Monday, September 23, 2013

Christian confusion

One of the things that I have noticed about Christianity is that many of its adherents claim absolute certainty regarding the truth of their beliefs. One of the cardinal rules of logic and critical thinking is that the person making the positive claim bears the burden of proof. Those that choose neutrality (agnostics) or feel that the evidence does not support the conclusions (atheists) do not have to prove their case. Given these observations there are several things wrong with the reasoning behind the Christian worldview.

The first flaw is in their presupposition that their deity Yahweh or Jehova exists. This presupposition is just that. It is not based on facts or objective and empirical evidence. The first problem that needs to be addressed is where does this presupposition come from? The most obvious answer is that we were taught that there is a supreme deity that exists by either friends, family, or society in general. Here in the U.S. Christianity is the dominant religious institution and belief system in the entire country. We have 'In God we trust' imprinted in our currency and even inscribed in our court rooms. Many of our traditional ceremonies are imbued with Christian ideals such as weddings and funerals.

When I come across believers who wish to debate me on the issues related to their beliefs, I usually ask a series of questions in hopes of helping them see their erroneous line of reasoning. When asked for instance "Where do you think that you came from?" I usually reply with a very honest; I don't know how life began or how the universe came to be. Science knows that there was a big bang and that most likely we arose from a combination of the various chemicals present in the early earth combined with the right environmental conditions, but we don't know how the actual process took place. In the end it seems more plausible than to assume that an invisible, indescribable, unknown deity was responsible for it all.

When I ask believers how they know that their god exists I usually get the standard replies based entirely on subjective evidence. They feel him when they pray. they hear his voice or sense his will for their lives in their hearts, or they are blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. What they don't realize is that all of these apparent phenomenon could be easily explained through psychology, psychiatry, and other disciplines relative to how the mind works and how we interpret our experiences. What Christians need to realize is that subjective evidence is not evidence at all when it comes to proving that a god exists. If that were the case then everyone claiming to have experienced god in other religions must also be believed and their subjective experiences should be considered just as credible. Of course if we were to do that then we would have another problem: which god is the true god and how can we know that?

a :  the study of evidences of design in nature
b :  a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature
c :  a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes 
Based on the definition above all Christians are teleologists; that is, they base their beliefs on all the apparent design that they see in nature. The doctrines of creationism or intelligent design are both based entirely on this assumption. God did it is the mantra of all creationists and ID proponents and they base their beliefs entirely on the god of the gaps theory. Basically what they do is attack science by picking on specific areas in which our knowledge is not yet complete. Abiogenesis is a popular target for creationists since it addresses our lack of knowledge regarding how life came about from inanimate matter. Science is still unclear about the actual process of how life came about but what we do know is certainly more plausible than God did it. 
Next, I have to ask them about how they know that the Bible is the word of God. I often get some interesting answers. The most common one and in my opinion the most ignorant one is that it was written by men inspired by God. But that only leads me to ask them how do they know this? The only answer is that the bible says this within its pages. 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,    2 Timothy 3:16
For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21
Arguing for the truth of the Bible through the Bible itself is like arguing that you own the best car in the world because it says so right there in the owners manual! The other tactic is to claim that the so called prophecies of the Old Testament have all come to pass and have been fulfilled in the New Testament. Really? Actually when you take a closer look at some of these so called prophecies you will quickly realize that what they attribute to prophecies about Christ are nothing more than prophecies taken out of context from the Old and reinterpreted to suit the needs of the New Testament. It's not hard to conclude that the figure of Christ was actually created with the Old Testament in mind. The O.T. was the mold and the N.T. was the final product.

Although many atheists are familiar with the Bible and have actually read it, the problem generally lies in that we don't believe in your god, nor that he inspired a book or revealed himself and his will to man through that book. The Tanach, New Testament, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and all other so called divine texts are viewed by most atheists as nothing more than the products of men. To accept any of them as the word of gods would be to beg the question, because there is no evidence that any of these gods exist outside of the imaginations of men.

The bottom line is that when it comes to Christian claims, the Bible is not evidence of the existence of your God. Subjective experiences such as visions, dreams, or the experience of the Holy Spirit are also not considered evidence. In order to prove that your God exists you must take on a monumental task. You must be able to prove that he exists both objectively and empirically which to date is impossible due to the hiddeness of god. Also, if you were to prove that your god exists then you must identify this god as the one you profess to believe in.

The Bible makes it clear that you cannot know God unless you make a commitment based on faith that he exists. Basically you are stating by doing so that "I have not seen nor heard God speak but I know that he is." Faith in layman terms is nothing more than an assumption based on a commitment to belief without evidence.

assumption: something that is believed to be true or probably true but that is not known to be true : something that is assumed

The entire Christian faith as well as others are based entirely on bad assumptions. The assumption that God exists, that his name is Yahweh or Jehovah, that he is eternal, that he exists outside of space and time, that the Bible in this case is his inspired word, and that he is the creator and first cause of all things that began to exist. In this case I dare to conclude that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the NIV of the scriptures. Word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online. 


  1. But where did we come from??? how did we get here??? what happens when we die??? where do we go??? do we go any where??? a few quesions??? not trying to offend :)

    1. Thanks for your comment Cherkara, those are all good questions. My contention in this post is that God did it is not the answer. We may not comprehend our origins fully, but inventing invisible beings to fill that gap in our understanding is not the answer.

      Notice that in most of your questions you are also assuming that there is a purpose to life (teleology). But why does there have to be any purpose at all aside from the purposes we make for ourselves in the here and now? Why concern ourselves with death and what follows it when knowledge of those things just can't be known?

      We know for sure that the death of a biological organism is irreversible due to the destruction of oxygen deprived cells. Animals face this same fate. We don't assume that our pets go to heaven or hell for the most part so why the exception when we think of ourselves?

      Who knows how many people have died since the existence of man? The idea that they are all in hell or in heaven is outright preposterous and illogical. Ultimately why is not the right question but rather how. Why implies purpose but is it too much of a stretch that there doesn't need to be a purpose to our existence? The fact that we are here now is enough for out lifetime to make our own purposes relevant to what we hope to achieve in this life.

    2. You raise an important issue with the question "what is the purpose of life". This is a question that philosophers and others have been trying to answer for years, and atheists and theists have never got an answer as it is subjective in my opinion. BTW I like you answer best "why does there have to be an answer".

    3. Thanks Christian. I just feel that life is what you make it for better or for worse. As individuals we all have goals and those are for each and every one of us our individual purpose in life. The Christian idea to why we exist does not hold water with me. Our sole purpose in life and in the afterlife according to what the scriptures teach is to worship and glorify God for all eternity. Just doing so in the afterlife promises us eternal bliss in the presence of the Lord.

      I see man in the same way I view all other forms of life. We all have one thing in common. We all live, age, die, and decay. The idea of an afterlife, heaven, hell, etc. are in my opinion unfounded concepts invented by man.

  2. It's better to just SAY "I don't know" than to make shit up - or regurgitate made-up shit.

    1. I don't know is thr right answer and I am comfortable with that. I don't see any difference between man and animals as far as life goes and our so called self imagined purpose. All life is dependent on one another in some way. We all are born, life, die, and what's left decays. In fact, ageing itself is a form of decay that progresses as we get older. Nothing extraordinary about that.

  3. I value your opinion on this matter; however, I choose faith over no faith. The inner peace I experience through my faith makes it all worthwhile. Plus - my faith calls me to live for more than myself, and there is something very "freeing" in that.

    I can't "prove" God; the same way science can't "prove" there's no God. In my opinion, you're "belief" in no God is just the same as my "belief" in a's based on faith.

    My faith calls me to love others and put their needs above my own, to give of my time and resources to help the poor and feed the hungry. In my opinion, this is what makes my belief in God enough "evidence" for me because otherwise, I honestly don't believe I would have any desire to go out of my way to live my life for any reasons other than selfish ambitions.

    But at the end of the day, when I'm dead and buried, if you end up being right and there really was/is no God, then I'll be decaying and rotting away like everyone else and I'll never know the difference. Even with this potential reality, I would rather live believing in a God and be wrong, than live not believing in a God and be wrong.

    Thanks for not being rude and offensive like a lot of atheists AND Christians alike can be when debating these topics. I believe the main point is to "agree to disagree" because it's like you've pointed out, neither side will ever be able to "prove" anything. And in my opinion, that's the beauty of it! If my believing in God or your not believing in God "offends" anyone, then that means ultimately they're scared to death that the reality is that theyre NEVER going to know for sure....and deep down they know something is missing, but they can't figure it out.

    Anyways, I'm not going to go any deeper because you sound MUCH smarter than me - I have an MBA, not a PhD..ha!

    Take care.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter Kyle, I appreciate your input. I agree with you to an extent but I think that you can be good without God. As an atheist when I see someone in need and I am able to assist them in some way I don't hesitate to do so. I don't mind giving up my seat on the bus or train for a pregnant woman, the elderly, or the handicapped. I don't mind helping a blind person across the street nor giving someone directions to a place I may be familiar with. I too get a sense of satisfaction and pride in being able to do those things. But I do them because they make me feel good and quite frankly I would love for someone to do the same for me if I was in the same position.

      The Bible says that you should "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" this is a great rule to live by. But you don't need God to do so this is just being human and exercising compassion.

      As for your being wrong and not losing anything if there is no God (pascals wager), I don't think that would be accurate. You lose the chance to live free in this life. To enjoy your time here to the fullest without the threat of hell or the need for worshiping a deity. I do all kinds of good things with my life and have a great time doing those things.

      I don't consider not believing in God a position of faith. The word faith is synonymous with hope and I don't have a hope that he does not exist. If he does exist and sends people to hell for something as simple as not acknowledging him even though they have lived decent lives then in my opinion he is not worthy of worship.