Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

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.


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.


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.
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

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. 

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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

From atheism to theism (a response)

I recently read a blog post on atheist revolution entitled 'How an Atheist Could Become a Christian.' Although I found this post to be interesting I thought I would reply to it by stating as a former fundamentalist Pentecostal believer why in my opinion it would be highly improbable that I would ever return to theism. The author of the post mentions that some atheists miss some aspects of their former lives as believers. This does seem to be the case and I have read about other more well known atheists discuss how they missed the music, the sense of community, etc. The author of the post also compared the switch from atheism to theism like trying to unlearn how to read. I think that my analogy will serve as a better description of the process which I intend to share shortly.

It literally took me six years to be completely free from my religious beliefs and indoctrination. The last thing to go was my fear of the Lord and my very real fear of death regarding what would happen to me if I died in my condition of unbelief. One of the things that turned me off the most as a believer is that when I sought help from the church elders or my fellow believers I was often told not to question matters so much and to trust God. I was warned against reading books that questioned the validity of the scriptures etc. When I first left the church some (very few) of the members and elders of the church visited me with the intent of getting me to repent and return to the ways of the Lord.

Once the church members and elders realized that they could not convince me to return they stopped visiting with me and started spreading rumors about me. About five years after leaving the church I ran into an old friend and he froze for a moment with his mouth open staring at me. He then ran at me and gave me a hug and said he could not believe that I was still around. I asked what he meant and he replied that they had said in the church that I had died from a drug overdose a while back! Another former friend I ran into once told me that he heard that I was seen on the street by someone from the church half bent over like a junkie! The funny thing is that I have never used drugs in my life!

My deconversion was very difficult for me and those six years were very trying times. I remember that I had addressed God in my very last prayer with a proposition. I basically told Jesus that if he would reveal himself to me as he did with Thomas in John 20:25 that I would be his faithful servant for the rest of my life.

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

In the subsequent verses Jesus grants Thomas his request although he chastises him for not believing what he had heard from the other disciples about his resurrection and return from the dead.

26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:26-27

After all these years (19 to be exact) I have yet to have this one wish fulfilled. I haven't given up hope in it but I think that the probability of it ever happening is highly improbable. Faith wasn't good enough for Thomas and it is not good enough for me either. As an atheist I demand empirical and objective evidence before I commit myself to a belief system. I have come to the conclusion that I could never be a theist again. There are several reasons for this. The first is that after much study I don't find the Bible to be a credible source of information, faith without evidence is irrational to me, and my studies into the mind helped explain all of what I once thought were supernatural experiences.

I compare my conversion to watching an amazing magic trick for the first time and my deconversion to having that same amazing trick and its secrets revealed to me. As a kid I was fascinated with magic and I even had a magic set that I once used in a school talent show. When I had my first daughter I bought books on sleight of hand and card tricks to use later to amaze my child. I learned and practiced may tricks and got quite good at the sleight of hand. But one thing I learned from my little foray in magic was that once you know the trick it loses its mystique.

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, in fact, all religions are in my opinion nothing more than beliefs based entirely on ancient myths and superstitions that dominated the minds of men before science had dispelled many of those erroneous beliefs. I consider myself to be a modern day Thomas: there's not an argument in the world that any apologists could make to convince me about the truth of Christianity nor the reality of their god. The term "God did it" is not in my mind an answer to the many questions that science has yet to solve such as the exact process of the origins of the universe or the origins of life itself. In fact, this so called answer does nothing more than raise more questions than it answers them. 

The return to Christianity is in my mind only available to those who have never really left the faith. They might call themselves atheist but deep inside they still had questions about their faith and were more agnostic than they were atheist. I don't miss the music, the community, nor anything I experienced as a believer. Christian music and worship disgusts me to no end. In order to be a believer you have to first degrade yourself and accept that without Christ you are nothing. You must worship him and tell him how great he is all the time and live forever in gratitude for saving you from your disgusting sinful condition and ultimately eternal damnation. 

Christianity in my current view is not that different from slavery. There is the master (God), the subservient believer, the laws that you must live by (commandments), the idea that you must obey the Lord, the idea that he knows your thoughts and the very intents of your heart! Christianity is dominated by fear and subservience. Like a slave who has obtained a taste of freedom I could never go back!

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On seeking God

9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10

Often when I find myself confronted by fundamentalist Christians I am often told that If I seek God with an open mind that he would make himself known to me. Today I found myself reflecting on this claim and wondering if after all these years of being an atheist, if maybe somewhere deep down inside I am still seeking. Let me explain: since I left the church in 94' I have always held an interest in Christianity and the idea of God. Today all I read are books on Christianity, comparative religion, science and other things related to beliefs. 

The verse I have cited Luke 11:9-10 is interesting to me because I felt that that is exactly what I did. I sought God at one time with an open mind in spirit and in truth as is prescribed in the scriptures. I devoted four years of my life preaching the gospel and ministering to the masses. Subjectively speaking I had found God. I felt his presence every waking moment of every day, I heard him guide me in my head in my own voice, I lived entirely dependent upon his guidance for my life. I looked for signs in my daily life of his approval and confirmation of his will and plan for my life. I never thought to question my beliefs nor did I dare. 

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37

I can honestly say that in those days I loved the Lord more than life itself and was willing to die for what I believed in. I prayed not just on my knees at designated times but also all day long I spoke to the Lord in my mind. I asked for guidance and strength to resist temptation and I prayed for my fellow man that he may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ my savior and Lord. I thought of the biblical God as the ultimate father figure. All powerful, all wise, and all knowing and trusted in him with all my heart.  I had dreams of Jesus and visions of Christ I felt the surge of the Holy Spirit within me when I prayed to myself or for others. I believed that I was anointed with various gifts of the Spirit and thought I was helping people with my prayers. 

In those days nothing mattered to me more than to live a life that I thought was pleasing to the Lord. In the scriptures obedience is key and it was hard work to try and stay on the right track in my daily walk. But I can honestly say that I loved the Lord more than life itself. I find it insulting when a theist states that I was not a real Christian or that I did not truly seek the Lord. I felt that I went above and beyond what many calling themselves Christians today could ever imagine. But my experience as a fundamentalist believer taught me some things that many atheists could never comprehend unless they have had a similar experience like mine. I learned that in the end its all in the mind. 

When you read the Bible as I did as a theist and then as a nonbeliever I noticed a huge difference. When reading as a theist I read it with reverence and fear I took every word to heart and believed that in doing so I was edifying my spirit. I did not notice many things that would have made me question my beliefs at the time. It wasn't till I read the Bible objectively as an outsider that I began to see the barbarity in its verses. I no longer saw a loving father figure deity but a morally bankrupt monster and murderer of the human faculty of the mind and destroyer of the human spirit. 

Reading the Bible objectively is an eye opening experience. I began to question the actions of God against humanity. I began to try and work out better solutions to genocide and mass murder and I found that God's motives for these actions were petty and unwarranted. God demands obedience, love, and submission. All three  of these qualities do not point to the idea of a loving god but rather reflect the actions of a communistic dictator and a tyrant. I find it ironic when I hear theists state that communists were for the most part atheist. Atheism is not an ideology so whether they were or not is irrelevant. The God of the bible acts just like a human tyrant reminiscent of Hitler, Mao, or Papa doc. 

This God of the Bible is a racist, a misogynist, he endorses slavery, the death penalty for the most minor infractions, etc. This is not a god to be loved but rather to be feared he is not a father unless you classify him as an abusive father. He is manipulating, controlling, and oppressive. He condemns the search for knowledge, truth, and objectivity. I have sought God; but in the end what I found was a monster. 

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Christian Conundrum

Conundrum:  a question or problem having only a conjectural answer 
Conjecture: an opinion or idea formed without proof or sufficient evidence

I've been an atheist since 1994 a total of 20 years, and I was an extremely fundamentalist Pentecostal evangelist for a total of four year from 90' to 94.' Throughout the years of discussing the reasons why I have left the faith with theists of all sects and denominations; I have noticed that there is one divide that separates atheists from theists. The theists insist upon it and the atheists refuse to accept it. That divide is founded on the concept of faith. If you discuss the idea of faith with various theists you will immediately come to know that you will probably get a bunch of ideas about what faith is none of which will agree with the other.

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

According to the definition of faith and the many examples of faith in chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews faith is synonymous with hope but not just hope in the ordinary human sense of the word but in hoping against all odds or the seemingly impossible. Faith from the Jewish/Christian/or Muslim perspective is not dependent on objective or empirical evidence but rather on subjective evidence; namely hope that what you believe is absolutely true. Theists have many reasons for believing. Some claim to feel God's presence, others claim to have been healed from some ailment or malady through faith, others claim to receive answers to their prayers, etc. 

Faith does not question beliefs; it is faith coupled with subjective experiences and fervor that reinforces irrational beliefs. You can't rationally explain how a man who allegedly lived 2,000 years ago, was executed by crucifixion, placed in a tomb, and somehow against all logic rose from the dead. Even more incredible is the belief almost two thousand years later that this same man will come back to earth to redeem his church!  

Contrary to what some theists want one to believe there is nothing mysterious or esoteric about faith. In it's simplest form faith is the same as conjecture: an opinion or idea formed without proof or sufficient evidence. Faith requires that you first make the investment of belief without requiring evidence or leaning to your own understanding. Contrary to what theists believe that initial investment of belief without evidence is what is commonly referred to as a leap of faith. But before faith comes a belief in God. 

And 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  

In order to please God you must first be willing to accept that he is; believe that he exists. Once you believe this then you must believe that he will keep his promises as outlined in the Bible to his people and those that seek him. This is all that faith is; the assurance that God exists and that he keeps his word and his promises. Here is the biggest stumbling block for an atheist such as myself: I can't believe in God without evidence of his existence and having read his so called word (the Bible) four times thoroughly I can't bring myself to believe that he exists. 

After having read the Bible three times in English and once in Spanish I found that it was full of self contradictions and incompatible representations of God. I was taught that God was good, loving, righteous, and just. He was often compared to a human father figure and his love for his children. In my mind God was the ultimate good and his integrity was unquestionable. But as I read the scriptures I read about some of his actions against humanity and no matter how I tried I could not justify mass murder, misogyny and slavery. Just because other people chose not to believe in God in my mind was not sufficient reason to kill them. I came to the conclusion slowly but surely that this god was not a good god or a moral god but rather a monster and a tyrant. 

Today I view the God of the Bible and the Koran as morally bankrupt and as a corrupt tyrant. Their favor is based on your complete and utter surrender to them. There is no free will when your only choice for good is to submit body, mind, and "spirit" to a deity whose existence is for the most part improbable. Failure to do so carries the threat of consequences that even follow you after your physical death! That's not love, that's tyranny! 

Theists insists on the absolute truth of their beliefs and want to force those beliefs upon everyone else. Like their God they too remind you of his threats for disobedience and when they were in charge they demonstrated that they were willing to kill, torture, and maim all those that refused to accept the absurdity that is their beliefs. Some states want to make atheism illegal even today! 

Unlike theists, atheists insists on logic and reason before committing to a belief system or doctrine. We recognize that in order to be a Jew/Christian/or a Muslim we would have to suspend the use of our minds. We would have to betray reason and dispense of the use of logic to believe in the absurd without evidence. This is where theism and atheism clash and the one place where we will never see eye to eye. 

The Christian conundrum also applies to Jews and Muslims and any other religion that insists on the existence of gods whether personal or impersonal as real entities without evidence. What is that conundrum? The fact that logically and reasonably the gods of any religion cannot be proven to exist empirically or objectively. The only one that could prove the existence of God in the case of the religions of the book is God himself. Unfortunately for believers either he doesn't want to do so or he simply can't because he just doesn't exist. 

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.     Bertrand Russel, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

Never, never do violence to your rational nature. He who in any case admits doctrines which contradict reason, has broken down the great barrier between truth and falsehood, and lays open his mind to ever delusion.    William E. Channing, Thoughts 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures and all word definitions are taken from the online version of the Merriam Webster Dictionary.                        
As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Atheists are not angry!

One of the most irritating accusations that theists like to make against atheists amounts to nothing more than a bad straw man attack. They accuse us of being angry at God and willfully negating the "truth" so that we can live as we please without accountability to anyone for our actions. The first problem with this is that theists seem to not understand the meaning of the word atheist or what an atheist is. As the word theists refers to a person who believes in God or gods atheist refers to a person who is of the opposite opinion. The "a" is used to refer to without followed by theist (God/gods) it's not that complicated.

Unlike theists; atheists have more rational reasons not to believe in gods, demons, angels, or any other strange entities mentioned in the Bible. The bottom line is that there simply is no objective and empirical evidence for the existence of these entities anywhere. In fact, to make matters worse the existence of God is unfalsifiable making it impossible for science to even test for the existence of God. For theists it's all a matter of faith which is simply hoping that what you believe is true without evidence. Theists rely heavily on subjective evidence regarding their beliefs such as feeling God's presence around them, within them, and manifesting through them in the form of so called gifts of the Spirit such as glossolalia (speaking in tongues), prophesying, having dreams, and visions, etc.

The problem with these subjective experiences is that they are all induced in the mind by a fervent belief in the doctrines one has been taught and exposed to. What theists fail to recognize is that there are many other religions throughout the world that also claim subjective experiences and yet those are ignored or called dupes of Satan to mislead people from the one true faith. Logically if I were to accept a Christians experiences as evidence of the existence of God then I must also accept the subjective claims of all the other religious non-Christian adherents of the world.

Now that that has been clarified let's get to the matter at hand. When someone says that they are an atheist they are saying I don't believe that the Bible is the word of God, I don't believe in heaven, hell, Satan, angels, demons, or any of the other mythical characters mentioned in that book. Quoting scripture at us is an exercise in futility since we don't accept the Bible as divinely inspired nor revere it. To a large majority of us it's just a book of ancient myths and superstitions.

The only thing I find upsetting about Christianity or Islam ( the two most aggressive faiths) is that they try to shove their religion down everyone's throat whether we like it or not. It's ironic but when Christianity was once in power they persecuted everyone who did not accept their beliefs. They even persecuted and murdered those that accepted their beliefs but went against their orthodox interpretations of what those beliefs should be and labeled them heretics.

Fundamentalist Christians of today are not that different from their early ancestors in that they want to rule the world with their ugly ideology. Here in the United States they use deceptive means to try to influence our politicians to write laws that favor their religion. They want to ban abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, freedom of speech for anyone who opposes their beliefs. They try to equate patriotism with Christianity. Under the false pretense that the U.S. was a nation founded under Christian principles they try and claim this nation as their own.

Atheists are not angry at God. That statement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever since it is pretty difficult to be mad at something which we think it is highly unlikely to exist. We don't "believe" that God does not exist thus it is not a matter of faith. We simply mean that there is no convincing evidence for his existence and it is more probable that he does not exist than that he does.

Theists are claiming rights for themselves while at the same time denying them to others. They want prayer in schools, the teaching of Intelligent Design as science, they want to force our government to favor their religion completely ignoring the Constitutions admonition about separation of church and state. This country through the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants the freedom of religion for all religions and not specifically Christianity. We're not angry at God we are angry at you who can't seem to live and let other live in peace.

I personally don't care who you worship you can worship Satan for all I care as long as you are not harming anyone in any way. You often speak of having a personal relationship with the Lord; well why don't you try keeping it personal? Your job as a believer is to preach the word and leave the rest up to God. Not force your religion down the throats of any who refused to believe. Not even Jesus used this tactic.

47“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. John 12:47-48

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

A horrific biblical tale!

The Bible is chock full of stories that are referred to by scholars as doublets. often a story is told more than once but with slight variations such as the story of creation, Noah's ark, etc. Other times the story is told in an entirely different way, in a different setting, with different results. This is one of those stories.

Everyone knows the story of Lot. God had dispatched angels to Sodom and Gomorrah disguised in human form. They were met by a man named Lot who God thought was a just man and worthy of being saved from his plans of destroying the two cities. There is a similar story found in Judges 19 about a man and his concubine. I will compare both accounts since  you will see that they are almost identical not just in the telling but even in a word for word comparison although the end results were very different.

So let's start by looking at the similarities of these two tales. I will cite portions of the story of Lot followed by portions of the story of the man and his concubine. Note that the story in Judges never gives us the name of this anonymous man. We are only told that he is a Levite.

1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square." Genesis 19:1-2

Note that when they arrived Lot immediately intercepted them and offered to allow them to stay the night at his house. They had originally intended to stay in the square.

16That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”18He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me in for the night.Judges 19:16-16

In this tale the man sits in the square and is spotted by an inhabitant of the city who subsequently offers to take him in for the night. So in both of our tales our travelers have been taken into a household for the night.

3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Genesis 19:3

21So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink. Judges 19:21

Both house guests were fed and well taken care of. 

4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Genesis 19:4-5

22While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.” Judges 19:22

So far these two different tales are very similar in content and circumstance. 

6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Genesis 19:6-8

23The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.” Judges 19:23-24

Notice that in both tales they offer up their daughters in the second he offers up the man concubine as well. The reason for this was because they felt an obligation to protect the men who were guests at their home. The other reason is that women in the Bible were considered property like cattle and in so in these two tales their safety and well being was not as important as that of the men. Another great demonstration of misogyny in the Bible! It's not a misguided unfounded accusation; it's a fact! 

Here is where the two stories diverge from one another and the similarities I have highlighted end. In the case of Lot when the men try to force themselves into the home the angels strike them all with blindness and gather Lot and his daughters and wife and allow them to flee the city before its coming destruction. In the second tale there were no angels to defend the home owner nor his guests and it took a turn for the worse.

25But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. Judges 19:25-26

27When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.29When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.  Judges 19:27-29

Christians claim that the Bible is a good book about morality and God's love etc. but its full of tales like this one. When you read this story you have to ask what is the meaning of this? Where is the moral lesson here? The fact of the matter is that there simply isn't one. Also, the similarities of these tales indicate to me that they were most likely not even historical events but rather works of fiction. There is so much unjustified murders and deaths in the Bible some of which are committed by the good Lord himself that it is ridiculous to call God good. There is nothing good about a deity as barbaric as Yahweh.

The so called claim that God is the source of objective morality sickens me. I think that my moral standards far exceed those of this allegedly good and supreme deity. I can honestly say that I have never murdered or killed anyone for any reason, I have never stolen from anyone, I have never purposely deceived anyone. The biblical God is guilty of all these things and more. 

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Life without Jesus

And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' Luke 12:19

Although I don't have it all figured out yet this is my philosophy of life. I've had a rough life and I've had my highs and lows just like anybody else, but I feel that I am privileged to have had the opportunity to live this life. As a believer I lived as though this life was nothing but a way station to the life that awaited me after my physical death. I invested a lot of my time in activities which at the time I believed were my calling from God. I preached on the streets, in various churches, and ministered to the sick and down trodden. I believed in those days that my time on this earth was not mine; it was the Lord's. 

As a believer I thought that my will and what was important for me was irrelevant. I wasn't put on this earth to do my will but the will of the Lord. In my mind I constantly held what I believed were conversations with the Lord. Jesus was my first thought in the morning and my last thought when I went to sleep. I prayed often and read my Bible with such awe and reverence and did not see anything wrong with the Lord or any of his actions. 

I believed that sin was everywhere and I constantly fought it back in my own life. Sin being defined as something that is offensive to God such as disobedience to his word etc. was always looming. I saw this life as disgusting and depraved and felt sorry for how people willfully rejected Jesus and did not appreciate the sacrifice of his life as atonement for their sins. I prayed that they would come to repentance and that they like myself would come to see the error of their ways. I wasn't worried about their earthly physical lives; I was more concerned for the ultimate fate of their souls. 

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I realize now that when I ministered to the masses I did not do it from a position of arrogance, but one of genuine concern. I believed what I preached fervently and I worked on a daily basis to make sure that I was in God's good graces. I guarded my thoughts from straying and when I did have a thought that was ungodly in my estimation I would ask God for forgiveness on the spot. I saw everyone in the world that did not have Jesus as scattered sheep without a shepherd. 

The idea that God was just also blinded me to the fact that he was a murdering tyrant that did not deserve my love or worship. I like many believers still do today did not have a problem with God's brand of Justice. His flooding the world or ordering the ancient Hebrews to murder entire towns and cities did not bother me. I thought that he was God and he created us and could therefore do as he pleases with us. I did not think to question his so called actions and saw him as the ultimate good. 

Today, my life is different but I can honestly say much better than it was when I was a theist. I value this life and this time now as the only life I will ever have. I have more compassion for my fellow man knowing that I too can be doing well one day and be homeless the next. I find meaning in this life and love those people in my life who are important to me. Life without Jesus has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don't worry about sin, death, or offending a fictional deity anymore. I am not concerned with what happens to me after I die. I see death as the final stop in this journey called life and have come to realize that we all will eventually get there.

I now see death from a biological point of view and therefore no longer fear it. Knowing that it can come at any given time or at any given moment makes me appreciate life even more. I don't have time to sit in a church praising and worshiping mythological beings and nurturing superstitions. I no longer put my life on hold nor am bound to live up to the standards of a god whose  morality is questionable. Many of the things that this deity is said to have done to man would normally be called sick and immoral, but people still insist on worshiping him out of fear based on empty superstitious beliefs. 

I thought I was saved as a Christian from eternal torment in the afterlife. I believed in that eternal bliss that was promised in the Bible and looked forward to it with blind faith and joy. But as an atheist I believe now that I have been truly saved. I have been saved from living my life  shackled to false beliefs and superstitions. I have been saved from fear of death and have broken the chains of mental anguish and oppression that once held captive my mind. Live life now is my motto! Love, laugh, cry, etc. now and cherish those you love because you never know when you will be saying your last goodbye or if you'll ever see them again. This is life; here and now! Don't let it go to waste.

Note: All biblical citations have been taken from the New International version of the scriptures. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pentecostal fundamentalist oppression

Oppression :  a sense of being weighed down in body or mind

One of the most negative effects I had from the influence of fundamentalist Pentecostalism in my life was that of oppression. Oppression as it is defined above from the Merriam Webster dictionary which I have linked to. For the most part this oppression was self inflicted due to the depth of my delusion in those days. Although the Bible stated that we can never measure up to God's standards it also taught that we should strive to be Christ like in our own lives to the best of our abilities. 

 12Therefore, 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

Once I was convinced that I too had come under the condemnation of sin I felt indebted to God. In those days though I was not a practicing Christian I was brought up to believe in the Christian God, but I was always told about his love. It wasn't till I was 14 years old and in the 9th grade in high school that after meeting a believer in school that I finally converted and fully committed myself to God and embraced the Christian religion. That first time I only lasted a year before I backslid and left the church and went back into the world and to my old ways. But even though I was no longer a practicing Christian I still retained my respect for Christianity, God, and what I still believed was his word the Bible.

In 1990 on New Years day I converted once more; this was to be my final attempt at committing my life entirely to Christ. This time around I delved into the scriptures headlong and asked questions of the church elders often. I prayed often and fasted at least once every two weeks. I joined an evangelist from my church and was soon preaching God's word in churches, on street corners, on public transportation, in hospitals, and pretty much wherever I could. I always had a stack of Bible tracts on my person to hand out to people on the street. I had surrendered fully and in retrospect to the extreme to the so called will of God.

Sin: Any thought, word, desire, action, or omission of action, contrary to the law of God, or defective when compared with it.(ATS Bible Dictionary)

In those days I had committed four years of my life to the will of God and tried on a daily basis to put into practice in my life what I believed to be the commandments of the Lord. It never occurred to me once to analyze critically the concept of sin. It wasn't till I read the Bible for the first time in its entirety that I came to the realization that this God did not seem fair or just at all. When I began to question what I was reading I began to feel terrified at the prospect that either Satan would harm me during my time of weakness or that God would chastise me for even questioning him.

Why should I be indebted to God for something someone else did? Why should I be punished for someone else and their transgression that allegedly happened around 6 0r 7 thousand years ago? Why should all of man acquire the curse of ancestors so far removed in time? In my mind there is no justification for this then nor now. The key to freeing myself from this delusion is to acknowledge that God was not wise, loving, or just. In the end the best solution was to eliminate him altogether from the equation. No God, no one to offend, therefore no such thing as sin. But this task was easier said than done. I was deeply deluded and heavily shackled by the chains of my delusions. It took me six years to completely shake the effects of religious beliefs from my life.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

It's ironic to me that this verse is even in the Bible but in the way that it is used it is done so to promote the gospel of Christ. Even today when Christians speak of their religious beliefs they refer to it as the truth. But I found a greater truth than the one that Pentecostalism or any other form of religion could ever teach me. I found out through careful research that all religions were nothing more than ancient myths and superstitions. I found out that Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all other religions that required that you submit to one or many imaginary beings were all nothing more than delusions. In my case the truth in the form of reality set me free from the imaginary and frightening world of delusions to which I was enslaved. 

I might not be able to tell you oh dear theist exact details on how the universe came into existence or even how life began, but I can assure you that God did it is not the answer. The god of the gaps theory is not even a coherent and rational theory at all and is something that is not even worthy of consideration. It is entirely based on the presupposition that God exists. The burden of proof is entirely on you dear Christian to prove to me the reality of the existence of your God, and the absolute veracity of your beliefs. Honestly, I think it can't be done but I am often amused watching you theists give it the good old college try. 

It wasn't till I read the Bible without reverence and fear, but objectively that I came to the realization that it was no different than any other book of myths that preceded it. Faith is not a valid means of obtaining knowledge and thus is invalid as evidence of anything. All religions of the world apply faith in one god or even many gods and they are all equally deluded and equally wrong. 

I lived four years of my life worrying about keeping my thoughts pure, fighting what I now know to be very natural lusts of the flesh, begging the Lord for strength and forgiveness when I had thought I sinned. I was constantly walking on egg shells and wanted to please the Lord to the best of my abilities. But in the end  on that fateful day when the chains of my religious oppression finally fell away, I felt as though the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders. I could now accept and love people for who they are without prejudices or feeling pity for their souls thinking I knew where they would end up if they did not accept Jesus as the lord and savior of their lives. I love all people and now have a live and let live policy. Sin no longer exists in my vocabulary and the idea of gods has taken their rightful place in the category of myths. 

I'm an atheist who is a proud father, husband, and now grandfather. I find meaning in life itself and joy in being privileged enough to have the opportunity to experience it on a daily basis. I've had a rough life in general and often find myself in one struggle or another but I realize that life is random and unpredictable and basically shit happens that we just can't foresee. I've learned to roll with the punches and think rationally instead of relying on an imaginary guy in the sky for help. I don't grovel and cry out to a being who in my opinion is not there. Reality is much better than superstition and I live to better myself on a daily basis and enjoy all of the wonderful things this world has to offer. Heaven is a hope that only exist in the hearts and the minds of the helplessly deluded. Hopefully some of you will find your way back to reality as I have and begin to enjoy life for yourself instead of sacrificing it for a delusion. 

Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures, word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary, and from the ATS Bible Dictionary.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another embarrassing biblical contradiction!

Every once in a while I like to draw my sword of logic and my shield of reason as I pierce through the lies and the mythological and nonsensical narrative known as the Bible. It's always fun to see the Christian response to some of the contradictions I have exposed on my blog as I marvel at their corruption of reason and twisted logic.

Today we will be focusing on the claim that the biblical deity Yahweh possesses the attribute of being omniscient or as we say in layman's terms all knowing. Note that I will be quoting quite often from the scriptures for reference purposes.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah1:5

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15:3

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

So according to these various verses I have quoted from both the O.T. and the N.T. God is in a lot of ways like an early version of Santa Clause who happens to see you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! I don't know about you but the idea of some invisible guy in the sky who seems to have more flaws than myself watching me and knowing my deepest darkest secrets is kind of creepy.

Having said those preliminary words let's get to the contradictions.

If Yahweh is all knowing and wise then why would he have to ask stupid questions and do stupid things in the scriptures to verify certain things.

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:8-11

There are several things wrong with this passage. First if God is all knowing then the idea of "hiding" from him is utterly ridiculous. Some theists have said to me that this is not a contradiction God knew what happened he just wanted to give them the opportunity to confess their sin themselves! I beg to differ. When you read that part of the narrative the good Lord seems genuinely surprised and caught off guard at not knowing for sure. He asks the question with authority and apparently demanding an answer. Another problem I have with this story is the idea of the Lord strolling through the garden it sounds kind of silly and makes the story in my opinion more unbelievable. Also, the fact that God has to ask the the two questions: Where are you? and whether or not they had eaten from the forbidden tree make him look like he doesn't know anything and is not omniscient at all. So we have the good Lord taking a Sunday stroll through the garden looking for his friends, pets, servants, and slaves Adam and Eve followed by actually three stupid questions he should have known the answers to.

It's the equivalent of sharing an apartment with your spouse and you making a sandwich and putting it in the refrigerator for later. Then when you come back to it later you find that it's not there and immediately go to your spouse and ask: Did you eat my sandwich that I left in the fridge earlier? A stupid human habit that we all seem to possess. 

9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”10The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.Genesis 4:9-10

This time two stupid questions that an omniscient god should already know the answer to! Somehow the brothers blood is crying out from the ground ratting on his brother for murdering him. It is not till then that the good Lord knows what has happened. 

5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. Genesis 11:5

This ones a hoot! He actually had to come done  from heaven to have a look at the tower he heard they were building. Once again for an all knowing being he seems to have to confirm things an awful lot in the scriptures. I will end this post with one of my favorites.

20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21

This one is especially revealing because it states that God had to come down from heaven in the form of a man along with two angels to confirm if what he heard about Sodom and Gomorrah was as bad as he heard it was. In other words he didn't know or wasn't so sure about it so yet again he goes through great lengths to confirm it. It's also interesting that he confesses his lack of knowledge at the end of the 21st verse. I think I have sufficiently proven the contradictory claims of the Bible regarding God's so called attribute of omniscience. It seems to me like the good Lord doesn't seem to know much about anything. Contradictory stories and claims all throughout the scriptures are rampant and quite honestly if I really put my mind to it I could do this all day. 

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

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Believing is not enough!

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

For many non-practicing self proclaimed Christians and so called "believers" out there, it is these two passages and others like them that have led to a great deal of confusion regarding salvation. It's passages like these that have led many to believe that they are automatically going to heaven because they believe in God. What they fail to understand mostly due to a lack of knowledge regarding what the scriptures say about salvation is that it is not as simple as it seems. For instance there are many in my family who claim to believe in God but they live their lives no different than the rest of us. Many claim to have Jesus in their hearts and assure themselves that although they may not be living according to God's ways that the Lord "knows what's in their heart." 

The United States is considered a Christian nation not because of it having been founded on Christian principles as some believe, but because of the influence that Christianity has had on this nation as a whole. There are many here who claim to be Christians but have never read the Bible nor set foot in a church a day in their lives. These are for the most part the ones that have inherited mom and pops religion as I like to refer to it. They believe not because they have had an encounter with the Lord or committed their lives to their faith. They believe because they were told from a very young age that there was a God that created all things great and small. Unlike the Santa myth the God myth is not taken away or exposed as false, but rather it continues to be reinforced in them well into adulthood to the point where it becomes second nature to believe. 

If non-practicing believers are brought up in a household where their parents are either non-practicing believers or it's opposite they obtain these influences in their own conception of belief. The former will believe like many that just believing in God is the default position and that it is not rational to question that. The latter will believe with much more commitment and zeal and will try to live a life that he or she thinks will be pleasing to the Lord. Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Christians, and Islamist are criticized often for being too extreme but in reality this is what the scriptures actually require.

I considered myself a fundamentalist Christian to the extreme. My daily routine consisted of praying to the Lord the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. I believed deep in my heart that I was speaking to the Lord and that he lived in me through his Holy Spirit. I considered my body his temple and I worshiped him with all my heart, mind, and soul. I preached on the streets on Saturday's and Sunday's every weekend without fail. I made house calls and visited the sick at the hospitals upon request from members or friends of the church. I was always evangelizing hoping to convert and lead to salvation yet another soul to Christ. I was part of a deliverance ministry which consisted of my friend and ministry partner at the time. He preached in Spanish at times and I preached in English or Spanish when required. Contrary to what some may believe I did what I did because I believed in what I was doing. The fear of hell or the glory of eternal reward was the furthest from my mind.

You see Christianity for me was not about just saying how much I loved the Lord or simply going to church to socialize and do nothing. Christianity was for me in those day a way of life. I tried to live the gospel to the best of my ability. Although, I knew that this was impossible I had to try to be more Christ like every minute and every moment of my waking life. I guarded my tongue and my thoughts very carefully. I asked for forgiveness when I offended or felt that I had done something offensive to the Lord. My time as a believer was a life changing experience in that I not only read and professed the gospel as true; I lived it! 

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19

Many people here in the states have been led to believe that it's not what you do but what you believe that will eventually lead to your salvation. But that is clearly not true. As in the O.T. the N.T. requires that you separate yourself from the "world" and live in the light according to God's will. If you were to conduct a survey for instance you will find that a majority of the shadiest people in the city believe in the Christian God in one way or the other. Drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, thieves etc. all claim that they believe in God. Some of them go out to commit their folly while wearing a crucifix around their necks, carrying a rosary, or even sporting a religious tattoo! The irony of it all is that they Seek God's protection while they go out to commit their crimes against innocent unsuspecting passersby.

A very nice Jesus tattoo! 

People like the ones being described rationalize their behavior by insisting that they do what they do because they have no choice and that God sees and knows this and thus will forgive them. I'm here to state for the record that believing is not enough! If you are not living the life that the Lord requires of you then hell awaits you of unfaithful and hypocritical believer. Of course I don't believe in God nor hell anymore but I am pointing out what you as believers should know. 

20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. James 2:20-24

This is what Jesus meant when he mentioned that false prophets would be recognized by their fruits. You as a believer are supposed to be a living example of the gospel. Your life is supposed to illustrate what you preach. Otherwise you are being a hypocrite by claiming to be something that you are not. Jesus life as narrated in the scriptures is the prime example that all those claiming to be believers should be following. 

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

According to this passage they were seemingly believers. They prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles. Yet Jesus will claim to have never knew them! This is not hard to understand, could it be because they were living double lives? On the pulpit or in their public life they gave a semblance of piety and holiness but behind closed doors they were no different than you average nonbeliever. Living their lives as if God did not exist. In other words they were being hypocrites! 

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 7:21-23

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

This is why I tend to call many Christians I run into hypocrites. It's because if you are not practicing what you are preaching you are not being true to yourself and your commitment to the Lord. It's good to believe but it's simply not enough. If it were so, then everyone would be saved and there would be no point in rejecting this belief, living as you please, and being rewarded for it. This is the one and only circumstance where Pascal's wager would be absolutely right! 

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