Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theory vs. Scientific theory

Throughout my many debates with theists both online and in person I have come upon a common stumbling block for theists due to a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the word theory. Many theists that I have encountered have mistakenly taken the word theory as defined by the common layman to mean the same thing as the word is used in scientific circles.

theory:
  1. speculation: abstract thought or contemplation
  2. idea formed by speculation: an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture


The definition above is the definition of theory that is in common use among most of us in the English speaking world. The key word in that definition is "speculation," so let's take a moment to define that word as well so that by the time I am done we will be perfectly clear as to what that word means and how it ties into the definition of the word theory.

speculation:
  1. opinion based on incomplete information: a conclusion, theory, or opinion based on incomplete facts or information
  2. reasoning based on incomplete information: reasoning based on incomplete facts or information
The key word in the definition of speculation is opinion and we all know what those are; so I wont waste your time trying to define it. An opinion is a subjective idea based not on known facts, but on ones personal views about a subject or situation. For example, it is my personal opinion that gods or the biblical God does not exist. It is not a definite fact because there is no way to prove or disprove that he or they do. Any assertions made by faith as used in religious circles is not based on facts but on speculation and are therefore opinions. This is why the burden of proof for the existence of gods is entirely on the one making the positive assertion that they do.

The next word we want to design is theory or "scientific theory" as it is used in science. For this next definition I have chosen to utilize a definition from a science education website called 'Live Science' I will be using the entire definition because at the same time it explains the scientific theory and differentiates the word theory as it is understood in common usage.

scientific theory:

When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.


As you can see in the diagram above and in the definition of scientific theory there is a huge difference on how scientists come up with theories and how they are interpreted. A scientific theory is an explanation of something based on observation, experimentation, and has been tested and confirmed as a general principle.


Note: Word definition were taken from Bing online and livescience.com

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Homosexuality in the bible

It's kind of surprising to me today that there are Christian sects that are actually considering allowing the marriage of gays and in some cases even having gays serve in leadership roles in the church. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way homophobic I am actually referred to among gays as being gay friendly. I have a simple policy to life and that is that one should live and let live. As long as a relationship is by two consenting adults their sex in my view is irrelevant. The way I see it; what they do in their bedroom in no way bothers nor directly affects my life.

But the view of the church is not so open as is quite evident in the Bible itself. There are numerous verses within the scriptures that outright condemn the gay lifestyle. The purpose for this article is to demonstrate clearly and irrefutably that the church if it gives in to the pressures of society to accept gays in its congregations etc. it will be in clear violation of the so called word of God.

What is the Bible's role in the church?

The purpose of the Bible in the church is that it was meant to serve as a guidebook for the church on all things God. It represents the Christian deity's revelations to mankind regarding how one should live their lives in a way that would be pleasing to the god that they claim to worship. Yet throughout the length of its existence it has been subjected to endless redaction, translation, exegesis, and reworkings. One of the cardinal no no's in the bible is the adding or taking away from its texts. Yet believers tend to do this all the time when they cherry pick their way through the scriptures willfully ignoring those laws that don't agree with them.

First let's look at the scriptures to identify and define the woman's place according to the bible. From the beginning the scriptures teach that the woman was created for the man as a helper and to serve his every need. 

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 After making all sorts of animals he still could not find a suitable helper for Adam and finally he then created Eve out of Adams rib.

To the woman he said,“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;with painful labor you will give birth to children.Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

Throughout the scriptures this pattern is often repeated. Women in the scriptures usually play a subservient role to their male counterparts. Even though the New Testament says that Jesus had women that also were a part of his regular followers we often see them ministering to the needs of Christ and his apostles. So according to the scriptures the woman was made for the man which is not surprising considering that the Hebrew culture is based on a patriarchal society.This also explains why the biblical God is expressed as a male figure and a misogynist.

patriarchy: social system in which men dominate: a social system in which men are regarded as the authority within the family and society, and in which power and possessions are passed on from father to son
 
In the New Testament Paul reiterates what he believes is the place of a woman in a mans world. Although in the following text he was discussing the issue of women having a head covering during worship he brought up the matter of a woman's place on the totem pole of society. Keep in mind that Paul was a misogynistic pig.

misogyny: hatred of women: a hatred of women, as a sexually defined group
 
7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 1 Corinthians 11:7-9

11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1Timothy 2:11-15 
 
Now that we have established the role of the woman in the church we can also from these same scriptures see that man is supposed to love and respect his wife and treat her fairly. 
 
7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7  Some men gloss over the part where they are supposed to treat their partner with respect (more cherry picking). 

Now what does the bible have to say about the homosexual lifestyle? Let's take a very good look at that so that there would be no doubts about it. 

"'Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. Leviticus 18:22 

"'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Leviticus 20:13

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27
 
 

The underlined portion of that verse refers to lesbianism; just to clarify for those lesbians out there who think that just because it says for the most part men with men know that it also means women with women and refers to these acts as unnatural. Now you know where the theists get it from. 

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 1 Corinthians 6:9
 
 

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:7
 
The author of Jude went as far as comparing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah due to sexual depravity to what awaits those who practice such things in eternity. Paul states that gays and other groups that practice immoral sex acts will not inherit the kingdom. It's a shame that it takes an atheist to point this out to the church. But today's world also reveals the antiquated superstitions of the Bible as nothing more than the expression of prejudices and all manner of discrimination and persecution in the name of God. 

There you have it! Notice that I have used verses from both the Old and New Testament specifically to counter that argument before it even starts. Sexual immorality is a big issue in the scriptures even though the NIV uses the word detestable the KJV utilizes the word abomination when it refers to homosexual relationships. Some churches are defying these commandments in order to stay relevant in today's society and in doing so are demonstrating once again their love of hypocrisy. The Bible makes it quite clear that there is no compromising the law. 

Jesus taught forgiveness. Remember the story of the adultress whom the town sought to stone? Jesus told them "he who is without sin cast the first stone." Everyone walked away because obviously all of them were sinners in one way or another. He then said to the woman "go and sin no more." He forgave her but then admonished her to not continue in that life. You can read all about it in John 8:2-11 So going by the teachings of the bible just because you are gay doesn't mean that you cannot be saved, it just means that once you accept the gospel you have to leave that lifestyle behind. 

Technically based on what we have learned through the scriptures the idea of a gay Christian should be considered an oxymoron. But clearly that is not the case, there are many gays out there claiming to be Christians just as there are women pastors in some churches which is also contradictory to the teachings of the Bible but that is a topic for another day.

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version and all word definitions are from Bing dictionary online.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The problem of evil no problem at all

Epicurus was a an ancient Greek philosopher who lived around 341-279 BCE. He is often credited with what is known amongst believers and atheists alike as the Epicurean Paradox or its more common name today 'The problem of evil.' The best way for me to tackle this so called imaginary problem is to just lay it out for you and commence to expound upon it till I reach what I think is the obvious and most logical conclusion.

The Epicurean Paradox/Problem of Evil

Some atheists like to use this argument to disprove the existence of the biblical god.  But personally, I think that this argument doesn't do that at all. It all boils down to definitions and what ones perception of a god is. According to the Bing dictionary a god is defined as: 'supernatural being: one of a group of supernatural male beings in some religions, each of which is worshiped as the personification or controller of some aspect of the universe' 

If we define the biblical god as a supernatural being who exists outside of time and space and is eternal as expressed in the Bible then we have a rational starting point. He is called the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. He is also defined in the scriptures as having no beginning but being eternal. Based on these theological assumptions Christians believe him to be the prime mover or uncaused cause that created the universe ex-nihilo (out of nothing) and everything in it. 

One of the major problems I have with the problem of evil is that it assumes right from the start that God is good. In fact, not only is he good he is the ultimate good; he is omnibenevolent. I believe that anyone who would take the time to read the bible would easily see that this view of the biblical deity is incorrect. The bible clearly demonstrates through the concept of anthropomorphism that God's attributes are many and amongst them is evil. 

evil:
  1.morally bad: profoundly immoral or wrong
  2.harmful: deliberately causing great harm, pain, or upset
  3.causing misfortune: characterized by, bringing, or signifying bad luck 
 
 Pantheon of Greek gods and godesses
 
Why do people assume that God is good? Man has been creating gods since time immemorial and has created both evil and good gods as demonstrated in the Pantheon of Greek gods. Based on the above definition as provided by Bing dictionary and a careful reading of the scriptures we see that God fits the description of evil because of the acts ascribed to him. The story of the so called worldwide flood as narrated in Genesis chapter 6 in my view qualifies as the perfect example of evil perpetrated against mankind by a deity. Sodom and Gomorrah is another example of a  god acting against mans misconception of what he is supposed to be like. 
 
"See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. Deuteronomy 32:39
 
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. Jeremiah 10:10
 
As you can see from the above citations that the authors of the scriptures did not simply perceive their god as good but as evil something to be feared. Today's Christians struggle with this because they do not see this duality in the nature of their god, or they dare not call God evil. Either way they are in denial as to the evil nature of God. This is understandable because throughout the scriptures man is led to believe that God's acts are just because of the "wickedness of man." In other words every evil that has befallen us is basically our own fault and the consequences of our rebelling against God by not living in a manner that is pleasing to him.
 
4“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 
 
It's interesting that the author of the so called ten commandments has God describe himself as jealous. I find this interesting for the simple fact that I consider the emotion known as jealousy as a negative emotion. Like the biblical deity, because of jealousy man has committed many atrocious acts against each other even against those they claim to love such as a domestic partner or spouse. 
 
  1. envious: feeling bitter and unhappy because of another's advantages, possessions, or luck
  2. suspicious of rivals: feeling suspicious about a rival's or competitor's influence, especially in regard to a loved one
  3. watchful: possessively watchful of something
The Bing definition above helps put our argument into perspective even further. Being that jealousy and anger are not positive personality traits I have come to the conclusion that the idea of the biblical god being omnibenevolent (all good) is a false one. In fact the bible states that we are created in God's image, but in all reality it is the other way around for it is man that has created the gods. The biblical deity more often than he is credited for demonstrates the duality of man in his words and his deeds.

 The duality of man

One of my favorite classical tales that demonstrate the duality of man best is that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. All of us are capable of evil or even of harming another human being under the right circumstances. Sometimes we are forced into a position where our life depends on our hurting or even killing another in defense of ourselves, our loved ones, or a friend. What's God's motive for killing and or harming humanity? Disobedience!

I define the biblical god with three words: megalomaniac, dictator, and tyrant! His only reason for harming or hurting mankind is disobedience. God wants absolute power over and unquestioning loyalty from his servants. Christians give him that by calling him good despite the many flagrant violent acts attributed to him in the scriptures. The bible even has a name for it; it's called blasphemy. 

blasphemy:
  1. disrespect for religion: disrespect for God or sacred things
  2. something showing disrespect for religion: something done or said that shows disrespect for God or sacred things
 This is one of the major problems I have with apologetics and so called philosophical arguments about God. If you are going to argue about the biblical deity then you must extrapolate from the bible itself what it has to say about him. Arguing for example about the attributes of God without considering the bible's description of what those attributes are is nonsensical and misleading.

This reminds me of the battered girlfriend or spouse who after being beaten by the one she loves goes out of her way to justify his actions; often blaming herself for what he has done to her! Like Christians/Jews/and Muslims they justify the evil actions of their god by taking the blame for his actions upon themselves. Like the battered wife stuck in an abusive relationship they claim: "he beats me because he loves me!'" Believers are stuck in an abusive relationship with an imaginary being of their own creation. Nothing could be more ironic than that.

It is my conclusion that contrary to Epicurus's statement:"Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent" I am convinced that this premise is false. It is based on the assumption that God is all good which a reading of the scriptures without fear and bias will clearly demonstrate to be wrong. God is like all men the possessor of both evil and good. Once this is recognized the so called problem of evil goes away.

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version and all word definitions are from the Bing dictionary online.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

God loves death!

Most Christians upon conversion are often told how much God loves them. They are taught that he gave his son as a sacrifice for their sins and to serve as a ransom for us all. With his blood a new covenant is established with mankind and he opens the door for man to once again establish a direct relationship with God through him. Jesus is our intercessor, our mediator, our advocate before the Lord. But they forget to inform you that God is not all love, peace, and happiness. They forget to inform you that their is a dark side to this deity that you as a believer may never want to cross.

39“See now that I myself am he!There is no god besides me.I put to death and I bring to life,I have wounded and I will heal,and no one can deliver out of my hand.40I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear:As surely as I live forever,41when I sharpen my flashing swordand my hand grasps it in judgment,I will take vengeance on my adversariesand repay those who hate me.42I will make my arrows drunk with blood,while my sword devours flesh:the blood of the slain and the captives,the heads of the enemy leaders.” Deuteronomy 32:39-42

In dire need of anger management!

The church forgets to tell you that God has some serious anger management issues and is someone not only to be loved but to be feared as well. You see the biblical deity has this policy that basically says "it's my way or else!" The latter part of that statement is the one you have to be concerned about, because the bible is filled with horrendous descriptions that bring about horrible images of all the things he can do to you when you step out of line. 

In the bible physical death is just the beginning. God's wrath can follow you into eternity and he gets some kind of sick satisfaction knowing that you are paying for your disobedience with eternal pain and suffering. 

Hell
 
You see, God invented this place called hell which according to the scriptures he meant to use for the Devil and his angels but then decided what the heck I might as well dispose of sinner there as well. "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41 
 
The biblical deity is fond of death. The bible is full of death threats to those who don't obey God and in the Old Testament the good Lord makes good on those threats on various occasions. "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." Luke 12:5 I guess for God fear is a sign of respect when in all actuality it is not. If you are forced to obey someone and even give that person your love because of fear then you don't love and respect that person you fear them and what they can do to you. 
 
Exodus 21 has some interesting rules where God advocates the death penalty
15“Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.
16“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession
17“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
 
Exodus 22
18“Do not allow a sorceress to live.
19“Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.
20“Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed
 
Lethal injection chamber
 
Leviticus 20 is chock full of death penalty laws 
2“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death.
9“ ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
10“ ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
11“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14“ ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.

I think you all get the point! It's ironic how today's Christians are against the death penalty when the very god they claim to worship was more than fond of it. They stand outside courthouses protesting the death penalty and calling it murder, but why is it okay for God to be exempt? The biblical god has done his fair share of murder and has ordered death and executions throughout the bible against those that broke his laws. He often gloats about how powerful he is and how we are all required to fear him in our hearts. 

There were several reasons why I left the church but when I began reading the bible from cover to cover it was precisely the savagery of God that propelled me towards atheism. How could anyone respect, love, and worship such a monster? I've often compared God to tyrants and dictators of our histories past, but when it comes to a one on one relationship he reminds me of an abusive boyfriend or spouse. You know the type he hits beats his partner up and then explains how much he loves her and how she drove him to beat her. In domestic violence situations it's always the victims fault. The abuser does not take responsibility for his own actions. God doesn't either.

There is a great book out that focuses on the evil that this god of the bible has done. If hell were real then we would have to say that he continues to do. The book is entitled 'Drunk With Blood: God's Killings in the Bible.'The idea of worshiping anyone or anything is against my nature. I tend to view us all as equals although some of us make bad choices in life and tend to get derailed from living a good life. From a naturalistic perspective what we call evil makes so much more sense then positing evil on a devil or some made up deity. 

 
For more information on this title you can go to the official website here. You can preview the book there and purchase it directly through the site. 

Note: All biblical citations  are from the New International Version
 
 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Christian hypocrisy

Hypocrite:
1. a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2. a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings 
 
When I was a believer I was what you would call a fanatic fundamentalist. I took the bible to be the the inerrant word of God and I interpreted it for the most part literally. One of the hardest things I found was that it is impossible to walk the walk, but so much easier to talk the talk. Let me explain, one of the problems I have with theists today is that the majority of them talk about holiness, righteousness, and even go as far as claiming the higher moral ground above the rest of us. But their personal and sometimes even  their public lives are not a reflection of what they claim to believe. 
 
I was astonished to find later on as an atheist that most atheists have read the bible in its entirety at least once, and demonstrate more knowledge of the scriptures and what they teach than most theists! The Jesus of faith was supposed to be the role model for all believers on how one should conduct themselves in their everyday life. Yet most of the theists I have been exposed to are always in some violation or violations of God's commands as outlined in the bible. 
 
The first and most blatant violation is that theists spend a lot of time and energy judging everyone and anyone that does not agree with their beliefs. Sometimes they're not only judgmental in a critical way, but often in a very hostile manner. Jesus himself was made to say in the scriptures that these are the very people he called hypocrites those that judge and condemn others.
 
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37
 
 
 Christians judge us all the time, they condemn us to hell when they fail to sway us from our beliefs, and often times I have seen them gloat online about seeing us burning in hell after our death. That is not forgiveness, What that is is spite! In fact, Jesus taught in the scriptures that believers are the light in the world. 
 
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 
"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:12
 
All this means, is that you my dear Christian are supposed to lead by example. Remember that the bible describes all nonbelievers as blind and walking in darkness and believers as walking in the light. But a hypocrite is not actually walking in the light he is just as blind as the rest of us because he is not living according to the word of God. 
 
And he spoke a parable to them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:39 
 
I dare say that most people that are professing to be Christians of some form or another are just as lost as the rest of us. They are similar to Jesus' rivals the scribes and the pharisees who constantly followed him around judging everything he said and did. Trying to find fault with him so that they may condemn him. But Jesus said of them that they were hypocrites because they talked about the Law and holiness but did not live up to its standards. 
 
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Mark 7:6
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. Matthew 23:27
 
 
These two verses describe in my opinion the majority of Christians today. I will go so far as to call them modern day scribes and pharisees. They judge everything and everyone about such matters as fornication, being gay, of being of another religion or Christian sect, adultery, blasphemy, etc. But the funny thing is that most of them do these very same things. I can't even count how many times it was discovered that a couple at church was not married but were living together and having sexual relations. Or how many times a minister was arrested for sexually abusing kids in the ministry, or when prominent ministers such as Benny Hinn were making a very good living ripping off the faithful with false hopes and promises. 

Many Christians state that atheists are not to be trusted. That we are immoral, corrupt, and use the fact that we don't believe in God against us. We are discriminated against often and join the many other groups out there such as gays and women's suffrage groups, ex felons, etc. What these hypocrites fail to realize is that they are not living up to the standards required by their own God in his so called word.
 
23Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”He said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Luke 13:23-24
13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 




Based on these two verses alone it seems like a lot of you claiming salvation if the bible is true will be heading for one hell of a rude awakening. Because apparently hypocrites will not make it into the kingdom of heaven either. Take care and I will see you in the imaginary land of the lost you call hell. 

Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 1 John 2:4  

A hypocrites whole life is a lie; and liars and hypocrites will not be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. 

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The shield of faith

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

The full armor of God

Have you ever wondered why theists apparently don't seem to get it that their beliefs are irrational? Have you ever sighed a long breath of frustration after dumbing down the simplest facts and still getting resistance? Have you ever thought to yourself what the hell is wrong with this person while engaged in a debate about the existence of God? Well my friend, today's your lucky day; because I am going to break it down for you from the perspective of a former fundamentalist evangelist. 

It's funny that the bible refers to the analogy of a soldiers armaments to emphasize the need to arm yourself spiritually against the world and the wiles of Satan. Every piece of the armor is given a spiritual equivalent. The most important weapons that a soldier or knight may have are his primary offensive weapon his sword (the word of God), and his defensive weapon his shield (faith). 

The shield of faith

1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
 
Assurance:
  1. pledge or promise: a declaration that inspires or is intended to inspire confidence
  2. confidence: confidence in personal ability or status
  3. certainty: freedom from uncertainty
The definition of assurance comes from the Bing online dictionary which I have also linked to. As you can see there are three definitions, but for the sake of my argument here I will be referring strictly to the third one. I remember when I was a theist that there was a very popular song amongst believers entitled 'Blessed assurance.' As a fundamentalist Christian I was sure that what the bible said was inerrant and true. Anything that contradicted these "facts" could only come from one source: Satan!

As a fundamentalist I found that loyalty played a huge part in my faith in God. Loyalty to the Lord and what I believed about him was the most important part of my life at the time. I was a man on a mission who had committed one hundred percent of my life to what I believed. There were no words that could dissuade me of what I knew deep down inside to be the truth. Science, logical thinking, reason, all were nothing but tools of the devil to deceive the faithful.

19For it is written:“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:19-20

The man in the picture is Thomas Jefferson and the quote attributed to him is a very reasonable piece of advice that we can apply to our lives and how we think and view the world we live in. But questioning God or the existence of God was not even an option. My personal definition of faith is what I like to call voluntary ignorance. With the wealth of information that is out there wouldn't it seem logical that you would want to put your faith to the test? Wouldn't you want to find a sure fire way to prove to others that the god you believe in and bow down to is in fact real and whose existence is beyond refutation?

This is where the problem lies. The bible condemns your questioning God, once you accept that he exists and submit your will to his then your job is to be a good little servant and obey. 

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Romans 9:20

The shield of faith deflects all reason, logic, understanding against anything that is against what a believer professes. As in real life combat, a shield as mentioned above is a defensive weapon meant to deflect the enemies strikes against you. Faith requires loyalty to stand up against scrutiny. 

  1. state of being loyal: the quality or state of being loyal
  2. feeling of duty: a feeling of devotion, duty, or attachment to somebody or something
As a Jew, Muslim, or Christian you feel obligated to your god of choice, and once fully committed you would defend those beliefs to the death if necessary. Religious beliefs are much like extreme patriotism. Oscar Wilde said it best when he said:"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious." Like patriots all three adherents of the various faiths mentioned above have demonstrated throughout history that they are willing to kill and die if necessary for their beliefs. The numerous crusades were caused by  a combination of the desire for political and religious power.

In conclusion, we can attribute the theistic stance against science, logic, and reason to two primary reasons. The first and foremost reason is faith and the next and last reason is loyalty it's that simple. Breaking free from the delusions of religious beliefs is a personal journey that one must take on his/her own. There are no words that another can tell you to shake your faith nor any evidence that could dissuade you from your beliefs. Whatever it is that leads you to question your beliefs has to come from within you. That was my experience and I have found that every individual experience is different.

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version I have also used Bing search for word definitions used in this post.

Monday, May 20, 2013

God hates women!

I have seen others broach this subject but I feel that the evidences they have presented are inadequate. Let's see what the bible has to say about women from the scriptures themselves. It is my intent to demonstrate through the scriptures that the biblical god has demonstrated a disdain for women. I want to start by stating that the bible generally promotes a  misogynistic view of  women.

Misogynistic: reflecting or exhibiting hatred, dislike, mistrust, or mistreatment of women.

I can literally quote and name so many instances in the bible where women are blamed for all sorts of calamities, treated like they are worth nothing, etc. But before any theist reads this and starts crying about how women in the bible have been used from time to time for blessings etc. I want you to know that I am aware of it. But I feel that women generally get the short end of the stick in the bible. 

Adam blamed Eve for tempting him to eat of the fruit that God commanded them not to. 
12"The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 Just like a coward who would not take responsibility for his part he points the finger at Eve. He could have scolded her and simply said no!

God cursed Eve for tempting Adam part of that curse was to give man rule over his wife.
16To the woman he said,“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;with painful labor you will give birth to children.Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

The author of 1 Timothy uses the story of the fall as a reference to why women should be subject to men. 
11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1 Timothy 2:11-15

When Abram made his way to Egypt he instructed his wife Sarai to tell the Pharaoh that she was his sister and not his wife. Abram feared that because his wife was so beautiful that Pharaoh would kill him and take her from him. Where is the confidence in the promises of God? God had promised him a bunch of good things at the beginning of the chapter. But in the end Sarai was blamed for Abram's ruse. 

And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. Genesis 12:16-17

Often in the Old Testament women are blamed for all sorts of evil. In fact they are considered 2nd class citizens in the scriptures and are considered property of the man. It was a woman named Delilah who was used to tempt Samson into giving up the secret to his strength which led to his death. It was a woman behind the beheading of John the Baptist. 

Here are some more verses from the N.T. about how women were meant to be subject to their husbands. The old barefoot and pregnant attitudes of misogynistic men may stem from some of these texts.




Even the early church fathers held this same position regarding women. 

St. Clement of Alexandria (2nd Century, Greek Father of the Church) : "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman...the consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame" 

 Tertullian (2nd Century, African Father of the Church) : Women are "the devil's gateway." 

St. John Chrysostom (4th and 5th Centuries, Bishop of Constantinople) : "It does not profit a man to marry. For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?...The whole of her body is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum and the fluid of digested food ... If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and the cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is only a whitened sepulchre.


Finally, I'd like to cap it off with one of my favorite Youtubers on this matter. If you are offended by vulgar language you may want to skip the video. Otherwise, enjoy! If you like this video feel free to visit his Youtube page here.

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

On Christian apologetics

Apologetics: The word "apologetics" is derived from the Greek word "apologia," which means to make a defense.  It has come to mean defense of the faith. Apologetics covers many areas: who Jesus is, the reliability of the Bible, refuting cults, biblical evidences in the history and archeology, answering objections, etc.  In short, it deals with giving reasons for Christianity being the true religion.(Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry).

The first problem I have with apologetics is its claim that Christianity is the one "true" religion. Based on this definition, what you are basically stating is that no matter what branch or sect of Christianity you claim to be a part of you are nothing more than a fundamentalist believer. The so called truth of Christianity is the one thing that all believers seem to agree on. Man is corrupted by this thing called sin and only the blood of Christ can wash it away and restore you and make you presentable before God.

 
Another issue I have with apologetics is that while on one hand the bible and theists condemn human knowledge and philsophy as corrupt they misuse human philosophy to bolster support for their beliefs. It seems to me that everything that man has invented as a means to obtaining knowledge Christians misuse and misrepresent in such a way as to make it seem to support their claims. They rename and repackage it to serve as a new tool in their arsenal. For example philosopy becomes apologetics, the big bang and  the theory of evolution becomes creationism or ID (Intelligent design theory).  In this sense I am in agreement with the late Christopher Hitchens assertion that "religion poisons everything."

One of the biggest flaws of apologetics is that it starts with the assertion that God is real but not just any god it has to be the Christian God. All of their arguments start with a belief in their god as a "basic belief" so they start with an unproven and even unprovable assertion based on faith and by the time they are done they end up right back where they began. This is known in the tenets of logic as circular reasoning and it's considered one of many logical fallacies often utilized by apologists. 

As in a criminal case you start with first establishing a theory or fact such as the existence of the biblical god. Then you have to find evidence in favor of your main assertion. Christians cannot admit that proving the existence of their god is not objectively possible and because of this makes his existence highly improbable. This is where theists and atheists differ the most, atheists demand proof, especially with something as important as religious beliefs and worship. If I commit my life to God I need to know without a shadow of a doubt that he exists.

If we are to believe the scriptures then believing in God is a life long commitment that takes work. You see it is not enough to say I believe because the bible teaches that faith without works is dead. It takes a conscious effort to live in a way that you believe is pleasing to your god based on what you have been taught and on your understanding of the scriptures. So Pascals wager doesn't work or apply here. It would only be true if you only had to make a conscious decision to believe that Jesus is Lord and then be able to go on with your life as if nothing had changed. But clearly the bible demands that your conduct reflect your beliefs. So in the end believing is not enough.

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:14;17;19

14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 

Apologetics is laden with a myriad of logical fallacies such as circular reasoning, red herrings, straw man attacks, appeal to arguments from "authority," begging the question, faulty analogy,etc. For example the famous watch analogy so beloved by apologists. 

 Comparing a watch to a human organism is a faulty analogy

Comparing a machine of known human invention to the universe and an unknown and unprovable god is as idiotic as comparing the workings of a wood chipper to the human digestive system. Although there may seem to be apparent order in nature, this sort of argument doesn't take into account the obvious chaos we see in nature every day. Chaos such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, lightening storms, etc. are best explained naturally and scientifically without the necessity to defend from the argument from evil if you choose to believe in the existence of God. 

The actual purpose of apologetics was to guard against false doctrines and teachings within the Christian church and community. Not to argue for the existence of God or to attempt to make your beliefs rational and coherent for nonbelievers. 

14Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
2 Timothy 2:14-16

23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26

The first few verses are directed towards the church and how to handle internal conflicts within the church regarding doctrines. The second set of verses is directed towards the church on how to handle arguments against nonbelievers or opponents of the church. Notice the assertion of truth and the tone of the text as it states that nonbelievers will "come to their senses." A perfect example of arrogance beyond any that I have ever seen! Remember that the bible teaches that the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God.

20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1Corinthians 1:20 

Contrary to what the bible teaches about its so called truth Christians are doing the opposite. They are not content to just know and preach their self proclaimed and baseless "truth," they want to force feed it to everyone else as well. Don't get me wrong, they have every right to defend their beliefs. But when others don't accept those beliefs they are duty bound to leave them to their own devices and not to force those beliefs on the rest of society. These were the instructions Jesus allegedly gave to his disciples when he sent them out to the Israelits to preach the coming of the kingdom.

14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Matthew 10:14

In other words leave them the hell alone! Let them suffer the consequences of their disobedience and unwillingness to hear the word of the Lord. All theists need to learn this lesson and stop trying to force their beliefs on everyone by using deceit and wily stratagems such as ID to try to pass off their theologies as science.

Apologists, stop trying to convince us that your nonsense is true. If it's true to you then it is a truth that you have accepted. As for the rest of us we would really appreciate it if you just left us alone. I am not only referring to atheist and agnostics but also to other adherents of competing beliefs. Stop trying to force the world to accept what you believe because it goes against everything you claim. You say that we all have free will well I have chosen my right to exercise that will to not believe in your nonsense. 

Stop trying to use government officials to sway legislation in favor of what you believe. Stop trying to halt the progress of science because you feel that it is a violation of what your god wants. Stop trying to force your way into our public schools with your ten commandments, prayer in the classrooms, or the teaching of that joke you pass for science Intelligent Design. You've given us your side, you have spoken what you believe to be true, now do as the disciples and wipe the dust from your feet and keep it moving. 

 Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Translation


Friday, May 17, 2013

The Devil made me do it!

One of the things I despised as a fundamentalist Christian was how some of my fellow believers and evangelists blamed everything on the devil. My partner in the ministry was one of those types of believers. He blamed the devil for everything from epilepsy to homosexuality, to natural urges such as lust and even "normal" sexual desires. He viewed women that dressed "too provocatively" as immoral instruments of Satan to draw men away from God through distracting them through sexual lusts and desires.

Since God hates women I thank the devil for women like Rosario Dawson! 

Sick people today love to use either God or the Devil as scapegoats for the crimes they commit against their own children, husbands, wives, family members, or society. They claim to hear voices in their heads telling them to kill such and such. This is not the result of demons or devils or God for that matter. It is more than likely that the person suffers from multiple personality disorders, schizophrenia, psychotic breaks and delusions. 

New York's infamous David Berkowitz aka the Son of Sam.

David Berkowitz was a serial killer who began his spree in the summer of 1976 and which lasted a little over a year. He was also known as the 44 caliber killer because his crimes consisted of shooting people with a 44 calibre pistol. He claimed that he received his orders from a demon that had possessed his neighbors dog! Fortunately after he was captured and sentenced he was given six consecutive life sentences, so luckily for us we wont be seeing him in the local supermarket anytime soon. 

Today I was watching a Spanish television realityy court show where two people were seeking a divorce after 27 years of marriage because they found out that both their adult kids were gay! Mom could not take it because she was religious and dad could not take it because he was an ignorant discriminating asshole who is still stuck in the bronze ages. As experts there was presented a reverend, a psychiatrist, and a medical doctor. The kids agreed to undergo an exorcism in the court room and not suprisingly it was an utter failure. The judge reamed out the reverend and set the parents straight on their need to love their kids for who they are. 

When I was in the church preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ I too was opposed to homosexuality. But my position on the matter was that gays were still children of God and that you could not get through to them if it wasn't with genuine love and understanding. My younger sister is gay, and she first came out to me. She asked my opinion about God's view on gays and I gave it to her based on my beliefs in a non-offensive or critical manner. But I found a couple of Christian groups who are calling gays people who are damned to hell or possessed by demons. But it's okay! God can fix it with a simple exorcism. 
Tell that gay cock sucking demon to go to hell!! LOL
As much as I hate and despise all types of discrimination I found this video quite entertaining. It seems that there are demons out there that give you the urge if you are a guy to suck a dick and desire to have all out gay sex with another man. The same can be said about those evil lesbian inducing spirits of hell that can cause an otherwise "normal" woman to desire to have sex with her female friends. When will Christians get it that these things are not demons they are just human nature. They need to learn to live in their own delusions and leave the rest of the world the hell alone. 

Citing messianic prophecy out of context

As a former Christian believer I had never thought to ponder the questions regarding the prophecies normally cited by believers as references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. While writing and searching for material for another post I came across a prophesy cited in the New Testament as being a prophecy of the coming of Christ.

22"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:22-23

This is a direct citation of a similar prophecy found in the Old Testament.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

For the purpose of this post I want to focus on the meaning of the original prophecy found in the book of Isaiah. By putting it in its proper context I will demonstrate that the author of Matthew, whoever he was cited this quote out of context. and finally to demonstrate that it was indeed not meant to be taken as a prophecy about the birth of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately for Christians this prophecy has nothing to do with Christ!

 In order to fully comprehend the true meaning of this prophecy you must read Isaiah chapter seven in its entirety. But here for brevity's sake I will break it down and simplify it for you since the language used is a little hard to follow and at times confusing.

At the time that this prophecy was given, Ahaz king of Judah was under the threat of attack by Aram and Ephraim. Their ultimate goal was to overthrow the king of Judah and take his kingdom and divide it amongst themselves. The author relates that Ahaz was afraid of this very dangerous and imminent threat.

"Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind." Isaiah 7: 2

In response to this threat the Lord sends his prophet Isaiah and his son to meet with Ahaz with a word from the Lord. God wanted to reassure Ahaz that he would lay both Aram and Ephraim to waste and that their plans would not come to fruition; hence the reference: " Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood"

After receiving the prophecy from Isaiah King Ahaz was told to ask for a sign from the Lord to which he refused because he did not want to test the Lord.

12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” Isaiah 7:12

But Isaiah gave him a prophecy relating to a sign anyway. Which is the main subject of this post the prophecy about a virgin giving birth and naming him Immanuel which as the text suggest means God with us. Not as in the incarnation of God as in Christ dwelling and walking the earth with us sinful humans as Christians believe. But rather God with us in the sense that he is on their side and they are in his good graces. The child itself is not significant in any other way, the text does not hint of a miraculous birth. In fact, the way the word virgin in this text should be translated is "young woman" not virgin as in a woman who has never known a man who has her hymen intact while giving birth.

Because of his disobedience of God through Isaiah Ahaz incurs some consequences, but the Lord still will fulfill his promise to deliver them from Aram and Ephraim. The consequences have to do with the Assyrians but at this time they are not relevant to this post so I wont get into them.

16"for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

Notice the specificity of the above mentioned prophecy. This was for Ahaz and his people during their time. There is no hint whatsoever in this entire chapter that states that a messiah will come to deliver his people. This is simply just another one of Christianity's inventions borrowed from the Old Testament to bolster their new belief systems acceptability and credibility by tying it to the older traditions of the Jews.  

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The perpetual virginity of Mary

In this post I would like to discuss the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. In other words the idea that Mary after having given birth to her first son Jesus by the miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit, remained a virgin for the rest of her life. I find that the New Testament answers this question quite thoroughly without the need for apologetics or mental gymnastics to try and interpret the relevant texts to say things we wish were true.

The blessed virgin Mary

There was a huge debate amongst biblical scholars and apologists regarding the meaning of the word virgin as used in the Old Testament (hā·‘al·māh) and its equivalent Greek word (parthenos) used in the New Testament. The debate was centered around whether the word virgin meant the same back then in the time it was used in the texts as it did to us now. The Hebrew version of the word could be used to refer to a young maiden and not necessarily a virgin in our modern day traditional sense, and it can mean virgin. Either way I will overlook this part of the discussion and give them the benefit of the doubt that virgin as used in the New Testament texts in reference to Mary meant a woman who had not had sexual intercourse with a man. 

Catholics insist that Mary never had sex with Joseph and did not have any more children after the birth of Jesus. So I will like to start this discussion by dispelling the first myth. That is, if we are to take the N.T. literally regarding this matter without alluding to parables, allegories, etc. The most telling verse in the gospels that gives one the impression that Mary did in fact consummate her marriage with Joseph after birthing Jesus is found in the book of Matthew. 

But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:25

The context of this verse states that Joseph was betrothed to Mary so they were already arranged to be married. But when he found out that she was pregnant and he had not yet had intercourse with her he was thinking of quietly cancelling the wedding. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained the situation. He then realized that the child would be sent from God and went on and married her as the Lord had commanded him. 

The text I have cited says that he did not consummate the marriage and ends the sentence with until she gave birth indicating that he did in fact consummate the marriage later on. The word until as used in this sentence basically can be interpreted as Joseph not having sex with Mary till she gave birth giving me the impression that he did so afterwards.

There are other verses that support my conclusion quite clearly in the gospel of Matthew where it states that Jesus took a trip to his home town and was preaching to the people and they were amazed at his knowledge. 

55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  Mathew 13:55-56 

According to the author of Matthew who most likely wasn't Matthew at all; not only were the people impressed by Jesus display of knowledge, but also by the fact that they had apparently known him and his family before he left to start his ministry. This was of course before he was baptized by John and set out to fulfill his calling. In the text they mention that he has four brothers and an unknown number of sisters. Mark is believed to have been the first gospel written and it is thought that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark. As a result of this it is no surprise to find a similar passage in Mark.

3"Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him." Mark 6:3

Finally, the apostle Paul makes a reference to James the brother of Jesus in Galatians 1:19 "I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother." and Matthew 12:46 "While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him." All these texts serve as evidence to Jesus having had biological siblings. So as you have seen the bible itself attest to the fact that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus.

After Jesus she got freaky with it!

My position on the matter is that Jesus never existed and so the whole story of a virgin birth is just as false and fictional as most of the stories in the scriptures. But those are future posts best left for another time when I can present my position thoroughly and in greater detail.