can't expect to reason with someone who is locked in this mentality. In fact, they think that they are being the reasonable ones and that we the atheists are deluded and insane. How could you not believe in God they say. Everyone "knows" there is a God, if there was no God then how do you think that you got here? How do you account for all of this beauty and obvious design in the world and the universe? Many of them are genuinely shocked that there are people out there that don't believe as they do.

I have always referred to faith as voluntary ignorance for the simple fact that most theists don't care to analyze their beliefs in the light of reason. In fact, I am convinced that their idea of reason is entirely different from our idea of reason. Christians have a knack for redefining words and common terms to fit into their worldview. William Lane Craig is a master at it and he actually believes that he has what he likes to call reasonable faith. The very phrase is an affront to reason and an insult to logic and philosophy. Reasonable faith is nothing more than an oxymoron since faith and reason like science and faith are and will forever be incompatible.

If you have to bend and twist reason to conform to your faith, then you have stopped using reason altogether. If you have to go through a lot of mental gymnastics to make your position of faith sound reasonable, then you are not using reason. In fact, you are a victim of confirmatory bias and compartmentalization.

Compartmentalization explains why someone can have faith in God and still be a good and competent scientist, lawyer, etc. Because these people have the ability to separate their faith from their professions. Confirmatory bias is what I like to call the glasses of faith, because they only let you see what you want to see. Anything contradictory to your faith is dismissed outright without even giving it a second thought.

In conclusion, don't ever engage a theists with the intent of converting them because 9 times out of 10 you will have wasted a huge amount of time and effort, and in the end wind up disappointed and frustrated at their lack of comprehension. Only a theist who for whatever reason begins to doubt their faith and honestly seeks to validate or discard it, will eventually set themselves free from the bondage of religion and the ignorance that results from it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A theist is a theist is a theist!

Like I have pointed out in my blog many times there are different kinds of theists. Some of them are extremely fundamental and are driven more by what they feel (subjective experiences) than on actual empirical evidence those are aptly named fundamentalists. Then there are those that are not as obsessed with the literal translation of the bible nor with some of the older traditions found in the scriptures; they claim to love science and reason. But they are willing to compromise reason for their beliefs which they see as reasonable, those are aptly named liberals.

According to the Sage dictionary and thesaurus the word fundamentalist is defined as:'The interpretation of every word in the sacred texts as literal truth.' Given this definition, the basic foundational tenet of Christianity that Jesus died, rose from the dead, and will return again sometime in the future makes all Christians when it comes to this matter a fundamentalist. They believe in the redemptive power of the former events as the one and only cure that will free them from their vile selves and grant them immortality as a reward for their faith.

From a Christian perspective the world is bleak and drab and man is inherently evil and incapable of being good because he cannot meet the standards of their imaginary guy in the sky. Like parrots they quote endless scriptures about how filthy we all are and how hopeless we all are without Jesus. Autophobia otherwise known as self loathing is symptomatic of all Christians since they think that without their delusion there is no hope for them or the human race as a whole is lost.

Driven by the lies that they have learned through the scriptures they buy into the idea that life is not worth living if there is no ultimate purpose. They accuse atheists of being atheist because they don't want to be held accountable for their evil deeds in this life. We as a whole are morally bankrupt and hopeless without being washed in the blood of Jesus. The truth is that there are atheists and I include myself among them that have more morals than any hypocritical Christian can hope to have.

There are atheist who are like myself good without a belief in God and quite frankly don't have any need for that delusion. What I've learned from my experiences is that when it comes to Christians no matter how liberal or fundamentalists they might seem, in the end they are all just fundamentalist. A theist is a theist is a theist!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faith Versus Secular Knowledge

One of the things that never ceases to amaze and confound me regarding theists, is their never ending search through secular wisdom for evidence to confirm their beliefs. This applies particularly to proponents of Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Young Earthers who constantly turn to secular science to try and validate their beliefs and theories based on the scriptures as they interpret them.

According to Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 there are six things the Lord hates and seven that he abhors.
16 There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors
17 a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that weaves wicked plots, feet that hurry to do evil,
19 a false witness who lies with every breath, and one who sows dissension among brothers.

Notice that in verse seventeen one of those things listed at the number two spot is a lying tongue! Yet, Christians have no problem lying for the sake of the gospel or when it suits their purposes of trying to validate the truth of their beliefs. They try to refute scientific discoveries that are relative to the age of the Earth, evolution of all living things, the origins of the universe, etc. Mostly by misrepresenting scientific discoveries and trying to reinterpret them so that they seem to apparently fit with what the bible apparently might have to say on the matter.

According to Hebrews 11:1 part of the definition of faith is defined as believing in the reality of the unseen and in verse 6 of the same chapter says:

 6 Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who seek him.

So my modern day Christians I have a question for you. When it comes to the "truth" of the scriptures, where does faith come in? Why are you looking to validate what you claim to already believe by faith in the knowledge of the world or as it is now called secular knowledge? In fact, the bible condemns secular knowledge and refers to it as folly. 1 Corinthians 1:19-20

 19 As scripture says: I am going to destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of any who understand.
20 Where are the philosophers? Where are the experts? And where are the debaters of this age? Do you not see how God has shown up human wisdom as folly?

In their efforts to evangelize the world theists want to force at least here in the states, that we break with the Constitution and teach creationism in our public government funded schools. They refer to their pseudoscience as scientific when nothing could be further from the truth. It's not science, it's junk science! It's misinterpreted secular science with a religious twist! There is nothing scientific about Creationism, Id, or Young Earthers interpretation of the history of our planet. When will you get it through your head that science and religion don't mix! They are completely and utterly incompatible with one another.

Unlike the theists version of science we can't just throw our hands up in the air when we don't fully understand something and fill it in with God did it! If God did it then scientific study would be pointless and an exercise in futility. But what science has given us as a species demonstrates clearly that that is not case. Through science we have been able to lengthen the average life span, beat back diseases and afflictions that would have been deadly to us as a species, we are continually learning more about ourselves and the world we inhabit.

In conclusion, my tip to theists is that you be happy in what you believe and stop looking for secular validation of those beliefs. You have given up on this world for what you believe is a better world somewhere beyond this one. Your job is to preach and the scriptures clearly say that not everyone will listen. Continue your preaching if you must but leave the rest of the world alone when they say that they don't believe and that they don't want to hear it.

As usual all scripture quotations are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible translation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Questioning my commitment

I have come to the conclusion that theists say the dumbest things. In fact, they should make that into a game show so the world could laugh at their naivete! Of all the dumb arguments and comments I have received on my blog by theists, nothing ticks me off more than when they accuse me of never having known Christ due to a lack of commitment. If they took the time to read my damn deconversion story my commitment would never be in question!

For this insanely mentally retarded argument to work you would have to then question the commitment of the Hebrews; who supposedly saw God's power and heard his voice all the time and still backslid quite often if we are to take the O.T. narratives as true. Not to mention the apostles of Christ who walked and talked with him for about three years and when he was being tried and crucified they all fled and hid!

Backsliding is quite common and it has nothing to do with your commitment to Christ, it is more a matter of waning faith and circumstance. I can honestly say that the only time I wasn't praying was when I was asleep. I was immersed fully in my beliefs and at the time was willing to die for what I believed in if necessary. I was the very definition of a fundamentalist fanatical Christian extremist! I took the word of the Lord in its entirety as literal and inerrant truth. I tried to imitate the life of Christ in my daily walk with God. How much more devoted could you be?

Every time I was called for a preaching engagement I always fasted for three days prior so that I would be filled with the spirit and the anointing would flow through me unhampered and so that God would have his way in my speaking engagements and speak through me in my sermons. All these things and more I did in Jesus name and always gave God the glory realizing that I was just a vessel in his hands. I preached to anyone who would listen at work, on the subway, in the streets. Not to mention my street ministry which I operated with a friend on Saturdays and Sundays.

My motto was that if I was going to serve God I was going to do it at one hundred percent or not at all. In fact, when I gave my life to Jesus I was a smoker at the time and right after the service which happened to be at a local park I went home and threw my cigarettes in the garbage. Even as an atheist nothing gets under my skin more than a self righteous holier than thou hypocrite!

You know the type, the same idiotic fools that question whether I had a true encounter or relationship with Christ. The holier than thou morons who waste their time trying to figure out why I left the church and turned my back on God. Just so you future dumb asses don't make any future assumptions about my commitment here is the link to my deconversion story it is in 13 parts so read it and get over yourself! It's entitled 'From Christian to Atheist.'

In the end you were right! I did not know Jesus because he doesn't nor never has existed. That's right, I said it! He is nothing more than a figment of your imaginations my dear theist and does not exist outside of your mind. Your subjective experiences mean absolutely nothing and that still small voice you think is the Holy Spirit is what is called your intuition a gut feeling.Your entire so called "experience" with Christ are all psycho-emotional and nothing more than wishful thinking. Not to mention the fact that your bible contrary to your beliefs is more riddled with holes than a shooting gallery! It's self contradictory and self refuting demonstrating without a doubt that there is nothing divine about it! It doesn't feel good does it? Now that I've gotten that off my chest I can carry on with my day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

God in the form of a man

I was sitting around this morning just mulling some random thoughts through my head and for some reason I got to thinking about the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Specifically, if these cities were being destroyed because of their wanton acts of same gender sex or as we so elegantly like to call it homosexuality. I was going to elaborate on this in this post but that will have to hold off for a bit because I found out something fascinating about the tale just before it and thought I would share that with my readers instead.

One of my favorite words in the English language is anthropomorphism, and I feel that this word is useful and relevant to much of what we read in the stories of the bible where God is described as having human traits or taking human form. My trusty Sage dictionary and thesaurus defines anthropomorphism as: 'The representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits.' In Genesis 18 we find a perfect example of this. Not only that, but that the incarnation of God as a man in the form of Christ was not the first time that he had actually done something like that before!

1 Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day.2 He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground. (Gen. 18:1-2) As you read a little further you'll find out that the "him" that they are referring to is of course Abraham. It's interesting to see that when he looks up he sees three men. Who are these three men? Well, the bible wastes no time in identifying them for us. We know from the first verse that one of these three men Was Yahweh aka God! Verse 22 of the 18th chapter says that the other two men that accompanied Yahweh went on ahead to Sodom. Genesis 19:1 identifies the other two men as angels. '1 When the two angels reached Sodom in the evening, Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. As soon as Lot saw them, he stood up to greet them, and bowed to the ground.'

So as you can see according to this tale God accompanied by two angels took on the form of men and not only that verse 8 of chapter 18 says that Abraham had his servants prepare them a meal and that they ate! This story has several problems that I would like to highlight here. The first problem is that God took on the shape of a man to give Abraham a message regarding his wife and their future. But the real reason he was there was given in verses 20-21: '20 Then Yahweh said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is so grave,21 that I shall go down and see whether or not their actions are at all as the outcry reaching me would suggest. Then I shall know.'

The biblical God, creator of the universe and the world as we know it had to come down to Sodom and Gomorrah personally to verify whether what he had heard about them was true! Do you see the implications of this verse? This means that God contrary to popular beliefs is not omniscient ( all knowing)! Another piece of self refuting evidence against one of the alleged traits of God. I have been saying this for years; that if you study the scriptures fervently with an open mind you can literally take it apart and demonstrate that it is not divinely inspired nor the word of God. The bible contradicts itself at every turn. This is the reason for so much doctrinal disagreements with the thousands of church denominations the world over.

Now I know there are going to be some theists that are going to nitpick at this post and point out that God did not take the form of a man in the same way that he did when he was Christ. So I will jump the gun and say that I agree with you. On the visit to Abraham he took on the form of flesh but he did not bear the sins of the world upon that flesh he was completely divine. Whereas in Christ he was born of a woman and conceived by the Spirit making him of a dual nature. By being born of flesh he also bore the curse of sin on his flesh. I'll elaborate on this more in a future post. The point of this one is that he took on the form of a man and that he did so to verify some information which being God I don't see how he could not know this information given the claim that he is omniscient.

Note: All bible quotations are taken from the New Jerusalem Translation

If you are interested in owning a Sage dictionary and Thesaurus of your own you could acquire your very own copy here  best of all it's absolutely free!

Friday, May 11, 2012

No evidence no faith!

'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

As we all know there are several translations of the bible in the English language alone, and I personally like to quote often from the New Jerusalem bible. But for the purpose of this post I chose to go with the New International Version because I think it defines faith as it is described in the first verse of chapter eleven in the book of Hebrews. The wording is simplistic, and the definition above is pretty self explanatory.

I am often asked what it would take to make me come back to Jesus, and the simplest reply I can provide is evidence. I don't want a vision, or a divinely inspired dream, or some self proclaimed prophet of God stopping me on the street to tell me what God wants me to know. That is not even close to the sort of evidence that I think would be acceptable. What kind of god requires such a great commitment and doesn't even have the decency to show the world that he is true and real in every sense of the word?

When I was a fundamentalist I worked hard every day to try to imitate Christ or as we used to say to be as Christ like as possible in my daily living. I wasn't content to just talk the talk, I honestly believed that salvation went beyond talk and that your deeds were just as important as your professed faith. The bible taught that as believers we were the "light of the world" and that it was our jobs as believers to let our light shine forth in the darkness that was this world. Matthew 5:14-16 (NJB)

Being a "true" Christian requires a lot of self sacrifice which is made evident in that by accepting Christ, you are no longer living for yourself but rather putting God's will ahead of your own. That is what is meant by being called a servant of the Lord, you are called to serve and obey his will and his commands. Things that to the rest of us heathens seem quite ordinary like fornication (premarital sex), masturbating, drinking till you puke your guts out, dating multiple women/men, etc. are all sins before the Lord.

So here is my problem: If I am to make such a sacrifice; then I demand evidence! Nothing else will do. What kind of evidence? A real experience with God that would occur while I am fully alert, awake, and aware. Something that not only I will be able to see or hear but that maybe a lot of other people would too. I don't know, maybe a cloud or pillar of fire which followed the Hebrews day and night from which God at times spoke to Moses and everyone trembled in fear at the foot of mount Sinai.

That's actually pretty good I think! During broad daylight a huge dark cloud would appear in the sky and if you are on the other side of the world it would become day in the middle of the night and they too would be able to see the cloud. And suddenly a few moments of loud thunder and lightning just to get everyone's attention. Then the voice of God himself speaking to the world simultaneously telling us his true name and what he wants from us. If God did this monthly or annually for the new crop of nonbelievers then I think I would probably fall on my knees and accept that I was wrong.

On the other hand, to blindly sacrifice the only life I have to live based on faith in one of the thousands of religions that currently plague this earth with stupid beliefs and superstitions is not an option for me. Life is too short for some of us and so we have to make the most of it in the time that we have left to enjoy it. I don't see the logic in sacrificing my life for superstitions, myths, and fables of the past. I personally say with my fellow nonbelievers in the bible who were cursed to hell in Luke 12: 19,20 (NJB)

19 and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time."20 But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"

Jesus in this story is chastising the man for laying up his earthly treasures since all these thing perish, instead of seeking the treasures of "heaven." The only point the author made was that when we die we basically can't take nothing with us. So it's better to waste our time seeking a piece of the pie in the sky than to enjoy ourselves here and now. The imaginings of heavenly bliss and eternal joy don't mean anything to me if God himself can't even take the time out to prove his existence to mankind in an undeniable and  unmistakable way. So contrary to the definition of faith I don't hope for things I cannot see. I set goals and work towards achieving them in the real world and my reward is my meeting or exceeding those goals I set for myself in my daily living.

When I'm dead it will all be done and I don't care for nor do I believe in an eternity either in hell or in heaven which in my mind are just two imaginary places made up by men. I wont be around haunting anyone although that idea seems like it could be some fun. I will just cease to exist and join good old mother earth as fertilizer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why are we here?

The title of this post has been one of those enduring questions that have been asked by mankind in general ever since time immemorial. Some think that it is an important and vital question, but I beg to differ. Depending on who you ask you will get a pretty standard answer, but in this post I want to try to ferret out of the scriptures the reason for our so called creation/existence by an imaginary being of myth that many believe to be real and exists eternally.

It seems that at first glance God created all things for his own personal amusement. God appears to me to be like that little kid whose parents buy him a sea monkey's (brine shrimp) set so that he can take care of them and watch them develop. Not to mention to entertain him as the advertisements say they will by doing tricks and other such things. But unlike the child, God is a little bit sicker because he doesn't just want to be entertained by the antics of humans; he wants to be worshiped!

Although there are two conflicting creation stories in Genesis the one most commonly believed is the one in chapter 1. According to this story in Genesis 1:27-28  27 God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.28 God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.' he created us to occupy this new planet and live happy and productive lives in his presence.

It's is interesting to note that in this first narrative there is no mention of any commands by God nor of the legendary tree of knowledge of good and evil. In the book of Genesis chapter 2 verse 5 we begin to see the second version of the creation story which in some very important points contradicts greatly the first version. For some of these contradictions read my post entitled 'Two creation myths in the bible! here.

The first mention of the tree of knowledge are introduced in chapter 2 of Genesis specifically in verses 16-17. And the subsequent fall of man from the grace of God is narrated in chapter 3. Verse 22 of chapter 3 mentions a tree of life that would grant man immortality, but God expels man from the garden to prevent them from attaining this. In the next chapter the brothers Cain and Abel are recorded to be the first to offer sacrifices to the Lord.

It's funny that even though we are such vile and horrible creatures, that God still wants us to worship him and sacrifice to him in the form today of our daily living and devotion to the teachings as laid out in the bible. Life is recognized as a gift and according to the scriptures God wants to make sure that you recognize where this gift came from and forever be grateful for it. Not only that; he wants to remind you that without him you are nothing but a filthy vile worm, a clump of inanimate dirt.

Websters online dictionary defines worship as: 'reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence' in other words God wants to be recognized at all times for as long as you live! The bible does depict God as being worshiped by the angels at all times. So we too are expected to do the same in eternal gratitude for his having created us. The idiotic Christian response to the question of why we are here is that we are here to worship and glorify God. 

In Matthew 22:36-38 Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment of the law? His response was: 37 Jesus said to him, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the greatest and the first commandment.' There you have it!

The bible condemns vanity yet God is the most vain creature of all time! My reply to why we are here is more mundane and realistic. We are here to live our lives as productively as possible and to enjoy and make the most out of this life. Like all things we don't know how long we are on the clock for nor when our time will run out. So the best thing to do is enjoy life to the fullest, share with those you love both the good times and the bad, and be supportive of each other whenever and however you can. This applies to strangers as well and are some good basic principals upon which to live by.

Note: All biblical citations come from the New Jerusalem Bible 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Theists can be frustrating

In all of these past 18 years of my arguing with theists of every stripe and brand imaginable, the one thing I have learned is that arguing or debating with theists can be very frustrating.This is particularly frustrating with Christians. The reason it is so bad is that no two Christians that I have ever debated online hold the same beliefs. No two theists are in complete agreement with the teachings of their own denominations.

The second reason is that according to an article on statistics about Christianity on based on another article from the World Christian Encyclopedia there are literally 38,000 denominations worldwide! You can read some very interesting statistical information about Christianity right here. The site also provides links to other relevant data as well. I've always said on my blog that the sheer number of Christian denominations is a true testament to the many doctrinal disagreements amongst them and to the fact that Christianity is not divinely inspired. When you consider that each denomination is just another group of believers that disagreed with the many others already out there you can grasp what I am saying.

Instead of seeing them as denominations, think of them as just another believer of a former denomination who thought that the church he was a member of was just not teaching the scriptures correctly and thought that he could do a better job! It all comes down to interpretation, and everyone who claims to be a believer has their very own. These facts make it almost impossible to debate a theist without first determining what "brand" of Christian they are and then digging even further to learn about their own personal odd interpretations that are not those shared with his/her church.

The fundamentalist are the worst of the lot because they go mostly on so called spiritual revelations and personal subjective experiences. The deeper their conviction that they are walking and talking with God, the harder it is to get through to them. No amount of logic or proper use of reason could even put a dent in their armor till they themselves have somehow been led to doubt their beliefs. I know this from my own personal experience and from that long and drawn out deconversion process I had to endure.

Another issue is that they like to use in theology and apologetics some of the basic uses of philosophical argumentation and twist it to seemingly work in their favor. It all becomes a game of semantics and circular reasoning. In short; one big waste of time! Their definition of the words reason and logic are entirely different than what is found in a philosophical dictionary. In fact this also applies to any standard dictionary that defines these two words correctly. They mix up their meaningless religious jargon with philosophical principals and make a mockery out of reason.

I have gotten to the point sometimes where I just throw my hands up in frustration and immediately break contact with the individual if I see that this person can't be reached. Every atheist has his/her own story to tell. I viewed my passage from Christianity as a growing up process and I think that that is the reason that I love the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:11 'When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.' Now I know what my Christian friends are saying:" you are taking that text out of context!" I am fully aware of what this text means.

The above cited text holds this different meaning to me now because it speaks to me about our transition from mystical thinking and believing which I do think is childish, to reasonable and logical thinking. Some atheist refer to religious beliefs in God as nothing more than Santa Clause for adults, in other words it's childish thinking.The very thought that there is some imaginary guy in the sky who knows your every hearts intention, the very thoughts you think, and gives a shit about you and your personal welfare is utterly ridiculous. But don't tell a theist that unless you are ready to start the merry go round of faulty reasoning.

As the old adage says:'You can't teach an old dog new tricks', you cant expect a dedicated and indoctrinated theist to hear reason. His idea of reason is a whole lot different than yours. In fact, the bible makes several distinctions between the wisdom of men and the wisdom of God and the things of the Spirit. Some of us are lucky in that we were able to escape the bondage of our minds by insane and mystical thoughts and beliefs, but unfortunately there are those who will just simply wither and die in their delusions.