Monday, November 17, 2014

Absurd fundamentalist beliefs I once held

From 1990-1994 I had converted to Christianity; particularly, Pentecostalism. I joined a Hispanic church whose beliefs and practices were quite extreme. We took the Bible as the literal and inerrant word of God. We took every bit of information from the scriptures as absolutely divine and considered them facts that did not even require evidence because no matter how absurd the claims may be our faith and confidence made them true. We measured all other things about the world around us by the standards of the Bible. If science contradicted the Bible then science was wrong and that was the end of it. 

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” William Lane Craig  ‘Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (1984). 

My beliefs were entirely based on emotions initially. I believed at the time that I was filled with the Holy Spirit and that "He" would confirm all truth to me as taught in the scriptures.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
Often when I read the Bible I felt currents of electricity coarse through my body when I came upon texts I believed were being opened to me by God or expanded upon by the Holy Spirit. I heard these new teachings in my mind in my own voice and took them as confirmation of their truth. I believed  that God spoke to me in my head in my own voice often in those days. I also believed that only our church had the truth. All other Christian sects were wrongly interpreting the scriptures and teaching lies whether they knew it or not. 

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

I believed it was my mission appointed to me by God himself to save as many souls as I could from darkness and finally eternal damnation. If you did not believe as I did then no matter whether we believed in the same God or not you were already damned to hell. This is what eventually led me to become a Christian evangelist. I started out with my friend from church who used to preach on the streets of Brooklyn, NY on Saturday's and Sunday's. I joined his ministry and served initially as his Spanish to English interpreter as he preached his message of salvation. It wasn't long before he had me preaching as well. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

As Carl Sagans aptly titled book stated I once believed that I was living in a 'Demon Haunted World.' Everything in the world that was wrong in my view was wrong because of Satan and his minions (demons) attempts to lead man into perdition. Women dressed provocatively not because they liked showing what they had, but because the devil used them to entice men of God and even lead or distract men from seeking salvation. Gays were demon oppressed or possessed and made prisoners to the unnatural desires of their evil flesh. Basically, the Devil was always in the details and only Christ could wrest you from his grasp once you committed your life and soul to Jesus. 

Today just like then this church continues to proclaim that Jesus is coming back for his church soon. I honestly believed that he could arrive any day and at any time like a thief in the night unannounced and I had to be prepared and had to make others ready before it was too late. I believed in the rapture back then. The idea that Jesus would descend from the cloud with his angels and call up to himself both the dead and the living that he has saved from perdition. 

I sought guidance in my life through fervent prayer and often searched the scriptures for answers to some of my own personal struggles as a believer. I would pray before I went out to job interviews and often silently lay hands upon and pray over my resumes so that God would lead me to the right job. I prayed for him to cleanse my mind from impure thoughts that I knew to be sinful. 

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Even something as natural as sexual attraction was sinful. If I looked at a woman and thought to myself that she was attractive or smelled good etc. I would mentally begin praying to the Lord to help me resist those evil urges and tempting thoughts. It was no way to live but at the time it was the only way I knew how. These are just a few of the absurd beliefs I held as a fundamentalist Pentecostal and I hope that this helps you understand how hard it was to leave. Luckily I have managed to pry myself from the clutches of religion and have truly found my way into the light of reason. 

The key element that held me prisoner to these beliefs was the fear of the Lord. The fear of eternal damnation and the fear of losing out on a life of eternal bliss and joy in the presence of the Lord forever and ever kept me bound to these absurd beliefs and unsubstantiated claims. 

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


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The pros of atheism

In 1994 I walked away from the Pentecostal church once and for all. I had decided then that those beliefs no longer were rational nor able to stand up against the many challenges of logical reasoning. My departure from the faith was a very long and often fearful process.

The fear was one of the greatest obstacles for me to overcome because of how deeply ingrained my beliefs had become. The Bible for instance is full of ominous tidings in the form of eternal threats for those that dare to leave the faith.

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Hebrews 10:26-27

It is my belief that the fear of death and the desire to live forever are the two driving forces behind Christianity. Taken to the extreme fundamentalist Christians tend to take this life for granted and neglect the many wonderful things it has to offer in the here and now. There is no evidence of the eternal utopia promised in the scriptures nor even for the existence of its Lord and ruler God himself.

The very first pro for my current atheist views is that I have overcome fear and have recognized it as irrational and unfounded. I now live a life based on reason and what can be known through science and logical deduction. Of course I am aware that there are some things that we may never know, but until they are finally discovered and proven I will live as if they don't exist. The idea of the existence of God as described in the Bible is one of those things. I no longer fear his imaginary wrath or contempt for my not believing in him when he (if he exists) has not given me reason nor sufficient evidence to do so.

The next positive thing I have gained from atheism is that I have learned to appreciate this life that we know to exist over the imaginary one presented in the Bible. I have found that I get more excited over a scientific discovery than I ever did over a so called divine revelation. The world we live in is a place of wonder and amazement with something new to teach us everyday. I find biology, astronomy, archaeology, and the many other scientific disciplines out there so much more interesting than the musings of an ancient and ignorant culture and society full of false beliefs and superstitions due to fear and a lack of knowledge about the world.

Being an atheist has taught me to be honest with myself. I know who I am and don't try to live by the hypocritical dogmas set forth by religion. I detest hypocrisy in all its forms and nothing disturbs me more than some stranger in the street telling me they love me in the name of Jesus. If that's not hypocrisy then I don't know what is.

The next thing I learned as an atheist is that I and only I am responsible for each and every action I take. For example if I were to strike my wife and when asked why I did it by the authorities, I cannot sit there and blame her for so called "provoking me," there are other courses of action that I could have taken. Everything we do in this life for better or for worse is entirely our responsibility and its results or consequences are entirely ours to bear. We don't have the Devil and his minions to blame for our behavior the only one we have to blame for our actions is ourselves.

I have learned that before I was a Christian I had morals. In fact, you don't need God or some commandments written in a book by those claiming to be his messengers to know right from wrong. Morals don't come from God but from our own cultures and the societies in which we are reared. If I was born in Iran I would most likely have been raised a Muslim it is what is taught to me by my parents and society that determines what I consider moral and correct.

As an atheist I continue to grow and learn as I go along but in the end I find that atheism and naturalism are far more reliable than any religion. I see religion for what it is: a creation of man and nothing more. There is no need for gods, angels, demons, or pie in the sky. This life has enough to keep us all quite occupied for several lifetimes.

Note: The biblical verse I have cited comes from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The imagined void or emptiness

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2


My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

The two verses cited above are two of many which refer to mans so called longing for God. Often you hear evangelists preach about the so called void or emptiness in ones being that can only be filled by Jesus the Christ. This is the general position of all theists of all sects and denominations regarding their basic beliefs. 

Some have gone as far as stating that there is a so called God gene that is built into our DNA that drives us to want and long for the Lord! This is one of the reasons that theists claim that without God (their god in particular) one can never find happiness or fulfillment in this life. 


Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus is made to affirm this by stating that he is life! As a former evangelist and theist I too believed and held this position. I thought in those days that nothing that we could do on this earth would ever fill the so called void in our hearts and our being for God. Some define hell not as a place of fire and brimstone or burning torment but as a place where ones soul is eternally separated from the presence of God.

As an atheist since 1994 till the present I have come to believe that this position is false and not the result of a necessity for God, but rather a result of indoctrination and cultural influence. Many here in the states whether they are practicing believers or not in the Christian deity are taught that he is somewhat of a loving father figure. We are told from youth by family, friends, and even people in positions of authority in our lives such as counselors and school teachers that God is watching over us and that angels protect us from harm etc. 

Many people I know today are not practicing believers but claim to believe in God and acknowledge in their behavior that he exists. They wear crucifixes as you would a good luck charm, they bless themselves by doing the sign of the cross before stepping out of their homes every day. They thank the invisible guy in the sky for every small bit of fortune that happens to come their way. They don't do these things because they have carefully studied and considered their Bible's and critically analyzed their belief claims; they do it because they have been indoctrinated to believe. 


As you can see by the above definition you don't need a religious authority to teach you about religion. It is the beliefs that we are exposed to in our society and culture that influence how and what we believe in. The fact that many of us are surrounded by the religious and that their position is a majority belief in this country (United States of America) is sufficient proof of indoctrination and not no imagined longing for God in our souls or any other parts of our being. 

I found that as an atheist we as individuals are responsible for finding in this life those things that bring us joy and satisfaction. I myself have no need nor longing for the Christian God nor any other god for that matter. I have found through my life and experience as an atheist that this life has many things that can have meaning in our lives. 

I find joy in the fact that I have been able to work and provide for my family. The fact that I have two lovely daughters and a grandson and a pain in the ass yet caring wife is enough to make and keep me happy. I don't long for a better world because I have come to the realization that this world and this life is the only one I am going to get. My head is not in the clouds imagining some divine utopia after this life, but rather it is firmly planted on the ground and the reality that is this life. 


I love this definition because it is precisely what Christianity teaches: that there is a place where if we are obedient to God and submit to his will in this life we will be happy and abide in a perfect place where all of the failures and maladies of this life will not exist. God will be the ruler and there will no longer be sickness and death but eternal bliss as we rejoice in the presence of God forever. That my friends is the definition of an imaginary place. It doesn't matter if it is a spiritual place somewhere up in the clouds or space or whether it will be here on this earth in what is called in the scriptures "New Jerusalem" this place simply does not exist. 

Every once in awhile you will find some bits of fact in the fiction that is the Bible and the following is one of my favorites. 

The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6

That last part is significant "nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." All it takes is a change of mind, a mental shift to achieve all the things you plan to achieve including happiness. Life is truly what you make of it. If you choose to mope about your circumstances in life and do nothing to get out of them then you will die moping and in utter misery. I've always said that when you have reached rock bottom there is only one way to go and that is up. Or you can choose to remain at the bottom and do  nothing to better your situation. You can take a huge hit from life and choose to lay there like a helpless victim or you can get up, brush yourself off, and claw your way out of the hole you find yourself in. 

I find that even though I don't have everything I would have wanted out of life that I am happy and I have achieved a lot more than most. I have taken some heavy hits and my life has not been easy. In fact, I should have been just another story of a failed life, a statistic but I have managed to rise above all of that. I've done it with hard work and conscious effort which did not require a god or some spiritual being to guide me. There is no emptiness in my life or sense of something missing I have done and continue to do and make every second of this life count for something positive without gods and ancient myths, rituals, and superstitions, and so can you. 

Note: All biblical citations in this post have been taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All word definitions have come from the online version of the Merriam Webster dictionary.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

There is no logical reason in apologetics


A long time friend of mine Mattshizzle posted this on Google plus yesterday. After providing my brief response to this post I have decided to address it directly here. The commenter has committed several blatant logical fallacies in this post that demonstrate to me that he/she has no idea about what logical reasoning is nor even how to go about it.

The first logical fallacy this poster commits is that he presupposes that God exists. Not just any god but his god of choice. He also assumes that this gods knowledge supercedes the knowledge of man and comes itself from this yet to be proven supernatural source. The theistic presuppositionist position for the existence of god is supposed to be the equivalent of an a priori argument. The main problem with the presuppositionist position is that if you don't presuppose the existence of god then the entire argument fails.

a priori

The term a priori is used in philosophy to indicate deductive reasoning. The term is Latin, meaning “from what comes before”, refering to that which comes before experience.
Something that is known a priori can safely be considered to be a true statement, assuming that the logic (or deductive reasoning) used to arrive at that conclusion is conducted using valid arguments.

Theists believe that they have sufficient evidence through their version of philosophical arguments (apologetics) for the existence and therefore the assumption that god exists. But to date it is my opinion that they have not been able to prove their gods existence through valid arguments utilizing deductive reasoning. Through apologetics they misuse and abuse philosophical concepts and methodologies to suit their rather unsubstantiated claims and absurd beliefs.

Another fallacy this poster commits is often referred to as the argument from ignorance. Because his gods existence cannot be disproven definitively he assumes that this is sufficient reason to affirm that his god exists.

appeal to ignorance/argument from ignorance

The fallacy of appeal to ignorance comes in two forms: (1) Not knowing that a certain statement is true is taken to be a proof that it is false. (2) Not knowing that a statement is false is taken to be a proof that it is true. The fallacy occurs in cases where absence of evidence is not good enough evidence of absence. The fallacy uses an unjustified attempt to shift the burden of proof. 

I consider myself an atheist because I do not feel that there is or ever has been sufficient evidence to prove definitively the existence of any god whatsoever. Faith or subjective "evidence" are not in my view valid means of obtaining knowledge of truth when it comes to things of a supernatural nature. It this were the case then I would have to accept that tribal religious adherents that claim to be possessed by their dead ancestors and act it out during their services must be true. By the standard of faith witches are real, demons exits, and a voodoo curse can kill you!

In fact, this poster forgets that the Bible itself is a work of man! It says so right there in the book itself.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (other tranlations use "inspired" instead of "God-breathed.")

The fact that believers presuppose the existence of God because the Bible tells me so which is more commonly a fundamentalist position is known as the fallacy of circular reasoning.

circular reasoning

Circular reasoning occurs when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with. The most well known examples are cases of the fallacy of begging the question. 

While begging the question is mentioned let's look at the definition of that fallacy as well.

begging the question

A form of circular reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from premises that presuppose the conclusion. Normally, the point of good reasoning is to start out at one place and end up somewhere new, namely having reached the goal of increasing the degree of reasonable belief in the conclusion. The point is to make progress, but in cases of begging the question there is no progress.

As you can see based on the definitions provided above, that begging the question is just another form of circular reasoning. Apologetics is guilty of all of these fallacies and more. All arguments proposed for the existence of God by Christian or Muslim apologists are fallacious and lacking because they all presuppose that their god exists as a starting point and try to manipulate the facts to fit their presuppositions.

In contrast, the scientific method takes a more logical and completely reasonable approach to discovery. They start with an hypothesis based on observations, they then formulate experiments to prove or falsify their hypothesis, if it passes it goes on to becoming a theory.

theory

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

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.

Anyone who has had the priviledge of arguing the existence of God or read sufficient books on the matter recognizes this very common way that apologists misuse and in this case abuse language. For instance many state that evolution is not a proven fact but rather a "theory," but when they use the word theory they are doing so in its most commonly used non-scientific context. This of course they fail to tell their followers. 

In conclusion our poster forgets that the Bible or any so called sacred texts for that matter are all the works of men. That's right! They have been composed, compiled, edited, propagated and distributed by men. By adding inspired by god simply begs the question as to who this god is and where or how did he/she/ or it come to exist etc.

Note

All biblical quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible. My sources for philosophical terms and for the scientific definitions are taken from the following links.

http://www.philosophy-index.com

http://www.iep.utm.edu/

http://www.livescience.com
A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don't miss Jesus

As of late I have been pondering the matter of former believers who have embraced atheism. I find deconversion stories interesting and at times sad. As a former fundamentalist evangelist and fully committed believer myself, I can honestly say that I left the church and the faith behind with a bitter taste in my mouth. I was angry at myself for being duped into not only believing the nonsense I did at the time but in the fact that I also helped to spread those ridiculous beliefs.

The first seeds of doubt began to germinate in my mind when I first read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. I began to doubt some of the experiences I had in the church and even some of the normal practices during service. The chaos that would ensue when nearly everyone in the congregation began speaking in tongues at once and passing out and writhing on the floor allegedy under the power of the Holy Spirit brought to mind the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14.

26What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. 1 Corinthians 14:26-28

39Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40

I was a member of the Pentecostal faith and in our church there was no order. Women were often pastors despite the biblical mandate that women remain silent in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

34Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Some atheists claim that they miss the music and the social aspects of religious services and so they attend services from time to time. I personally do not feel this way and find religious services to be embarassing and primitive at best. I feel sorry whenever I see other believers who are currently where I used to be. They speak in tongues and raise their hands in the air believing that these are their gods way of confirming to them the truth of their beliefs or the integrity of their standing with God. Little do they know that all of these manifestations are nothing more than the projections of their own minds under the influence of doctrinal beliefs and church dogma.

Today, I personally find worship abhorrent and would not set foot inside a church for any reason. I find the music repulsive and the so called outpouring of brotherly love in Christ by church adherents overwhelmingly hypocritical. I've never liked liars, hypocrites, or thieves and I feel that the church is chock full of all of the above. It took me six years but I have managed to cleanse my psyche from all of the ridiculous influences of the church in my life. I don't believe in an afterlife nor eternal punishment for sins. In fact, the idea of sin is outright absurd!

I don't miss being a mental and physical slave to absurd beliefs based on nothing more than faith. I don't miss bearing a charge of guilt on my shoulders for simply being born. If there was a god and he was offended by my existence and insisted that I submit to him and worship him I would tell him to fuck himself. I live a good life and do not bear any guilt for imaginary crimes I might have commited against an imaginary deity. I don't miss Jesus and have lived the past 19 years happily without him.

Note: All biblical quotations are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Venerating the cross


When I was first converted to Christianity I used to wear a gold cross around my neck. When I began preaching the gospel and making the rounds around the local churches I was approached by a church elder who asked me why I wore the image of the cross. I replied that it was a reminder to myself of the things that the Lord had suffered for me and the rest of humanity. He responded by simply asking me if Christ had been executed on an electric chair would I wear the image of an electric chair on my neck? It was right then and there that I realized that he had a good point. After some thought I came to realize that it was not the cross but the person who died on the cross that was the source of my salvation. I took off my crucifix and never wore that image again.

Venerate: to feel or show deep respect for (someone or something that is considered great, holy, etc.)

Idolatry: the worship of a picture or object as a god

Worship: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
: excessive admiration for someone

After becoming an atheist and examining my former beliefs more closely I came to realize how pathetic and weak Satan and his minions were for fearing the sign of the cross. It's akin to Dracula and his vampires hissing and cowering in fear when shown a cross in the old vampire movies genre.  Today many claiming or professing to be Christians wear these images (especially Catholics) and rely on them for protection as you would if you were wearing some kind of magic talisman. They kiss their crucifixes and bless themselves before going out by making the sign of the cross across their own bodies. This is not veneration it is worship and in the end it is nothing more than idolatry. 

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;... Exodus 20:4-5

According to the ten commandments as outlined in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 God prohibited the making  of images. But later on in Numbers 21 this same God punishes the Hebrews for complaining about their lot and so he sends snakes to bite and kill many of the Israelites. In response to this Moses prayed for the Lords mercy and he commanded Moses to make a bronze snake!

8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:8-9

I guess like the rest of the commandments it's only a sin when God says so. Every once in awhile he makes exceptions to his own rules. For instance the famous "thou shall not kill" commandment is repeatedly violated by the Hebrews in the O.T. under the direct or indirect orders of God himself. 

Have you ever wondered what happened to that snake? The Bible said it was destroyed by King Hezekiah because they (Israelites) began worshiping it by burning incense to it. 

4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. ) 2 Kings 18:4

Many of today's Christians are guilty of the sin of idolatry not just on the matter of the cross but in their excessive devotion to the Bible. Some like to put an open Bible in their rooms or in the dashboard of their cars to ward off evil or to obtain God's blessings. Using the cross or the Bible in these ways is simply idolatry no matter how you spin it. Catholics like to burn incense and candles to saints and even for the dead. All of these acts are not based on biblical principles. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray to dead saints for favors. In fact, the role of intercessor belongs to Christ alone. 

Those of you who do the above mentioned acts should read your Bible's before you try to refute atheists about matters you yourselves know nothing about. The cross itself has no power Christ was not the first man to have ever been crucified in history. This was a very common form of execution utilized by the Romans in the first century. The Bible by itself is just a book it's not the book itself that has power but the words contained in the book. Now that is a lesson for you from you friendly atheist.

Note: All word definitions are taken from the online Merriam Webster Dictionary  which I have linked to and all scripture citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christians it's about the language!





When discussing the God issue with Christians I am often asked the following question: "If God does not exist then how were we created?" After some thought I have come to realize that one of the biggest barriers between atheism and theism is the language we use to describe what we believe or don't believe. Of course there are many other barriers such as our definitions of evidence and what we may consider to be valid evidence in favor of either position, but atheists rely on science and objective and impirical evidence while theists rely on faith and subjective experiences.

As a former fundamentalist believer myself, I do not accept subjective experiences as evidence for the existence of God. There are many reasons for this and many of those reasons are also based on some of my own personal experiences as a Pentecostal charismatic evangelist and believer. I've been so called "slain in the Spirit," have spoken in togues, prophesied, believed I was interpreting tongues, through faith imparted apparent healing, etc. But I have come to realize that these experiences are not unique to Pentecostals. In fact, they are quite common and widespread in many other world religions. I have come to the conclusion that these expriences are not the result of divine intervention or communication with the gods or the Christian God, but that they are all nothing more than different states of conciousness. In other words; it's all in the mind.

Faith in my opinion is not a valid means of obtaining valid knowledge about anything in the world. Through faith anything is possible and it is because of this that I do not accept any claims made entirely on a faith position such as the claim that God exists. The fact is that there is no objective nor empirical evidence for the existence of God or any gods for that matter. When you have no evidence faith is automatically the default position. It's like saying God exists because I believe that he does and I know it in my heart. If that's the case then Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, Bigfoot, Pegasus, Zeus, Thor, Odin, Satan, all exist because I believe that they do. This is the opposite of logic and is not proof of anything.

Now on to what I mean about the language barrier. Christians think in terms of everything from the universe, life, and everything that exists as being created. They are stuck in that position because they believe in a sole source for the existence of everything; namely, God the creator. Secularists and atheists on the other hand don't believe in a creator but rather we think based on objective and empirical evidence that all things came into existence through a gradual process of evolution. Contrary to religious beliefs this is not a faith based position but rather a position based on all of the evidence gathered to this point. The naturalistic view of life does not require a god or some mysterious creator.

At times the jargon can get confusing especially when you are not thoroughly familiar with the subject matter. There is a huge difference between things being created and those things naturally evolving and adapting to the environments in which they are exposed to.

I personally like the process of reverse engineering. When you look at the human body and its parts you will come to realize that we are entirely made up of and function via a series of chemical processes in  our brains and our cells. It is this very fact that makes it in my opinion quite obvious that we came into existence gradually via the process of evolution. It is not hard to imagine a primordial soup as the beginning of life when you think of chemistry and how chemicals react to each other and to the environments in which they are used in. We are the product of an innumerable amount of chemical processes that continue on even today.

To state emphatically that we were "created" is to presuppose a creator and it is this aspect of all theistic arguments in favor of belief that make it so hard for theists to accept evolution. Their religious indoctrination has made the idea of an invisible guy in the sky a logical assumption. Yet they never question the absurdity of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent beings existence. Considering that fact that there are slightly over 7 billion people inhabiting this planet it is hard to imagine a being who can keep track of them all. A being who knows their individual thoughts, intentions, hears their prayers, knows when they sin, and acknowledges their prayers!

Theists believe this being sits on a throne in his invisible realm called heaven surrounded by angels and other strange beings who do nothing but worship him day and night! (Read Revelation chapter 4). This does not sound any different than the Greek myths about Zeus and other ancient deities. Once you come to realize that your beliefs are based not on facts but on ancient myths and superstitious beliefs then you will be able to take that next step forward in your search for origins. Once you eliminate the gods you are forced to look for a natural solution in nature.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Christianity is a superstitious belief system

In this post I would like to take the time to address one of my claims regarding religious beliefs in general and  in particular the three religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity, and  Islam. Often when I am engaged in discussions or debates about Christians and their beliefs I refer to those beliefs as ancient myths and superstitions. Before continuing let me go ahead and define those two key words for the sake of argument and then begin to lay out my case.

Myth






Superstition





Now that we've defined these words let's look at why I personally think that god beliefs in general are based on myths. According to the definitions I have taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online a myth has several characteristics.

1. tradition
2. stories
3. unverifiable history

The three religions of the book are based entirely on stories collected in a book known to us as the Bible. In fact the word Bible according to its etymology actually means book. These stories in the Bible contain a large amount of fantasy and occurrences which we know from our own life experiences to be impossible events. For example the sun and the moon standing still in the sky and not going down for the length of an entire day! 

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. Joshua 10:13

Now when you read this it obviously doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this story also reflects the beliefs of the period in which it was composed; that the we lived in a geocentric universe. In other words, that the earth was the center of the universe and that all the other planets and heavenly bodies revolved around it. The science of astronomy has shown us that this view is outdated and in fact incorrect. This is just one of the many impossible events that are narrated in the Bible. 

Finally, the believers of the religions of the book refuse to recognize the fact that because of these so called fantastical and miraculous events that allegedly occurred, make a lot of the so called history in the Bible unverifiable or at least falsifiable through archeology. One example of this is the destruction of Egypt when God allegedly hit them with his plagues to demonstrate his power to the ancient Hebrews and liberate them from slavery. 

If the above mentioned story were true then Egypt would have perished and been a complete waste land. The Bible says that God killed the Pharaoh and his entire army in one fell swoop! That he killed all of the livestock of the Egyptians including all of the plant life. He also killed all the first born sons of Egypt, so based on this tale there would be no successor to the throne after the death of Pharaoh. But yet history has shown that Egypt is a culture that goes back for thousands of years and still exists even today. 

Now let's move on to the element of superstitious beliefs and how they relate to the three religions of the book. According to the definition given for the word superstition, there are several elements that make a belief a superstition.

1. ignorance
2. fear of the unknown
3. trust in magic
4. false conception of causation

As I pointed out in the previous section ignorance about how things work is one reason why people believe some things that would be otherwise irrational and formulate erroneous beliefs. In today's world science has helped to dispel many of the worlds  erroneous beliefs due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. Fear of the unknown is another important force that drives religious beliefs. In an age before science was established and had managed to collect the innumerable amount of discoveries it has to this point, people lived in fear. They believed in magic and the supernatural was quite natural. They believed in gods and other supernatural deities, good and evil forces working in our world, etc. 

Even as late as 1692 right here in the United States in Salem Massachusetts there were actual witch trials being conducted! The people were driven by religious fervor and they were ignorant and afraid of the world around them and how things worked in nature. They attributed their misfortunes to devils working through the medium of witches in Salem. All this is due to a false conception of causation. 

For all the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam it is important to know that your "God did it" claim for everything that is unknown at this time even for science is itself a false conception of causation. You're still living in the dark ages full of magic, ignorance, and fear. What you call truth is nothing more than ancient myths and superstitions imagined and invented by man himself. 

Note: All definitions used were taken from the online Merriam Webster dictionary. The links to my sources are contained within the text itself.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Things Christians don't agree on

Considering the fact that there are literally about 35,000-45,000 Christian orgnizations or sects around the world. It is quite obvious that believers don't seem to agree on what it is that their so called holy book actually says about God and many other things. This is mostly due to hermeneutics (methods of interpretation). The most commonly used methods are the literal and allegorical methods of interpretation.That being said here are some common points of contention amongst Christian denominations.

1. The trinity: Some believe that God is somehow manifested as three separate entities; the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Some churches reject the idea of the trinity altogether while others regard the whole matter a mystery that somehow we cannot fully comprehend or know. I personally believed that the three were separate entities but that they were one in plan and purpose.

2. Baptism: Some churches baptize children while others don't believe that children should be baptized till they reach the so called age of accountability where they can conciously choose to worship God through accepting Christ as their Lord and saviour. Other churches only baptize older kids and adults and believe that if a child is not capable of making a decision for Christ and dies that he/she will automatically be saved through God's grace.

3. Miracles: Not all churches accept the idea of God working miracles through his believers as he allegedly did in the Bible through his disciples. Some believe that the miracles were only necessary to establish the church and that once that had been accomplished that they were no longer necessary.

4. Idols: Many protestant churches don't believe in the so called veneration of idols and they equate it with idolatry. Catholics call it veneration but many Catholics I know of actually pray to these idols for favors etc. I personally think that it is nothing more than idol worship and that it is clearly condemned in the scriptures.

5. Creation story: Depending on which church you belong to and what denomination they represent you will find that some consider the creation story to be allegorical and not a literal and actual historic event.

6.Adam and eve: Were the first pair according to the scriptures actual historical figures or were they fictional? I personally believe that the author or authors of the narrative believed that they were literally historical figures. Adam is given an age of death and a geneology why would someone do this if they were not historical figures? Also, the author of Romans and other New Testament writers also believed in a literal Adam. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned--" Romans 5:12 

7. Paradise: Some believe that paradise will be here on a renewed earth after the so called tribulation and judgement. Others believe in an eternal abode in some heavenly spiritual realm.

8. Predestination: Some believe that not everyone will be saved that some are predestined to salvation while others are not. Others believe that salvation depends on your acceptance of Christ and faith in his redeeming act. The latter believe that everyone has an equal opportunity of being saved. 

9. Faith: Some believe that all you have to have is faith to be saved while others believe that faith is just one part of salvation. They believe that you have to also do good works and make some life changes that reflect what you believe. 

10. The rapture: Some believe that we will all be caught up into heaven literally. Others believe that the verses referring to the rapture are not to be taken literally.

11. The resurrection: Some believe that Jesus rose from the dead bodily (physically) while others believe it was a spiritual resurrection. 

These are just some of the many contentions that believers have about the scriptures and what they mean. Religionfacts.com has a nice list of some of the more common Christian churches and what they believe here.  

Notes: Biblial citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptuires. All other citations have been hyper linked in the text itself. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bible Burning Deliverance!

Since as long as I could remember I have been a lover of books and reading. Today I consider myself to be an avid reader and I treat all books regardless of their topic with respect. Anyone like myself who has ever authored a book could attest to the fact that such a task is by far an easy endeavor. As an author you must be able to express  yourself, your views, opinions, or just tell a story in such a way as to be understood by your target audience.

Because of the innumerable topics and themes that one can choose to write about, books can be used as a medium to educate us (academic works), entertain us (fiction), teach us about life in ancient civilizations (history). One genre of literature that I always find interesting is the genre of world mythology. The reason for this is that I believe that myths are the roots of religious beliefs by man in both ancient and modern society. Through mythology we see the indisputable fact in my opinion; that man created the gods. Myths are laden with what we acknowledge today as superstitions for the most part based on irrational fears and illogical beliefs with no basis in fact.

Many of the more popular myths were composed during a pre-scientific age where superstitions were in abundance. The world was a scary place and as is made evident in many of the worlds ancient myths; things like natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, drought, famine, etc. were all attributed to the gods. When things went well the gods were pleased, but when things were not going so well the gods were angry. It was up to the community's shaman, priests, etc. to figure out why the gods were displeased and find a way to appease them. Some resorted to human or animal sacrifices combined with ceremonies and rituals which for the most part showed the gods that one was repentant and submitted oneself to their authority and will.





This brings me to the purpose of this post. Generally, I don't advocate the burning or destruction of any book. I love reading and I tend to take great care of all of the books I personally own. I don't lend them out to anyone, I hate when people dog ear the pages or put folds and creases in the book. I don't like to use highlighters on my books, if I find something worthy of saving or looking into further. I don't like under line phrases or paragraphs in a book. I'd rather just take notes or copy the quotes to a separate sheet of paper or even save it on my computer.

The one and only book I have ever physically destroyed was the Bible. But my motives at the time were not anger, disdain, or disgust with the book itself. My reason was more psychological than anything else. You see, I was a fundamentalist Christian evangelist who at the time was so absorbed in my beliefs that they consumed my every waking moment. I literally feared the Lord as the Bible commanded. It was similar to a love hate relationship towards the end where I not only feared the Lord but hell and death. It took me six years to finally overcome all of my fears associated with my former beliefs. Because of the frailty and unpredictability of life I was aware of what would happen to me if I was wrong. I would die and face God's judgement and full brunt of his wrath for all eternity.

Although I was no longer a believer I held on to my Bible and at times studied it from a more objective perspective minus all the reverence and fear associated with my literal belief in its content. My mother once told me a folktale about a man who had renounced his faith and decided to burn his Bible in defiance of God. The consequences for his actions according to this tale was that as he burned the "holy texts" he heard the words of that book spoken aloud in an echoing and thundering voice as if narrated by God himself! In the end it is said that this person lost his sanity and ended up in an asylum for the rest of his life.

Six years after my deconversion I had reached the stage where I no longer feared the Bible or its contents and have come to the realization that today's myths were once yesterday's religions. I believe that the three religions of the book as they are often called will eventually meet a similar fate. They too will one day take their place alongside yesterdays religions and be known and classified as the latest myths of the future.

Because of that tale my mother told me I chose to put it to the test. Burning the Bible for me was a matter of giving me psychological peace and well being. The Bible was the last fetter of the chains of superstitions that held me bound. I had broken the deeply embedded mental shackles of irrational fears. The last shackle that remained was my burning of that book which imprisoned me in a world of ancient myths and superstitions that smothered my perceptions of reality and clouded my natural ability to think for myself and reason. It was that book that crushed my spirit and through fear suppressed my logical mind from revealing its false and irrational teachings.

It was on a Sunday afternoon in 2000' when I finally took the Bible and placed it on the stove and let it burn to ashes. I admit that when I began to put the book on the fire there was a twinge of fear still lingering as my fingers released the bottom right hand corner of the book onto flames. But as I stood there watching it burn I felt a sense of freedom. As the ashes burned and fell apart so did the last of my fears. The oppression I felt because of my former indoctrination literally went up in smoke as that book was consumed in the fire. It was very liberating and therapeutic for me and finally helped me to feel free to live a life without irrational superstitions and fears. I don't recommend that everyone who deconverts from Christianity or any other religions of the book do the same because for each of us it's a different experience and we all handle these things differently. I just thought that sharing this with my readers would help you understand why I did it and how doing so affected me personally. The Bible was burned in effigy as the representation of all my mental oppressions and irrational fears.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Miracle Mongers

3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3-4

When I was a believer I was a member of a very fundamentalist and charismatic movement known as the Pentecostal church. Back in those days (1990-1994) when I was an active evangelist and part of a local evangelistic ministry the church had some very different beliefs that at the time I think was what drew me to this particular sect of Christianity. As a child I was raised for about four years by a foster family who were devout Catholics. We went to mass every Sunday, but I found the Catholic church Sunday mass services to be quite boring. I hated going to church but was forced to do so by my foster parents. I was baptized in Catholicism and did my first communion there as well.

As I grew older religion was never an important part of my life. I wasn't a practicing believer nor did I go to church services, although if asked I would express openly that I did believe in God. My mother was never a practicing Christian either but she believed in God in her own way and she was also convinced that the Pentecostal church was the one true church. When I asked her why she believed that she would often reply that God moved in that church and performed miracles and that people felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Pentecostal church is a very fundamentalist sect of Christianity who believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and interpret its texts in a literal manner. These Christians base their faith entirely on emotions and on their literal interpretations of the scriptures. In fact, what they read in the Bible must conform with what they feel and experience in their faith.

17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”  Mark 16:17-18

Most  biblical scholars agree that Mark 16 ended at verse 8 and some say 9 and that the rest of the verses we find in our modern Bibles were added on later by some unknown author or scribe. The main reason for this belief is that verses 9-20 do not appear in some of the earlier manuscripts of Mark. But most Pentecostals are either not aware of this and if they are they don't care, because for them it is all the word of God.

But it is verses like these that back up their claims. They are almost entirely driven by emotions and subjective personal religious experiences. If they are even in doubt about a religious experience the solution is to pray and seek confirmation of their experiences through the word of God. These people by the nature and commitment to their beliefs are impervious to reason. To them the very fact that they "feel" the presence of God or his Holy Spirit around and within their being is evidence of the existence of God. It never crosses their minds that their experiences could be entirely psychologically driven.

Pentecostals are also driven by what they interpret to be God's will. For instance, when it comes to faith healing if a prayer for healing is successful then God is praised. If it fails then either the person did not have enough faith or quite simply it was not God's will to heal that person at that time. Either way you look at it God wins. If you are a believer but your life is a mess and things just don't ever seem to go right for you, then God is testing your loyalty and your faith as he did with Job. If you endure and have faith without faltering then your blessings will surely come but you must remember that it's not when you want them or in your time but in God's time.

As a Pentecostal my worldview was pretty simple. There were three things that influenced everything: God's work, the devils works, and mans disobedience to God. I enthusiastically read books written by popular evangelists both old and new claiming to have raised the dead, healed the blind, etc. believing and praising God for doing these works without ever questioning the validity of these stories. Initially I was a miracle monger who looked for the hand of God in everything. In my life there was no such thing as coincidences. Everything happened for a reason and God was in control at all times.

Often I prayed for people and upon encountering them at a later time would be told how they were healed. Never once did it cross my mind that their ailments could have been psychosomatic. and even if I knew what that was I would've probably have ignored it and claimed it was a demonic deception to keep me from seeing the glory of God. I believed at the time that I had and used all of the so called gifts of the Spirit and no matter what anyone had to say about it my experiences told me differently.

For the miracle monger subjective experiences count as evidence and are even more powerful as such than any logical argument you can make against such experiences. If you try and point out that there are other religions out there whose adherents claim to have similar experiences they will reply by saying that those experiences are demonic and false. They are meant to deceive mankind from ever finding the "truth." It's ironic, but every single criticism that fundamentalist Christians or Christians in general have to say about other religions can easily be said about their faith and applied to their beliefs.

Former Christian apologist and now atheist John W. Loftus has made a great case for this very irony in his OTF (outsider test for faith) which basically asks believers to analyze their beliefs with the same criteria that they use to criticize other belief systems. He outlines the OTF here on his blog, and if you want to know more about it you can also purchase his book  'The Outsider Test For Faith'.

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Respect my beliefs!

31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
37“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 6:31;37

Respect: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way

Judge: to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought





There are many good examples that we can use to illustrate the rampant hypocrisy involved in being a Christian believer, but none is as blatant as this one. I often come across theists who demand that I respect their beliefs. They try to remind me how they have a right to their beliefs and how I should acknowledge that and if I don't feel the same way that I should just not say anything at all about the matter. 

Although I am not a Christian and don't accept the Bible as the word of any god at all nor even the existence of gods I have chosen to cite verses 31 and 37 from the book of Luke chapter 6. I have done so because these two verses speak of something that is very important and that in my opinion most Christians choose to ignore in everyday life and practice. Verse 31 speaks of  respect and 37 speaks of judging others. Let me make myself clear from the outset that I respect everyone's right to believe whatever they please, but that does not mean that I have to respect the beliefs themselves.

The first verse I have cited sums it all up pretty nicely. Basically, if you want respect you must give respect! Respect like trust is a two way street, if you expect either of them from others towards yourself you should also give the same back. Don't expect people to respect you if all you give them in return is blatant disregard and disdain for not believing as you do. Christians like all other religious believers of the world claim to have "the truth" and it is by this so called truth that they judge others. They don't judge people by their merits since according to the scriptures:

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:12

It's ironic how Christianity on the one hand talks about loving your neighbor and your enemies while at the same time it teaches you how to be prejudice against those that don't accept your beliefs. Christians whether they acknowledge it or not speak with an air of arrogance and condescension when it comes to discussing their faith with non-believers. 

Prejudice: an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.

Nonbelievers are judged by theists not as individuals or based on our own merits, but rather based on what believers think their god has to say about those who refuse to believe. Christians judge others on the very same things that they themselves are guilty of but consider themselves redeemed because they have chosen to believe in the myths outlined in the scriptures.


1The fool says in his heart,“There is no God.”They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;there is no one who does good. Psalm 14:1

The Bible teaches you to dislike people based not on what they do or how they behave towards one another but rather on what they believe! Orthodox and Fundamentalist Christians have done some horrible things towards one another in the name of their god throughout history. Even in the scriptures we read of some of the horrendous acts in the O.T. by the ancient Hebrews towards other nations and peoples who had other beliefs other than their own. Normally we would condemn such acts like the ones described in the O.T. such as killing men, women, and children in the name of God or even committing the sacrilege of destroying another peoples idols or temples of worship. But instead what do theists do even today? They minimize these horrible acts and judge them as righteous by blaming the victims for being sinners or not believing in their religion of choice! 

I have yet to meet a theist who condemns the acts of believers as they have been outlined and described in the Bible. The scriptures teach you self loathing and seek to remind you that from the moment you are born you come into the world with a debt of sin owed to its deity. You are taught to hate the "flesh" and seek the things of the spirit. Even God reminds us in the scriptures before the flood how horrible we are. 

5The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5

I personally don't care what any particular person chooses to believe as long as those beliefs are not forced upon me or affect my life in any way. But I don't believe that anyone's personal beliefs gives them the right to judge others and dislike others and their lifestyles based on those beliefs. People should be judged as individuals and on their own merits. I have met some good Christians, Muslims, and Jews who despite their beliefs have come across as good people who are friendly, understanding, and make good friends. In the end its not what you believe but how you treat others that will determine how you are treated and judged in return. 

Finally, if you want to believe that you can't be good without God, then you have every right to do so. But that does not give you the right to think that everyone else in the world is subject to your rules of judgement. Theists, if  you treated all people with respect instead of being condescending towards them based only on your beliefs you might actually get that same respect back. Our labor laws here in the U.S. should apply to everyday life and how we treat each other. Just as these laws prohibit discrimination against hiring someone based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin we should treat each other as individuals regardless of the above mentioned factors. None of those factors determine who you are as a person or as an individual. I'll respect your right to believe whatever you please when you respect my right to reject your beliefs and stop judging me based on those beliefs. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures (NIV)
All word definitions are taken from the online Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christian apologists are pathetic!

Every once in a while I have a discussion with a theist about beliefs and why I personally do not believe in God. First off using the Bible as a tool to make your case is outright ignorant and useless because I don't consider the Bible to be inspired by its alleged god. In fact, I see the Bible as a record of the ancients Hebrews myths and many superstitions. I take a lot of what the Bible says with a grain of salt and find it incredible and unconvincing. The Bible is a work that was written, collected, edited, and produced enitirely by man and its god is a creation of man himself.

Taking collegiate level courses in apologetics is in my view a waste of time and effort and doesn't change the fact that the Bible is self contradictory and full of fantastical tales that belong in the realm of myths and not reality. Many biblical scholars that have taken the time to put in the work and effort it takes to become experts in the field have actually become agnostic or atheist as a result of their studies. Bart Ehrman is considered to be one of the worlds leading experts in New Testament studies and he is an agnostic. Former Christian apologist and student of William Lane Craig John Loftus is also an atheist as a result of his studies. Roman historian and scholar Richard Carrier also is an atheist who found the biblical arguments for God to be unconvincing.

I find it astounding that theists no matter how learned they may appear don't seem to get it that the evidence for the existence of god particularly the Christian deity is not just lacking it isn't there. Some of the rationalizations that apologists use are outright ridiculous and illogical. They are plagued by confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance which does not allow them to see past the inconsistencies of their faith and beliefs. In their pathetic efforts to defend the faith they violate every single principle of reason and cling to a myriad of logical fallacies.

Christianity as I have said before is a house divided. Every time you have a discussion with a theist you have to find out what branch or sect of Christianity they belong to in order to try and understand what it is that they actually believe. It's incredible that since the rise of Christianity there are around 35-40,000 sects worldwide! They all interpret certain aspects of the scriptures differently and cannot agree on certain things such as the nature of Christ, the doctrine of the trinity, etc. I'm not agnostic about the matter of the biblical gods existence because I have come to the belief that he like the title of my blog suggest is just another myth. If evidence does present itself then I'm all ears but to date there is not empirical or objective evidence for his existence thus no reason for me to wonder if he does exist.

Finally, I find the biblical deity as he is presented in the O.T. to be a tyrant and a morally bankrupt monster. He is painted in the most unflattering light in that he is said to have drowned the entire world in a global flood. Murdered an Egyptian Pharoah and his entire army who couldn't repent because the text states that God hardened his heart so he could prove himself and demonstrate his power to the Hebrews. I think that many of the laws as they are stated in Leviticus appalling. Even if he did exist this is not a deity that I would worship. I find worship itself to be disgusting and self degrading. Hitler, Mao, Papa Doc, Vlad the impaler, and God have a lot in common. They are all blood thirsty animals who deserved to be put down for their cruelty towards their fellow man.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Child suffering is Gods fault!

"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

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21


Megan Huntsman

In Pleasant Grove, Utah police are still investigating how a woman was able to conceal a total of seven pregnancies unnoticed by neighbors and eventually kill six of the seven children. The last one the woman claimed had been still born, but the amazing thing is that this woman hid the bodies in her garage and this went on for a span of about ten years. You can read about this incredible story right here.

Theists believe that we are all created by God and that we all have some purpose in this life. But I beg to differ. In the first verse cited above God supposedly states that he gives life and takes it away and that only he can wound and heal. The second verse is Job's reaction to the death of his eight children at one time during a house collapse. In this verse Job humbly acknowledges that his god is the giver and source of all that he has and praises him for it despite his circumstances! 

The most heinous aspect of this crime is that by her own admission this woman claimed to have either strangled or suffocated her children at birth! So I ask theists what was the purpose in life for these seven innocent children? What is the purpose behind a woman having a stillborn child? If God is all knowing and loving as you claim him to be, then why was this woman allowed to have six children so that she could murder them?

Some can argue that this is an isolated case, but the truth of the matter is that this is not as rare as you may think. Children are born into this world all the time to suffer starvation, abuse, and even death at the hands of the one who was supposed to take care of them and protect them. The world is full of abusive parents and sexual deviants who harm children every day. What is the purpose behind the suffering and in many cases the subsequent death of those children? 

Why does God allow unfit parents to bear children? He could easily make these people infertile and unable to have kids. It appears at times that in life the most fertile women tend to be prostitutes and drug abusers. Many describe the birth of a child as a gift from God but here we have many people in this life who don't deserve such a gift. On the flip side of this situation you have nice people who can't have children and are forced to adopt or seek alternative methods due to dads low sperm count or his mates inability to have children due to physical deformities of her uterus etc. 

In the Bible we read about God's actions specifically regarding the fertility of women. He is said to allow or to even shut the wombs of women in the scriptures. I once met a woman who had 12 children who were all taken away from her as soon as they were born by child protective services! This woman was involved in prostitution and was a heavy drinker. She spent her days out in the plaza in Waterbury, CT. looking for Johns and a "good time." Why doesn't God shut the wombs of such people? Why are people such as her so fertile? 

17Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah. Genesis 20:17-18 

On this occasion God was able to shut the wombs of all the women of the house of Abimelek as punishment for his having taken Sarah to himself. Of course the Lord kept him from sinning by laying with Sarah, but the point is that in this circumstance and others he was able to keep women from bearing children. This brings to the forefront another question. If God is the giver of life then he is also responsible for all the evil men/women born into the world who later commit horrible acts  against humanity such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Gayce, etc. You can try to remove the blame from God by chalking it up to sin but that argument is not going to fly here. 

The problem is that according to those same scriptures you claim to be the absolute truth your god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is supposed to be all knowing and all powerful yet he at times demonstrates in the scriptures that he is neither of these three things. If he is all knowing then he knew that Hitler would try to kill and exterminate the Jewish nation. His so called chosen people. Are we to believe that it was God's plan to have Hitler be responsible for the wholesale slaughter of about six million Jewish men, women, and children? The reason I ask is simply because if he knew what Hitler would do then he is also responsible. 
According to the stories in the Bible about the conquests of Canaan the Hebrews were led by God to kill every man, woman that has known a man, and every male child! Weren't the Canaanites also created by God? So, if we are to believe the stories in the Bible then all those other nations were created with the sole purpose of becoming victims to God's chosen people. Not only that, but so were all the children that were there as well. So much for a good and loving God! 

Without a belief in a loving good god in our lives we can understand that these horrible things just happen. That there are people who are born with mental illnesses that lead them to commit these acts without remorse or consideration for the ones that they cause pain and suffering to. From a naturalistic viewpoint there is really nothing to explain. Some children are born into suffering, misery, starvation, and death. Others are born into a good home with loving parents who raise them with good morals, education, and respect for their fellow man.
Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jesus contradicts himself!

1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Using this simplest of definitions for faith as it has been written and explained by the author of the book of Hebrews I have underlined the three key words of this passage. Oftentimes faith and hope are used by believers synonymously and interchangeably. Hope in my opinion is the best word to define what faith is because Christians have a hope that one day they will be granted eternal life and be able to live in the presence of their god. The scriptures describe this afterlife as a time of bliss and eternal joy where there wont be any pain and sorrow or the many struggles and strife that one endures in this present life.

One of the things I find most irritating is when theists assume that I don't understand the concept of faith. They often forget that I myself was once a theist and quite frankly, when you really think about it it's not so otherworldly that it could not be understood with a little bit of reading comprehension. Faith as used in a Christian context is hope in the promises of God as outlined in the Bible and the confidence and assurance that he will fulfill his promises to those that are faithful. See, now that wasn't so hard. Hope requires that you believe that God exists and that he will fulfill each and every last one of his promises.

6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith is believing in the unseen without evidence but rather entirely on a divine promise.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13;16

With this in mind let's move on to two examples from the gospels where Jesus in one instance chastised someone for not believing in the promise of his rising from the dead and in another where he sent someone as proof of God's power.

After the resurrection of Jesus one of his disciples Thomas was told by the others that they had seen him at a time when Thomas himself was not present. Thomas's response is famous for it demonstrates the mentality of a rational person and a skeptic.

So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." John 20:25

Later on we read that the apostle Thomas was granted his request, but at the same time he was chastised for his unbelief!

29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

The portion of that verse that I have underlined is the actual working definition of faith and according to Christianity is absolutely necessary in order for one to obtain salvation through Christ. You must believe without having seen or requiring evidence! On this one occasion Thomas was granted the opportunity to validate his lack of faith with the evidence he asked and required of Christ. 

In Mark chapter 5:1-20 we are told the tale of a man possessed by a legion of demons. He is said to live in the tombs and to be so strong as to be unable to be subdued by any man or other form of restraints such as chains. Once Jesus delivers this man from his demonic possession he then request of the Lord to go with him. But Jesus refuses to let him go and instead gives him the following instructions:

19Jesus did not let him, but said, Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:19-20

Instead Jesus told the man to go and be a living witness to the power of God. He specifically sends him to his own people because they obviously knew of this mans history and his former condition. As in the story of Thomas in this case faith was not gained from not seeing but rather the seeing actually engendered faith. Contrary to believing without seeing faith came in both instances because of what was seen! This is just another one of those biblical contradictions that are not so obvious unless you know the scriptures. Jesus contradicts the biblical definition of faith through his actions in both the former and latter case. 

So my question to theists today is if he could do this back then, then why can't he do this today? If he truly wanted us all to be saved I would hope that he would do everything in his power to help us who don't believe to believe. This was the request of a man whose son was possessed by a demon in Mark chapter 9.

23“ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

So apparently it's not too much to ask the Lord to help or give me a reason to believe. I too have made a similar request to that of  the apostle Thomas when I left the faith in 94' and the Lord has yet to answer my last prayer request. I guess I just wasn't meant to be saved! The decision to worship god in this life is a life changing decision that in my opinion requires careful thought and evidence. To date no Christian rationalizations in the defense of faith without seeing has satisfied me. This is the main reason why I live under the belief that God does not exist just as I do with similar beliefs such as bigfoot, fairies, elves, unicorns, etc. Theist, the burden of proof is entirely on you to demonstrate to us doubters and unbelievers that your God exists. Otherwise, the rational choice is to assume that he doesn't. 

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Emotions cloud reason

I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.  Adolf Hitler


The purpose of this post is to try and clarify one of if not the main reason why fundamentalist Christians don't respond to skepticism or reason. I've seen atheists who have never experienced fundamentalism or even been believers claim that theists who don't respond to reason are either stupid or just plain gullible. As a former fundamentalist Pentecostal believer and evangelist myself I can attest to the power of faith over reason.

From 1990-1994 I believed that the spirit of the Lord resided in me. I felt it's power surge through me in the form of electrical surges in my being. At times I perceived answers to difficult situations and or had them pop up in my mind instantly and unexpectedly. Sometimes it was a verse of scripture as I was reading the Bible that would speak to a particular situation I was dealing with. When I preached at church revivals etc. I watched people pass out with my speaking words or simply looking or pointing at them from a distance! Others claimed that they had been healed of some ailment after I had laid my hands upon them in prayer. Finally, I apparently expelled demons from peoples bodies through prayer and fasting. I spoke in tongues, prophesied, had prophetic dreams, visions, and even at times believed I felt the presence of evil forces ( discernment of spirits).

It was these experiences and not so much reason that led me to believe that my faith was in the right place and that it was true and that it was real. In fact, upon backward reflection I came to my faith in Christ during a time of weakness and emotional instability. The first time I came to Christ  I was a heartbroken 14 year old kid who had just come out of a bad breakup with a girl I was crazy about. I fell into a deep depression and didn't leave my room for three months! When I finally surfaced and resumed attending my first year in high school I met a believer who happened to catch me at just the right time. After attending service at his home church I forgot all about my depression and found hope in Christ. I turned all of my attention to the church and to getting closer to God through Christ and edifying my spirit. That time I only lasted a year and was soon back to my old ways living life as if the church and my former beliefs never existed. I went about my daily living and studies at school without a hitch.

The second and last time I gave my life to Christ was again during a low point in my life. But on that occasion I was around 20 years old and as before quite in need of some hope in other words I was entirely open and receptive to Christ in my life once again. It was during this time that I grew in the church by leaps and bounds. I read the Bible often and in its entirety at least three times as a believer and once after I left the church. During those days there was no amount of reasoning that would have gotten through to me since I knew that God was "real" and Christ was alive and well in me! But it wasn't reason that brought me to these beliefs, instead it was my many subjective experiences that led me to these conclusions.

Objective: based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings

Subjective: based on feelings or opinions rather than facts

The difference between a fundamentalist theist and a nonbeliever is that we think in two very different modes. For the most part nonbelievers and skeptics think in a more objective manner and demand evidence or proofs for any and all claims. On the other hand theists think for the most part in a subjective manner and take their personal experiences themselves as proof or evidence of what they believe. Even William Lane Craig Christianity's foremost apologist who at times appears to be thinking and reasoning in an objective manner is also a victim to subjective thinking and apparent although fallacious reasoning.

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.]

At times objective and subjective reasoning can work together and aid greatly in helping to clarify some ideas or beliefs, but in my opinion this does not work out so well when it comes to fundamentalist religious beliefs based entirely on experience. The main reason for this is that fundamentalists for the most part are slaves to what is known as confirmation bias. This is the outright rejection of ideas that contradict what one has already believed and has become convinced to be true. 

Confirmation bias: a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.

Based on my experiences as a former believer apparently this is done for the most part unconsciously and without knowledge of the believer that he is doing it. The lines of facts and truth are blurred by emotions based entirely on faith. When I was a believer we were often warned against reading too much secular information because the devil might use it against us and eventually lead us away from Christ and into perdition. The words of WLC as cited above are evidence of this mentality coming from an otherwise learned theologian and apologist in his respective field. As he states, faith surpasses arguments based on evidence. 

It's that simple! Faith for the most part is based on subjective reasoning which is gained through the application of ones own personal feelings and experiences. Faith are reason in reality and in my own opinion are two very different methods of thought that in truth are incompatible and tend to repel one another when applied to religious beliefs. Finally, confirmation bias hinders one from seeking honestly and obtaining the necessary knowledge that can break the chains of subjective superstitious beliefs. This is why even otherwise intellectual individuals like Craig and others are mentally incapable of seeing reason, and because of their own personal bias are not receptive to criticism of their beliefs. No amount of objective evidence or argumentation can convince such a person of the falsity of their beliefs.