Last Updated on 2022-09-18 by Joop Beris
As an atheist, I obviously do not believe in God. I can’t be absolutely sure that there is no divine being of some sort but I think it is beyond any reasonable doubt that the God of the Bible (or Torah and Koran for that matter) doesn’t exist. Here are my Top 10 reasons God does not exist.
For a better understanding of my personal reasons to be an atheist, you may want to check out this article too. If you believe in God or find yourself in doubt, you will want to read 10 bad reasons to believe in God and 9 logical reasons why there is no God.
10. People speak for God.
According to Christians, Jesus walked the Earth in the flesh, appeared to people after his alleged death and God even spoke directly to people like Abraham and Moses. This all happened a long time ago though and no direct evidence exists to support these events. Nowadays, there are still people who claim to speak for God and people who claim that God speaks to them. Many of them sound like they have mental problems and would be a source of embarrassment if they were the spokesperson of anyone today. Why would an omnipotent and benevolent God have such people speak for him? If God really existed, he would speak for himself.
9. So many gods to choose from.
Christians (and other religions) claim that their God is the one true God and all the others aren’t real. It’s unclear how they determined this. Why is their God the real thing and not any of the others? Circumstance appears to dictate which God you believe in, like place of birth and the faith of your parents. Children growing up in a home without religion, grow up without believing in God unless someone tells them. If there were one true God who wanted to save people, he would reveal himself. The fact that he doesn’t, proves that God doesn’t exist.
8. God isn’t love.
Christians are ever so fond of telling us that God is love, that he regards us as his children, that he came to die for our sins and that he wants everyone to be saved. Obviously, this is not true. If God is our omnipotent father, it would be trivial for him to save people from dying horrible deaths. If he cared for us like a father, he would make sure that none of us would have to suffer an eternity in hell. That’s what an actual loving parent does.
The God of the Bible appears very different when you actually read the Bible. God has no problems wiping out very nearly everyone on Earth in a global flood. He commands the Israelites to commit genocide and berates Moses for not being thorough enough. He deliberately hardens the heart of the Pharaoh so that he can deliver the plagues upon Egypt. If we don’t love him back, he quite happily consigns us to everlasting torture by fire. These are not the actions of a kind, loving father but the actions of a psychopath. This proves that God doesn’t exist, at least not how people prefer to believe in Him.
7. God supposedly doesn’t want to interfere with free will.
When asked why God no longer performs miracles today, why he doesn’t appear to people any more, we are often told that God has to remain hidden because he doesn’t want to interfere with our free will. If it were obvious that he was there, of course people would believe in him. Yes, and? Why would that be a problem for God? If he loves us and wants us to be saved, what better way to ensure that than being painfully obvious for everyone?
Moreover, God had no problem being obvious in the past. He parted the Red Sea, spoke directly with people, appeared in a fiery column, brought people back from the dead, incarnated himself and died a public death, appeared after his public death and many more. Why wasn’t it a problem for people witnessing these events to lose their free will? What has changed? It is much more likely that those events are myths and that God doesn’t exist. Free will has nothing to do with it.
6. Jesus wasn’t a nice person.
Christians all around the world have this warm, fuzzy image of a kind of hippie Jesus avant-la-lettre, who went around preaching love and forgiveness. That doesn’t correspond to what the Bible tells us about Jesus, though. At best, Jesus sounds like a hypocrite when he tells people to love their enemies but at the same time says that people who don’t believe in him, will be cast into the fire. Jesus also tells people that he has not come to bring peace but a sword and that we are to hate our relatives if we want to follow him. And what to think of the Canaanite woman who pleads with Jesus and he sends her away calling her a dog because she is not the right nationality? Or when he kills a fig tree for not bearing fruit at a time when figs are out of season? That doesn’t sound like a loving God but like a childish, capricious and bigoted person.
The loving Jesus who is also God? He doesn’t exist.
5. Jesus failed
Millions of Christians believe that Jesus was God incarnate, God become flesh in this world. He came to die for our sins so that everyone could be saved. Clearly, he failed miserably in his mission. Many people don’t believe in him and some even believe he may never have existed at all. Many more people believe in a different God. And many people have never heard of him. When you think about it, why didn’t Jesus do a better job? Why didn’t he do something better with his omniscience than dying rather anonymously in a barbaric desert region in the Middle East? After all, being omnipotent and omniscient, he would have known beforehand that his mission would only be a success on a limited scale. Even I could find a better way to save people without being all-knowing. Clearly, the Jesus that Christians believe in, wasn’t the omnipotent and omniscient God that he is made out to be. He doesn’t exist.
4. Christians don’t trust in God either
I know they profess to believe in God and that God is their saviour and that they put their trust in God. The reality is that they don’t really do that. If they did, no Christian would have insurance, no Christian would go see a doctor and no Christian would need to look before crossing the road. After all, when God has your back, what could possibly happen to you, right? A simple prayer will set everything straight again, won’t it? If it’s your time to die, it’s your time to die, no? Since they’ve accepted Jesus, they’ll go straight to heaven, won’t they?
Christians don’t trust their God any more than non-Christians do. Why? Because God doesn’t exist, that’s why.
3. The crucifixion story is utterly unbelievable
The central message of Christianity is that God so loved the world, he came down from heaven as a person to die for our sins in a most gruesome way so that we could be forgiven for our sinful nature. Forgiven by whom? Forgiven by the same God who came to die for us. All you need to do to become a Christian, is believe that this is true and you are saved.
When you think logically about it though (and religion rarely stands up under logical scrutiny), you’ll immediately see that this makes no sense at all. For one, why would God need to be born, become flesh? Why go through all this trouble of being born, growing up, performing the odd miracle, teaching at temple, gathering a bunch of followers, do some more miracles, get arrested, crucified, die, only to come back from the dead three days later? If God, who is allegedly omnipotent, wants to forgive us, why go through with this elaborate scheme? Why not just forgive everyone and be done with it?
In addition, God is omniscient so he knew before ever making humans that one day, he’d do all that. Why not just leave that one tree out of reach of Adam and Eve? Surely God knew that they’d eat from it? None of it is necessary! It could all have been prevented, the fall from grace, the flood, the plagues, the genocides, the crucifixion if God had just left that one tree out of the garden of Eden.
The most logical explanation is that none of this is true, the garden of Eden never existed and neither does God.
2. The Bible
When asked, most Christians will tell you that the Bible is the word of God. In essence, God is the author of this book. Since God is supposedly perfect, omniscient and omnipotent, you’d expect the Bible to be the most beautiful, most moving, most poetic, most moral and most accurate book of all time.
This is not what you find when you read the Bible. Most Christians never bother reading the Bible cover to cover and if they did, there’d be a lot more atheists in this world! Instead of a book as I just described, the Bible is full of errors, contradictions, superstition and utterly immoral texts. There is not one person among my readership who could not write a more moral text. Instead of proving a perfect author, the Bible reads just like a text you’d expect from a barbaric age, an age of slavery, genocide, pestilence, torture and scapegoating.
The Bible proves it’s author wasn’t divine and that God does not exist.
And lastly, the number one reason why God does not exist:
1. Prayer never works
It may seem to work from time to time but in reality, it doesn’t. Try praying for something that is deemed impossible and it will never happen. Why? Well, because it is impossible. Imagine all the people on Earth right now, imagine what they are praying for. People praying for peace in their country, people praying for food, for shelter, for safety, for healing, for the floods to spare them, for a successful exam, for anything you can imagine. If you do an analysis on the prayers that get answered, you’ll see it is only the prayers that had a fairly realistic chance of coming true regardless. You can pass an exam without prayer if you study but no matter how hard you pray, food never falls from the sky, God never restores an amputee, God never brings peace, God never heals a child with terminal cancer. He will help you find a parking space though.
It should be painfully obvious that prayer accomplishes nothing. In fact, nothing fails like prayer!
This is completely at odds with the words of Jesus who promised that anything you ask in his name, he’ll do. No conditions, no excuses: ask and ye shall receive. But you don’t. Why? God doesn’t answer prayers because God doesn’t exist.
These are just my Top 10 reasons God does not exist. I’m sure you could think of several more but these are the ones I like. What reason do you have? Why don’t you leave me your Top 10 reasons God does not exist in the comments below? Have anything else to say about the above? Please leave a comment!
Hi! Since I am a Christian, I have been called to share God’s word, so I will do my best to share my opinion:
I like reading atheist posts to see what others think of the Christian religion, but I will have to disagree with most of your points. I will talk about the prayer one first- the Bible doesn’t say that you will get everything you want if you pray for it.
The verse Matthew 21:22 means that if you are asking through faith, God will hear you. “Good works in mysterious ways” explains that since we are humans we will not understand God’s timing and his way of answering them. If you ask for earthly things such as money and success for selfish reasons, then yes, God isn’t a genie. But he does care about what his children need.
With the Bible, It is not supposed to be a perfect, heartwarming, all-good book. A good and loving father doesn’t just give you the good side of everything, he shows you and warns you of things to learn from, and things to do and not to do. God lets sin happen in the world because a good and loving father doesn’t force his son or daughter into things. That just causes rebellion and a destroyed relationship. Instead, God gives us choice, and if we chose to turn our own way and try to survive on our own, it will result in a much harder life.
I am open to hearing comments, & thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope some of you out there will choose to turn to the Lord!
Hello C4L, I believe in God as the creator of everything existing. I follow no religion, but I believe in Jesus Christ as God in human form and all that is written in the bible leans to today’s living examples and how we too can live and learn as Jesus did in the bible. If this is being a Christian, then I am a Christian. Jesus to me is a perfect example of how we can live our lives today. All that the bible references to the one called God, the Father, the Almighty, the I Am, I reference all these and more to look at myself and how I need to live. How I know that God exist comes only from my own experiences and they are not for anyone else to believe, I don’t care about others belief, nor do I care that we believe in a God, a higher being or anything less. What my concern is today is that my God has the answers, and I am not to question anything or anyone. We are children barely walking to know what my God knows and as immature as we are, we don’t really know my God at all and don’t have the words to explain him/her or power. I am not here to explain my God to others. What I am trying to make a statement about is that it is not our place to question anyone’s God. It is our choice freely given to believe in whatever we want to believe and if God is that belief, so be it. If God is not in your choice, then so be it. The answer from me is to love each other the way you define love. Leave the rest to God.
I understand you have to disagree with most of my points in order to preserve your faith. However, I’d much rather you didn’t take that position but instead keep an open mind when dealing with my points.
Actually it does say that in Matthew 21:21 and 21: Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’
Jesus is literally saying that they can ask to make mountains jump into the sea, as long as they believe. That is the only condition specified. However, I understand why Christians today want to claim this is a metaphor because otherwise they’d have to face some inconvenient truths.
“God works in mysterious ways” is humans making excuses for not getting what they expected (or nothing at all) when they ask for something in prayer. There is no way someone can distinguish between:
All people do is interpret matters after the fact in a way that suits them, trying to make them fit with their beliefs. And ironically, it’s the mundane, earthly things that people ask for that do have a chance of happening. If I pray for finding my car keys or a parking spot or for success in an exam, those things actually have a good chance of coming true. It’s the not mundane, not earthly things that never seem to happen. Any mountains jumped into the sea lately? Any amputees regrow their limbs? Did god end the war in Ukraine yet? Because I am sure people are praying for all of those things. Well, maybe not the mountain thing, but you get what I mean.
A good and loving father protects his children from harm, allows them to make small, manageable errors so that they can learn from them. He doesn’t endanger the lives of his children. A good father will even allow his children to rebel against him because he knows they need that to grow up, to emancipate themselves. He especially doesn’t say “love me or else you’ll burn forever”. That’s not a choice, except in the Don Corleone style of making people an offer they can’t refuse.
I understand the mysterious ways argument very well, it was the one that I was told when I still believed. It was also one of the main catalysts for me to reject my faith. I hope people will continue to use their reason and keep an open mind.
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You say a good and loving father protects his children, while allowing them to make errors and to rebel against him, so that they may learn and grow. How can you be certain that God is not being your Good Father right now?
Technically, I can’t know that, any more than someone else can know that god is doing anything at all.
The whole point is that we can’t know. There’s no good evidence to think there is a god so we shouldn’t assume there is.
First establish that there is a god, then we can talk about what it does or doesn’t do, maybe.
The entire concept of God being a deity that created this universe, the Bible, biblical history, and all that has any reference to God is about YOU. God does not need to be found, nor acknowledged in our lives. Man creates God, because Man wants to be God. The God creator exist in US. We are the God of our own intelligence. We control our own God. We invented God. Everyone individually is God. You wear your own cloths as you see fit. We don’t need an invisible being to look up or down too and acknowledge to this being that our lives need some kind of order to keep our feet moving. Without God you will still get up, move, decide and take a crap when you are full. God is US. A person who wants to overpower, over think, overcome, get over themselves, is being God. The bible is written about you, not about God. You are dark and formless in the womb, and now need to separate the good and the bad in your baby life and start to live a godly life, which means live a life by yourself, for yourself until you die. All of us need to be guided by others somehow to continue to survive and we don’t need an imaginary being to guide us. We wear our own cloths and walk our own way as Gods. Where is God every day and why do we need him as we look into the mirror. The only and I mean only reason to place a higher being such as a GOD above yourself is to acknowledge to others that you love them greater than yourself and God is the reason why I love you, not me, His Fault!
Interesting but I’m having difficulty discerning your point, exactly. I’m with you when you say that humanity created god, first many gods who morphed and coalesced into one.
The person who wants to overpower, over think, overcome, etc. sounds like one might describe Nietzsche’s “Overman”.
However, when you say that the bible is written about you/us, not about god, I don’t follow.
What are you trying to say, exactly?
Hello Joop, you have been very kind to all opinions here and that is gratifying. Because of you, I have kindly left my opinion and all that I say is from me and only me. All that I understand comes from growing up to have an understanding. I know nothing more than to reason it out and make a choice of what moves me to believe this or that or let it pass. If you take the bible for what it is, is becomes just a book written by other humans’ opinions and experiences. Because I read it or hear it from others does not make it truth and I wasn’t there to witness it. Any knowledge I read or hear is just other people’s opinions. Take away God and what do you have left? Put God in your life and what do you have left? I am only an influence on whatever I want to do and since I live with others around me, they are an influence on me if I let them in my space. What I do can influence others and this is the problem. Since I don’t live alone, I must be careful what I influence. I take the Bible as an influence of people’s lives. Genesis being the creation of life (Me), the acceptance of this world and others involved to love or kill (deny). A God described as the creator to give me a reason why I exist at all. I need a reason and God seems to be the simplest and most elementary reason to answer my question. Without that God in my life, I become the only God left (Me). So, I read the bible to know how the world is, how people become, how this causes this and those who are lost and then found and all the wars we battle every day from childbirth to today.
Does God exist, in my mind he does, I call him Father, the one Father any son would wish they have. I also call God my mother, for allowing me to experience love on my own for me own faults but still picking me up when I keep falling down. Only those who have fallen down can experience what it took to stand back up and if God was there, that person will have their eyes opened and only that person will know if God exist. If anyone is burdened to the point of wanting to know if God is here or not only needs to ask God. I wouldn’t ask another person like me or read a book to believe there is a God. I just need to ask God. If God is here, you will know. If someone says they spoke to God, keep it to yourself and thank God he is that close to you for whatever reason than your love for him. You believe in God or not is your choice, and who am I to argue that choice unless I myself am trying to be an overpowering, over exerting, overcomer of my beliefs on you, and for what reason do we have to do this very thing? Maybe trying to be a God myself. It’s what you do when you walk out of your home that matters. Keep what’s inside left inside and unless Love comes out of your being, let God and no God take care of the rest of this life. We can be brothers in heart, or strangers with opinions, no one comes together except through love. The bible is a book, a very well written book.
The 10 reasons there is no God is explained again, where I believe that the answer is we are all Gods. When science or our intelligence can’t come up with the answer, God becomes the subject and sometimes a good answer. Those who know God usually keep it to themselves and walk humbly and maybe some of the wisest common-sense people you will meet. After this post, I will go back to being myself again. No more replies.
1. If God existed, he would speak for himself. Because God doesn’t speak for himself, we kindly speak for him. Don’t we all just speak our minds?
2. So many Gods to choose from, how can this be? Didn’t we create all these different Gods?
3. God isn’t love, look at all this suffering and killing in the bible and in the world today. Well, if we want to blame God that seems like an excuse for our behavior. If God does not exist, then the pain and suffering did not stop. We haven’t stopped havoc with or without a God.
4. A God would interfere in our lives and cause miracles and make us all believers. Since God does not inject his power today in my lifetime I won’t believe in a God. So, we suffer alone and take care of business as we see fit. Life goes on, can’t stop because God is missing.
5. How can a person called Jesus have us believe in a God. He calls us Hypocrites, tells us to love our enemies, but if we don’t believe in him, we will be cast in fire. He bought with him a sword and your relatives are to be cast away and follow him. Sounds like a typical day in this world we live in. Just turn on the news there are many Gods out there.
6. How can a Jesus God die saving us and we all still worship other Gods, still destroying each other. What a waste Jesus was, being the son of God could he have done better than to die for us. We supposed to just follow that. Well regardless of the story of Jesus, look how we turned out, still sinning, still killing, lying, and cheating. We are just acting like we are in control.
7. If there is a protector God, why buy life insurance, why worry about your health or dying, because you will go to Heaven, a much better place. Why do you deny God by worrying about death or harm. Sounds like you still are in control of yourself, making decisions to help yourself.
8. The crucifixion is hard to believe even if Jesus did exist and did die on a cross and the rest of the story is to believe it was all for us to be saved? He came to this earth to forgive us and died for us. By whom are we forgiven, the same God who came to die for us? This story of the bible is hard to explain even to a child. Are we not all responsible for ourselves? Don’t we give a little and take a little and ask for forgiveness to the ones we hurt, or maybe we don’t want to. It’s our choice, isn’t it?
9. How can there be a God when the bible is written by other people and so many contradictions and all sorts of confusions. Shouldn’t it be all poetic and beautiful and pure of heart stories? Well, it seems our lives are not so in order either, all the same happening to each other. We decide our future as we take control of our situations.
10. Prayer never works. They don’t get answered, people are still sick and still die. You don’t get what you pray for. Where is God in all these prayers? What a waste of time an atheist will say.
Why pray at all, because after you pray you go back to work, go back to eating, go back to the same life before you prayed. Nothing changed other than you performed a moment to yourself or around others to receive a response. You spoke and you listened like thinking about a problem and then finding a solution or not on your own. It’s all about you.
So, these are some reasons why some may believe there is no God.
What we would realize is that all actions and all events become our choice, with or without a God involved. Since we cannot prove there is a God and we can’t prove there is not a God, we simply move on with our lives and respect each other’s opinion to the limit we allow.
Thank you for explaining your beliefs. It’s true that I encourage open discussion here, to an extent, but I do want posts to be on topic.
From what I gather from your long posts, is that you’ve taken elements from Christianity and the bible, mashed them together and created your own personal religion.
You are free to do that, of course. And while there are some viewpoints or critiques that I could offer, I’m going to refrain from doing that because your personal beliefs are very far removed from what people usually claim to believe when they say they believe in a god. That god is the aim of my article.
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I have no clue whether this would contribute. I’ve thought about it though, and I’ve wondered why the human race is getting punished ONLY because of Adam and Eve’s sin. I don’t mean that as evidence for and against, but why is it only those two humans who were tested for the outcome of humanity? Why wasn’t I or anyone else put in the garden of Eden to be tested?
Excellent question! Thousands of generations of people are being punished for the sins of Adam and Eve. That is, to me, like I should be tried for murder because my great great great great great grandfather murdered someone and got away with it. That certainly does not seem fair or just – so why should the descendants of Adam and Eve be punished for their sins – does not seem like a very loving God to me. Are we all not his children? Would we, as insignificant humans in comparison to God, want to punish our own children for something they have had no part in and have never done? I think your post is a good contribution.
I researched it somewhat more. Apparently, our spirits inherit the sinful qualities from Adam and Eve and some of the other known characters from the Bible. Basically, just like genetics. I guess that’s a great explanation, but why would God create our spirits to where sin is inherited like genetics? Why not start out my spirit as perfected as Adam and Eve’s so I can have the same choices and opportunities?
Hey Noah, So, it’s not exactly we’re all getting punished because of Adam and Eve’s wrongdoing, more so it’s because when they sinned, sin entered the world and we all became inherently sinful, when we are conceived in the womb, we are sinful, because that is our world, there is nothing we can do to be un-sinful. And I used to think the same thing too “why wasn’t I in the garden, I wouldn’t have disobeyed God!” How wrong I am, I can barely resist day to day temptation, there is no way I would have been able to resist the fruit of the tree. We all like to think this way, but we are all the same.
So, you’re saying that sin assimilated with the world as a result of Adam and Eve? But I have to ask next, there’s a genealogy of multiple people that came in the line of Noah from the Bible. In Genesis 6:7 God says that “ for it repenteth me that I have made them.”. Yes, we understand that God finds favor in Noah; however, God says that as if he made a mistake. The argument that theist generally say is the idea of God being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent: he can know what will happen from beginning to end because he isn’t bound by time. So why did God say that if he knew that Noah and his family was righteous? Also, one of Noah’s family members supposedly had the genetic disorder from the giants back in his time. Why didn’t God get rid of that impurity if he was trying to start over?
Sorry to bombard you with another question, but what was God’s main goal with the flood? Was it to get rid of sin, genetic impurities that God didn’t like, or to start over?
This is getting off topic. Besides, Noah’s flood never actually happened, it’s a myth. Here are 21 scientific reasons why there never was a global flood: https://skepticalinquirer.org/2018/03/twenty-one-reasons-noahs-worldwide-flood-never-happened/
It’s not directly related to the question of god’s existence but it is a good question nonetheless. My reply: it’s just an origin story and it’s certainly not something that actually happened or something we should take seriously.
Adam and Eve were never real people and there never was a garden of Eden either. The origin story in the book of Genesis is no different than the origin stories or the Norse or Greek pantheon.
I’ve explored my take on the garden of Eden/original sin story here, if you’re interested: https://www.beris.nl/why-i-am-an-atheist-part-2/
Thank you. I meant hypothetically if the flood did happen. I understand the science of your evidence against the idea of the flood and the logical fallacies of Adam and Eve and the crucification. I’m just trying to figure out what was God’s intentions with the flood if it didn’t change much.
I see. Yes, it’s not like the world got any better after the supposed flood so there doesn’t seem to have been a point to it.
For a while, the world was better after the Flood. The Earth was cleansed of sinful people and only those who were righteous remained. Unfortunately, this world is of the devil and sin crept back into the world. That’s why Jesus had to come: so he could defeat the devil and sin once and for all.
1, Prayer does work, just not in the way you describe it. God wants a personal relationship with someone, and to be honest most Christians don’t have that, they try to use him as an insurance, call on him when they need him. And your right, the prayers for parking spots and passing tests are just probable chances, because they don’t desire God, they just want what’s best for themselves. God answers prayers that are asked in true faith and things that are needed. And he doesn’t always answer in the way we want or think. He works in his perfect timing and way. There is a lot more to this conversation too I would be down to talk deeper in.
2, The Bible is full of “inconsistencies” but you’re saying that because of this, it is not true, and it can’t be trusted, I believe it proves that it is true. I saw that big chart in the comments where it points out all of those “errors” and the majority are in the New Testament, this is because the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are all the same story but are told from 4 different perspectives. So, they are going to be small differences in each story, that proves that not one person made it all up or a small group of people got together and made sure everything was perfectly in sync, no it is multiple people who saw the same things and wrote down what they saw and heard. All of those errors it points out have nothing to do with actual doctrine.
I can’t fit explanations for all 10 question in this one response. gonna try more.
As a former Christian, I would disagree that prayer works.
You say God works in “his perfect timing and way.” What does that mean? How can either of those be defined let alone understood? I am far from perfect in every way – thus I really don’t think I would know what perfection was even if it was right in front of me. Since I am pretty sure no human is “perfect,” how can an imperfect being ever hope to understand perfection or even talk about the perfection of God – including his timing and ways?
From what you wrote, I take it that it means we should believe (and accept) that whatever way God answers and whenever God answers – it is always perfect. Am I reading that correctly? And is no answer – an answer? And how do we even know that we got an answer if that is the case?
The concept of “perfection” is a human construct. It is almost entirely subjective. I think a particular movie is perfect, you do not. You think a particular flower is perfect, I do not. Huge numbers of prayers have been made about Ukraine and its people. Yet, still, many Ukrainians die. If God is intervening based on prayers, I would say his timing and ways are far from perfect. If God is not intervening, then the prayers that have been said are either selfish, insincere, or what is being prayed for is not needed. Keeping innocent people safe and alive seems a worthy cause to me though – and it certainly seems to be necessary.
But what do I know…
Every prayer, that is prayed for the right reason is answered. Like I said, God isn’t going to answer our “parking spot, or test answer prayers” when they aren’t asked in actual faith in God. If you truly need one of those in the moment, I’m sure God would provide, but most prayers are asked as wanting something from God like he is a vending machine, only talking and turning to him when it benefits you. He wants a relationship with us.
God is perfect. Not because I think he is, but because that is how we can best describe him. Like you said “perfect” is a human construct, but we both understand what that word means, meaning he is good in every way, and that is the best way we can describe him from our imperfect mines.
Your last point about Ukraine, about prayers being answered, I think that ties more into why bad things happen. But it does also deal with prayer. I’ll try to fit all of this in one comment. So, God does protect us, and prayer does help in that, but people also die, and that is how our world works. This is because we live in a sinful world, and a world with people of free will. God cannot stop our free will, if he did, we would all be like robots, with no individuality, unfortunately this does lead to people inflicting harm on others. But God still works through everyone and everything. I would also like to add that God works even though no one is praying. By praying we are able to build a relationship with him and see him work, and through that we see how he answers our prayers.
Hopefully this answers some of your questions, I feel like my answer doesn’t quite do your question justice, I definitely could have thought of a better way to word and put together my answer, but this was the best I had for this moment.
With regards to prayer, your argument doesn’t work. You’ve made an unfalsifiable claim where no matter what happens, your conclusion is always that prayer works regardless of the outcome.
All those people praying for food, healing or peace or whatever, I guess they just prayed the wrong way or god decided on something else? It’s a poor excuse to explain away why prayer doesn’t work. You’ve basically illustrated exactly what the image under point number 1 says.
There aren’t just inconsistencies in the bible, as the article says above. Besides, a document – any document – that is not internally consistent is by that very fact unreliable. How do you determine which statement is accurate if you find inconsistent statements?
Whether these errors and inconsistencies led to major schisms or doctrinal issues within the church, has much more to do with people formulating doctrine based on these inconsistent texts in the first place. The formulation of doctrine was necessary to establish a more or less consistent belief system because the bible doesn’t provide that.
I’m glad you responded, I have respect for you for always coming back and commenting to everyone.
I promise I will respond to your reply here, but I would just like to ask out of curiosity, how do you believe the earth began?
I’ve seen some really good arguments in these comments, and I think you might believe that there is a possibility that a higher power or deity does exist, but you rule out God and Christianity because there are so many religions out there and you could never narrow it down to one.
That may be completely wrong, and that’s fine. I am just very curious on what you believe in whole on how our earth and universe came to be.
I appreciate these discussions!
I like people engaging with my writing and thoughts so I tend to respond a lot. I also enjoy respectful and rational discourse with people who have an open mind about things. Great way to learn, if you ask me!
My formal position on the existence of a deity or a higher power would be that of an agnostic, anti-theistic atheist, as I’ve explained here. Agnostic in the sense that I can’t be absolutely sure if there is or isn’t a deity. Anti-theistic in the sense that I think religious beliefs can be harmful to individuals and society as a whole. Atheist because I see no good reasons to believe in a deity so belief in a deity is not warranted and impossible for me.
I rule out Christianity (and all other religions that I’ve encountered) for a number of reasons. That we have no way of knowing which, if any, is correct is one reason. But also because all the religions I’ve encountered so far, make fantastic, highly dubious claims on bad or no evidence. Often these claims are at odds with reason and logic and what we know to be true about the world.
How our solar system was formed, is pretty well understood by science. NASA have a good explanation on their site. The entire universe is another matter. Cosmology hasn’t cracked that one yet. So if you ask me how the universe came to be, my answer is that I don’t know.
That is the whole point of the Bible…it is a faith-based belief, that stands alone, without man’s interference of trying to “explain” it. You either choose to believe it or you don’t! Complications arose from man’s insistence on needing to define, diffuse, and indoctrinate something they cannot fathom.
The problem with a faith-based belief is that you can believe anything on faith. Faith isn’t a reliable pathway to the truth. It’s not based on facts, knowledge or experience. Instead, faith is obscurantism, it’s pretending to know something which you don’t know, cannot know and hiding that behind a wall of fluffy, meaningless verbiage. We don’t speak of faith when we have evidence.
Also, people don’t choose to believe something. You’re either convinced by a proposition or you are not. It’s not a matter of will to believe in something.
Critically examining the things we believe in, is a smart way to act. Challenging our accepted beliefs helps us deepen our understanding of the world. Beliefs that stand the test are reinforced, believes that fail to meet minimal standards of proof should be discarded as false.
The better we are able to understand the world, the better our decisions on how to act in this world.
Oh yeah, by the way, the “Big Bang is a cataclysmic explosion of energy,” as per many articles in Google Scholar.
Not an explosion.
Hmm, advertisements. Kinda sus, as if it’s not written by actual scientists
If you want to contribute to the discussion, you are free to do so. If not, please refrain from further idle comments. The original post doesn’t even address the Big Bang in any way.
Here it is from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-s-james-webb-space-telescope-and-the-big-bang-a-short-qa-with-nobel-laureate-dr-john
Still not an explosion.
if god is perfect then perfection can only create perfection and perfection is uncorruptable.
A and E would never have fallen to temptation free will or not.
the whole idea of is very imperfect because it was written by man.
Except for the Ten Commandments(possibly) and other few instances like the writing on the wall for the book of Daniel, there isn’t other articles written by God as far as I can tell. I’ve always questioned why humans are telling us the rules of God.
Hahaha! Legit this all make sense, hoping to see all ur post, i will follow them all thank you!
Okay. But how many of you actually questioned how God came to be, if he’s SO real? Did any of you actually bother to ask yourselves who brought God (and no, I don’t mean Jesus, I mean his supposed father, HIS LITERAL CREATOR), how he got here in the first place? Why don’t you think about THAT for a while.
God has to exist because the laws of physics exist. How can the laws of physics exist without God? Someone had to create them and that is God.
Actually, no. The laws of physics do not exist as separate entities or agents in the universe. This is an ambiguous claim often made by apologists. The word “law” is ambiguous, because it can refer to descriptive laws or prescriptive laws. Prescriptive laws require a lawgiver. These laws are laws like: you are not allowed to drive faster than the speed limit. Or: you are not allowed to murder people.
Descriptive laws are different. They describe how things work. The law of gravity for instance is a good example of such a law. It doesn’t tell the planets how to move, it simply describes how the planets move. Descriptive laws are descriptions of how the world presents itself to us. They are descriptions based on human observation, so they do not require a lawgiver.
I discuss this in greater detail here: https://www.beris.nl/what-is-the-best-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/
I hope you realize how silly and childish your arguments sound to someone with real faith? Atheists like you have hardened your hearts to the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ. If you would just open your eyes, you’d see the beauty of His Creation all around you. If you would open your heart, you would be able to listen to His Voice speaking to you. God calls out to you and wants to save you!
It’s not too late. You can still repent and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be saved. God will not turn you away, even if you have turned away from Him who has created you. I will pray that you will see the light.
You may call my arguments silly and childish and dismiss them that way. Allow me to just point out that you haven’t explained why you think they are silly and childish or offered a refutation of any of them. That’s fine too but in doing so, you aren’t actually contributing anything to the discussion, are you?
In order for an atheist like me to accept Jesus, I’d first have to be convinced that there’s any merit to the Christian belief that there was someone named Jesus who is also the son of a God. The existence of this God is so far an unsubstantiated claim. So let’s start there: can you prove any of these assertions or even begin to make them plausible? If you can’t, you’re just here to preach.
Ill take a crack at it as one of the faithful. Your arguments are all based on assumptions made by a human. Many times you say things like “God would do this …. Or God would do that….” And you provide no basis for these claims. Perhaps you would do this or that and perhaps so would most humans. But when we are debating the existence of an entity very different from ourselves we cannot assume human tendencies or thought processes would apply and then state those items (or lack therof) as proof.
God is there waiting for you to change your mind in your last days. If we are weak, we become atheists. Society without God is destined to live greedily and self-destruction would likely occur. Do not kill. Do not steal. The moment you trust this two sentences God appears as a peace bringer. It is the power working in you. You do not see your heart do you? But you feel the warmth of blood inside you, hear the beats almost each second of your life and you can trust then in the sentence “my heart exists”. If you decide to not live anymore, then God appears as a danger that terrifies you, the darkness, but you still believe in darkness and not in God, who let’s it there for you to terrify you. You wouldn’t know if darkness and death exist if they were not so real. Why do you think your life matters? You are a bunch of atoms right? You feel though your heart is more important then the concept of it? You are created to love eternally a woman. You search for eternal life, because it matters for you, that is why God created us. To find this path and bring us where we belong, to true the light of God. The Sun delivers light as the heart delivers blood.
Will you be needing some dressing with that word salad?
Thanks, this proves everything you didn’t want to. You exchange eternal life for a salad dressing. I am thinking about this. Just eat and enjoy.
I am sorry about one thing.
Think about walnuts, how they are similar to our brain and please don’t think like a fish, the net of random situations is waiting for you.
You’re free to contribute something meaningful to the discussion here. This however, is meaningless piffle. Please keep that to yourself.
No argument in these answers though.
If you mean your comments, no. There is nothing that makes enough sense to argue with.
– Comment removed by admin —
Please contribute meaningful comments.
When my husband died in my arms 10 months ago .. he asked me this with one of his last breaths…
“””WHERE IS god now???”””
So sorry to hear that, Victoria. My condolences. That being said, I think your husband’s question is a question that should be on the mind of every sincere believer at least once or twice in their lives when faced with such a personal calamity: where is god indeed?
If something exists now (you, me, tree, etc), then something must exist eternally or we could not exist.
You realise that this is an empty assertion, right? Not backed up by anything factual, no arguments to support it. So we’re just to take your word for it?
In order for God to forgive, the penalty of sin must be paid for. The penalty of sin, which we all commit, is eternal punishment in hell. Christ suffered that punishment once for all on the cross. You can either trust Him to pay your penalty, repent of your sins, and own Him as your Lord; or you can continue to live in condemnation both now and forever after you die. Also, you say there are tons of errors and contradictions in the bible. If so, please show me 10 of them. Should be easy to find.
I understand that this is what you believe, but I do not. To me, there is no concept of sin because there’s no god to sin against. There’s also no saviour because there’s no one that needs saving from a vengeful god. Fortunately, there’s also not a shred of evidence for any of it, so nothing to worry about there either.
Only 10? I’ll show you 439 places where the bible contradicts itself, so it’s not even internally consistent. That’s not even mentioning the errors where it is wrong about cosmology, geology, biology, etc.
Have a look:
Can you send me one where there are links to each Bible verse?
No, I can’t. But you clearly have a device with a working internet connection so I suggest you use it. Plenty of free bible resources available online.
These so-called “contradictions” are not actually contradictions. I’m going to explain 10 of the important ones.
2. Was Abraham justified by faith or by works? Christians are justified by faith alone. However, it is their works that prove that they have faith. Without works, they have false faith and therefore are not justified.
11. The two contradictory creation accounts. There’s no contradiction here; animals and humans were created.
15. How should adulterers be punished? One being stoned and one being put to death isn’t a contradiction. However, it is important to note that the Old Testament laws do not apply anymore because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The New Testament laws apply to us.
16. Is it wrong to commit adultery? There is no contradiction here. All the verses here show that adultery is wrong. Hosea must love his wife just as how the Lord loves the Israelites despite their unfaithfulness. God is using Hosea’s marriage to illustrate his love for his people.
23. Does God want some to go to hell? God wants everybody to be saved. He only “hardens” the hearts of those who have already willfully turned their back on him and rebelled against him. He does so as an example to others–those who might still repent.
24. Did Jesus tell his disciples everything? Obviously, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples absolutely everything, as that would take an eternity (Jesus is infinite in wisdom). The point is that Jesus spoke with His disciples as trusted friends—He didn’t hide anything from them. He knew that they would not appreciate some things at this point, and so He didn’t bother telling them about these things, but He did not hide anything from them that they wanted to know.
30. From what were the animals created? One verse says that God let the waters swarm with living creatures and the other says that the animals came from the ground. There’s no contradiction. The waters being swarmed with animals doesn’t mean that the animals came from the waters.
31. Should you answer a fool according to his folly? In short, in negligible issues we should just ignore fools, but in issues that matter, they must be dealt with so that credence will not be given to what they say.
32. Where did Jesus first appear to the 11 disciples after the resurrection? There’s no contradiction as to where Jesus appeared to his disciples.
36. Was Asa perfect? Being fully committed to the Lord doesn’t mean that you always rely on God. It also doesn’t mean that you never sin.
These are mostly your interpretations of what the text says, not the actual wording of the text. Christians have had at least a millennium to talk about doctrine and what passages might mean or how they might be interpreted. Hence the many schisms, arguments and religious wars in Christendom.
By the way, with number 2, you are contradicting yourself. You say that Christians are justified by faith alone but without works they have false faith so they aren’t justified. Which means they do need works to be justified. You can’t have it both ways.
However, we are diving pretty deep into the contradictions alone (ignoring the errors and immorality of the bible) and that only leads to arguments about semantics, claims that things are taken out of context or that verse so and so is a metaphor and shouldn’t be taken literally. There is not a single line anywhere in the bible that couldn’t have been written by a 1st century person and that fact alone is pretty telling.
Besides, even if there were no errors and contradictions in the bible, that still would not mean it was a factual account or that anything in it actually happened.
I just love the #11 in response to the two different creation accounts. Humans and animals were created. What does that even mean? So let us just ignore the multitude of contradictions between those two “stories?” And state that humans and animals were created? That puts it to rest? What about the plants? Shouldn’t they be included too? And the fungi . . . I find it difficult to see how those responses to the contradictions in the Bible are anything more than pure nonsense. I honestly don’t know how you deal with some of these ridiculous posts without laughing yourself into a coma. Keep up the great work, Joop!
Thanks, mate! Actually, I find there’s little to laugh in a lot of these comments. It makes me sad to see so many people surrender their reason and intellect to ancient superstitions, closing their eyes so they can keep their preferred beliefs intact. Both of those creation accounts in #11 fail because neither of them mention the countless micro organisms who are the paramount life form on this planet and who will be here long after Homo Sapiens is gone.
Beautifully written, and said! I was a believer all my life until my mother fell ill, and asked me to pray to God, and ask him to heal her and make her better. She was diagnosed with Cancer which I don’t believe, and was placed on Hospice. What really happened was she was given tainted blood, at a crappy hospital in Puerto Rico, then placed on Hospice to be finished off. The nurse overdosed her with constant IV injections of 1000ml bags of (Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection USP) for every “100 ml” there is 900mg of sodium. Now imagine a “1000ml” bag, that equals to 900,000mg of (salt). Once on hospice, things started happening one after another, a small tumor she had for years in her stomach, began to grow at an accelerated rate, from the blood transfusion and emf radiation coming out of tye electric position bed, and became the size of a cushion you place on top of your couch, for decoration. She then suddenly became bedridden, with what looked like an HIV rash, and began to lose exessive weight (wasting) then got dry gangrene on one of her smaller toes. This poor 5′ 2″ 77 year old woman, couldn’t get a break, with one new ailment appearing one after another, a person that was happy, healthy, and walking, months before that stupid blood transfusion, and had just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary with my father on September of 2019. Was now a bedridden, sad, and depressed person. I prayed so hard, crying, and begging, for months, to heal my mother, and for God to make her walk again. Everyday, this 50 year old man would jump out of bed to check on her, like some happy 12 year old kid, checking to see if his wish came true. And, “everyday” I’d see that she was the same, or getting worse. She passed away on September 18th, 2021. 16 months after the blood transfusion, with flu like symptims, and shortness of breath, caused by the overdose of salt and edema that the hospice nurse gave her, and 2 days before her “52nd wedding anniversary”. I found her the next morning motionless, with her eyes opened and her blue eyes, looking straight ahead. Traumatized, and disturbed, I screamed, and cried, as this was the first thing I saw when I woke up. I ran to the bureau to get the eyedrops I’d usually put in her eyes when they were dry, and this time, she didn’t blink. I went to my room crying and went to lay down from the overwhelming grief. Not even an hour later, I went to check on her, and she was gone, I asked my father where she was, and he said they took her and put her in a fridge to cremate her in 4 days. I never got to say goodbye, we never got to mourn her, and this wonderful person that I was holding, kissing, and talking to, a few days before, was now gone, and without a body, turned into ashes. I still hear her laughter, and still crying wishing I could have a conversation with her. She still had at least 20 years left in her. Before she was murdered by these bastards. Where was God? To protect her as I prayed for? To heal her as she wanted God to do? Nothing. I completely lost faith right there, and became an athiest.
That’s an incredibly sad story, Carlos. Thank you for sharing that. Allow me to offer you my sincere condolences on such a tragic loss.
Sadly, your own experience isn’t that far from mine. I’ve also had a loved one die, despite many people praying for her, for quite a long time too. Like your mother, this person also only got worse and eventually died. Personally, I find it hard to understand why unanswered prayers aren’t more of a problem for the religious.
That being said, I’m sorry you had to come to atheism through such a tragic experience.
Comments with just a link in them will usually end up in spam, as did this one. I fished it out and approved it anyway.
I’ve seen the video this is linked to and while I think it’s well-spoken, it’s also in somewhat poor taste after Carlos just told us he lost his faith (and why) and he became an atheist. And no matter how well-spoken you are, it doesn’t mean you are speaking truth.
Ok, I fully understand your point, and I get it.. but there’s one thing I’ve noticed. God sometimes allows bad things in our life to happen to us so we can see what sin is really like. If nothing bad ever happened to us and we lived in a world pain free, we would think we never needed God, who loves us and wants to be with us. We would be like ignorant teenagers who think we know everything and think we’re fully independent, but we’re not. God is basically a Father to us, and HATES it when His children die, and He wants to keep this from happening. But it’s not a good idea all the time, because then they will think they can do anything they want to, ask Him for anything, etc. and get it. Sin is a serious thing, and the devil has his ways. Not being disrespectful, not hating on anybody. And, the bright side… if we stay strong, and show Him we can be good followers, He will reward us eternally. Just sharing my beliefs. Have a great day 💕
Hi Lianna, thanks for your comment but I have a few issues with it.
First of all, you say you get the point Carlos makes yet everything you say after that, shows that you haven’t. Your entire argument after that, is sanctimonious, preachy and completely ignorant. You completely ignore the original article (Top 10 reasons God does not exist) and start spouting utter nonsense about the motivations of the god you happen to believe in. The god that Carlos and I used to believe in but don’t any more because the very idea of that god is unbelievable. The god that lacks any proof for its existence even. Do you have any idea how arrogant and hurtful it is to tell someone who has lost a loved one that “God wants us to see what sin is like”?
We live in a world that has pain and suffering in it. Life itself is pain, suffering and overcoming those. We don’t need a god for that and we have never needed a god for that. There is no sin and no devil either. Sin is just an imaginary disease, used to scare us into accepting an equally imaginary cure so that an imaginary god accepts us into an imaginary afterlife. The sooner we repudiate this kind of nonsense, we can face pain, suffering and death as grown-ups.
Have a great day.
Hi, Would request you to provide some clarity on my dilemma…Just wanna discuss…
I am a Hindu by family religion.. Never ever thought much about GOD like a normal Hindu..Some time in 1998 I read that all enlightment happened while the concerned person was in state of starvation ( Buddha, Moses, Mahavira, Mohd & multiple other saints) & scientist proved that during starvation certain nuerons get activated which cause human to feel like seeing God & other associated events.. They proved it thru activating those neurons in Lab, in artificial state of experimentation and all the subjects reported seeing God like figure and were quite estatic.. So in a major way I was a person with thought process of an atheist, However my wife is staunch believer so I always accepted God as neutrally as possible..
However, I lost Job early in Pandemic era and financial situation got quite tough…And as my wife is strong believer on God and horoscope hence she asked for my exact birth time and date and some other information and got a horoscope made.. While I always laughed on that concept stating that thosands must have been born at the same time but have different career and life course, her argument was that its never ” Exact same time & Exact same place, even Twins have variation in Time”
So the Horoscope was made and I was quite startled to see How much it truly reflected my character and my Past despite the horoscope maker (even computerized one) having Zero idea about my past.. It said that you wd live yr childhood far from yr parents and thats exactly happened ( one example).. It said certain thing about my characterstics which on a hindside was clearly very True too. It said about my career path and its obstacles and I have to accept that even that was bordering to near right reflection..
How is it Possible ??? I am caught between my True Being as Atheist But Frieghtened to see the horoscope as something Which can accurately show my past.. Does it mean that It can also predict Furure and IF YES, then How??
Wd suggest you to give me exact date and time and place of your birth.. Will take out your horoscope to check and see if only works for Indian or I was delusional due to recent Hardships..
Thanks & Regards
While not exactly relevant to a post about the existence of god, I’ll answer your query anyway. Firstly though, I’m sorry to hear about your recent struggles due to the pandemic. I hope things will improve for you and your family!
As far as astrology is concerned, I may need to address that in a complete post some time. I can’t address your case entirely because I don’t have all the specifics. I don’t know if your wife gave more details apart from your time and place of birth, for instance. I also don’t know how specific this particular horoscope is and how closely it matches your life and circumstances, so I can’t address that either. What I can do, is give you my opinion about astrology in general.
So, to my opinion on astrology. Are you ready for it? Astrology is bunk. It’s nonsense. Why do I say that? Well, without going into too much detail, I’ll give you a few points to consider.
You can find more in this Wikipedia article. Hopefully this puts your mind at ease a little.
I’ve read your article and all the comments boy, there are a lot!. What you’re saying sounds so logical and plain but still, if there is no God, what’s the point of it all? We are born, we die and that’s just it? I can’t believe in something like that.
I understand that such a position may be challenging to accept. However, your ability or inability to believe in something, has no bearing on the actual existence of something. If I find it impossible to believe that we’ve been to the moon, does that mean the moon landing never happened? If I am entirely convinced about the existence of vampires, does that make vampires real? In both instances, the answer must be “no”. The only thing that matters is what we can show to be demonstrably true.
practice what you preach, you believing the words that you write, yes I said believing, not knowing, does not make them a reality. Argument destroyed.
You dismissing this will not change anything. nor will your acceptance of it. Just your perception of things. a perception which is unique to you and you alone.
James, normally I’d try to be charitable and try to distill a point from your exceedingly poorly worded comment. But it’s been a long day and I am not feeling charitable.
Of course I know the words that I write because I am writing them. I could hardly write words I didn’t know. I believe them too, based on evidence, experience, reason and logic.
It sounds like you’re trying to say “you have belief too so gotcha, haha” or a similar childish response. I would normally explain that the word “belief” is ambiguous and believing in something based on evidence, experience, reason and logic is something else entirely than believing in something on faith but you’d probably not grasp the distinction.
If you want to engage, at least try to formulate something coherent next time.
Hi, I am from different set of religious belief ( Hindu) but definitely same with common logical understanding that God is just figment of our imagination, borne out of our fear and insecurities and our desire to get things miraculously without working for it or hoping to get something which is improbable..
All religious book speaks bout something which happened in past.. In Hindu religious texts, Gods are “Amar” ” Cannot Die”… So where r they Now..
All so called Avatars, like Buddha & Mohd & even Moses and multiple other in Hindu religion attain their enlightenment after prolonged fasting… proven Scientific explanation is that prolonged fasting activate certain neuron cells in mind which gives u feel of seeing light and u hallucinate as u r getting enlightened…. Scientists when activated it artificially in a healthy human being through some kind of electric impulses, All such subject experienced the same feeling of enlightenment.. They all thought that they saw Godly things and rays of light.. So all in all u stay hungry for prolonged period and u become a god incarnation, No matter how many good deeds and sins u had been through in your past.. And with luck, like in past when hardly any science was available, u preach and word of mouth about enlightened soul being in the middle spreads.. And You Are The Next God Incarnation….U preach little nonsense and Die but subsequent generation of eloquent speakers and talented Writers would add so many miracle stories that u wd be baffled to hear them if by any miracle u come back to life and hear bout yourself.. and so ashamed u wd be with such blatant imaginative stories that u wd promptly want to die again 🙂 🙂
God is Us.. Wait for a hundred years and Science would make us God.. There are evolved Aliens who probably are a million years ahead in evolution cycle and they r what we can say God like…
God exist cos we fear of dying.. The day this fear is not there, that day we would be God ourselves.
Thanks a lot for your comment and good to hear from someone with a background of a different belief system. I don’t have a lot to add to what you say, to be honest. You mention that science will make us gods eventually. I think to someone coming from a primitive background such as those alive during the time of Mozes or even Jesus, we would already appear god-like. I am reminded of that famous quote from author Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
We fly through the air, we conjure up images on handheld devices, we speak to people over vast distances, we create explosions, etc. I think these capabilities would be enough to convince people who have no understanding of such technology, that we are gods. And by the same principle, if an alien civilization has surpassed us by a similar margin as we have surpassed the technology of people of Moses’ time, they would appear like gods to us.
I like the point you make about fasting. I will have to look into this research that explains how prolonged fasting can cause what is basically a vivid hallucination. Interesting what that might say about people claiming to have religious or enlightenment experiences. If you have a link, I’d love to see it. If not, I’ll search for it.
You define atheism as a lack of belief in god or gods, as there is no evidence for the existence of god. You also admit you have no proof god doesn’t exist either.
It’s absolutely true that no one knows for sure, but that’s where the problem is for me. I consider myself an agnostic, since that’s the only category I seem to fit into. I’ve tried to make myself believe, but I just can’t. At the same time, because I have no proof the god of the Bible doesn’t exist, that leaves open the possibility (at least in my mind) that maybe he does exist.
I was brought up as a Christian (no surprise here), and it has been so ingrained in me that I can’t just dismiss it. As for other gods and religions, they are nothing more than myths to me.
The only reason I worry about it is because if it is real, then I’m going to hell.
While I’m here, there’s something else about Christianity that really bothers me. According to the Bible, Jesus came to save us from hell, but did a never-ending burning hell even exist before Jesus came along? It seems that it didn’t. So Jesus’ appearance made it possible for a small fraction of humanity to go to heaven, while the majority of people, who otherwise would’ve just ceased to exist after death, would now get to spend eternity in hell.
Thank you for your comment, Elle. I appreciate your feedback.
Yes, that’s right. Atheism is defined as a lack of belief in a god or gods. Personally, I have come to this position because I see no evidence for the existence of god. At least, nothing that I would consider sufficient to support the belief. I fully admit that I don’t have definitive proof of the non-existence of god either.
It’s my opinion that in life, it is smart to proportion our beliefs to the available evidence in relation to the claim being made. For instance, if someone tells me that they got a new pet goldfish, I would be willing to believe that claim without any evidence if I trusted the person. After all, it’s not an outlandish proposition. However, if that same person announced to me they purchased a new pet tiger, I don’t think I’d readily accept that. It’s still technically possible they did but it’s a lot less likely. Going a step further, if they announced that they bought a new pet dragon, I would reject that claim outright even if I trusted the person completely. Unless they could prove that the dragon existed, I would imagine they were making a joke or be the victim of some kind of delusion.
Why the difference? In the first example, we know goldfish exist, we know that many people keep them as pets and they are readily available at the pet store. In other words, there’s a lot of evidence that the claim could be true. In the second example, skepticism is warranted. Of course we know that tigers exist and also, some people do keep them as pets but they’re not for sale at the pet store and even protected in many countries. It’s a dubious claim. Finally, in the last claim, we can safely say that we know that dragons don’t exist. No one has ever seen one, there are no fossils of dragons, they don’t fit anywhere in the known taxonomy. No one keeps dragons as pets on the basis of them being mythical and they are certainly not available in any pet store, legal or otherwise. While we don’t have definitive evidence that dragons do not exist, assuming they exist is not a reasonable position based on the absence of sufficient evidence for their existence.
In the last example, substitute the word god for the word dragon, and you’ll have my position on the existence of gods. I don’t have definitive evidence a god of some kind doesn’t exist but based on the available evidence, the existence of god isn’t a reasonable proposition without at least some good quality evidence in its favor.
The position you describe, is actually the same as mine: I am an agnostic atheist. That means I lack belief in a god (just like you) but I am willing to be persuaded if the existence could be made at least reasonably plausible (again, just like you). I describe this in greater detail here.
You’re not the first person to tell me about this. Many former Christians or even people who never had any faith at all, are still worried about going to hell. The concepts of hell and sin are a religious control mechanism. Christianity first invents the disease (sin), tries to sell you the cure (Jesus) and if you don’t take your medicine, certain death and an eternity of torture await you. It’s as immoral as it is ridiculous. Eternal torture as punishment for a temporary crime is a disgusting thing to scare people with. Fortunately, there is even less reason to assume hell is real than there is for a god.
In the Old Testament, so before Jesus, the concept of a hell doesn’t really exist. There is mention of Sheol but as far as I understand it, that’s simply the world of the (wicked) dead. There doesn’t seem to be torture by fire or eternal roasting though. So in that sense, yes I think you are right. Only with the appearance of Christianity do we see the famous depictions of hell emerging. What the condemnation to eternal torture means for the idea of a loving god, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.
I hope I’ve been able to ease your mind a little and also helped to clarify some things for you. Let me know if you need more!
Thank you so much for your reply. I enjoyed reading your articles and all of your comments. I’m a work in progress, but you have helped ease my mind some and have indeed helped me see some things more clearly.
You’re very welcome! Thank you for letting me know.
I want to debate against this, since a lot of your premises are false. I promise that I will listen to you with an open mind, so I’ll ask you this: Would you like to engage in a debate with me and listen with an open mind? If you don’t want to, it would be a waste of time to debate, so I won’t.
First of all, I have no idea who you are or what your background is. Secondly, I have no idea what form this debate should take. Are we talking here on the blog, email, chat, podcast, is there an audience, etc? Thirdly, your statement that a lot of my premises are false, is to me just that: a statement. If you’d present your position and I’d find your position compelling and it hadn’t been addressed here on the blog or in the comments yet, that might be reason for me to consider engaging in some form of debate.
As it stands though, I have no incentive to engage because you’ve not presented me with something I can engage with.
Dang, you actually replied. I wanted to see if you are willing to listen, since you only have a surface-level idea of what the theology is. I didn’t provide any details since I expected you to ignore this, but this platform is fine with me.
Before we can talk about the existence of God and his character, we have to agree on the existence of a deity. You are correct; we don’t really know whether a deity exists or not. However, what we do know is that a deity existing has a higher probability than not existing: https://youtu.be/aT-Rdplb9A4
Here’s the full talk:
Sure, I replied. I was curious to see what your argument is. So I only have a surface-level understanding of what the theology is? Well, that’s certainly rich from someone who comes to present the old fine-tuning argument. To give you an understanding of how I see theology, I like to refer to the definition given by Sam Harris: “Theology is ignorance with wings.”
With you so far…
Despite all the assertions of J. Warner Wallace to the contrary, no. We don’t “know” anything of the kind. He’s basically presenting a teleological argument for a god, also known as the argument from design. He presents the analogy of a crime scene investigation which I find unconvincing. The examples he gives, show signs of deliberate action by an intelligence. But the examples he gives aren’t highly improbable. We know humans exist and that they sometimes murder other humans, we know humans can manipulate objects and circumstances, we know humans can make plans, etc. However, as you’ve already conceded, we know nothing about gods, not even if they exist or not. So, assuming that a human caused the death of another human is not improbable at all. Assuming that a designer is responsible for designing our universe, is. We have no examples of designers designing universes in nature.
My main objection to proposing a god as the explanation for the supposed fine-tuning of the universe, is that the introduction of that god doesn’t really explain anything. All it does, is move the goalpost back one step and introduce a whole new layer of complexity which needs to be addressed. If the proposed god is responsible for the fine-tuning or design of the universe, we have to find out where this god comes from. What is its nature? How is it able to do the things we assume it did? What forces are at work? Where did it get all the matter/energy for the universe from? What is its motive? This god doesn’t have any explanatory power, it just raises more questions.
So that’s J. Warner Wallace’s argument. But you said you wanted to debate me. What is your argument?
My argument is that it is highly improbable, to the point where it’s almost impossible, for atoms to somehow create such a delicate and complex universe based on random chance. A big explosion, like the Big Bang theory cannot create the sun and the planets with such detail, since explosions are what scatters things everywhere. Earth is delicate; just 5% closer or farther away from the sun can make all the difference for life on Earth. Tampering with food chains just a little can affect the environment of the whole planet. There are many other examples that I can’t list here. The point is that there has to be a supernatural being who controls the creation of the universe from the beginning, because none of it could exist from random chance. How does a deity exist from nothing? It doesn’t. If it exists outside of time, space, and the universe as a whole, it was just there, and it will always be there. It was the beginning of everything.
Thank you for presenting your argument. Okay, I am familiar with this type of reasoning. So let’s unpack the statement you start out with. There’s a great deal to address here and I won’t go into every minor detail but I’ll briefly explain why this is a bad argument for a deity.
To begin with, it’s a false dichotomy to say that either the universe and everything in it came about by random chance or by the actions of a deity. You’ve eliminated any other possible explanations without giving a reason for that. There may be a completely natural explanation for the existence of the universe. Also, processes like evolution from natural selection don’t operate on random chance. In addition, the Big Bang wasn’t an explosion.
Secondly, in a complex universe, highly improbable, seemingly impossible events happen every second. For instance, if you count up all the events that culminate in me sitting in this chair, typing this sentence at this very moment, you’d arrive at odds that are so infinitesimal that it would seem highly improbable or even impossible. Yet here I am, typing this sentence. You’re arbitrarily assigning significance to improbable phenomena that suit your argument but you ignore all the other highly improbable phenomena.
Thirdly, and as I touched upon in my previous comment, if you introduce a god to explain the complexity of our universe, you’re creating an even more complicated situation whilst explaining nothing. In your argument, a god that created this complex, improbable universe would logically need to be even more complex and therefore even more improbable than its creation. So where did this even more complex, more improbable deity come from? If the answer to that is (as you seem to hint at) that the deity simply exists, you’re committing a special pleading fallacy: you’re implying that highly improbable phenomena require an intelligent designer yet you make an unsubstantiated exception for the designer itself.
Fourth, your statement is in essence an argument from personal incredulity: “I can’t believe the universe could arise naturally/from random chance, therefore god.” That’s a non sequitur, meaning your conclusion doesn’t follow naturally from its premise.
Really? Why not? Also, you’re contradicting your opening statement here.
Wrapping up, your argument is flawed and in your very first sentence you concede that random chance may be a sufficient explanation anyway:
If it’s almost impossible, it’s not actually impossible, is it? So if this is your best argument for the existence of a god, I’d say we’re done here.
God has talked to me that’s all the proof I need.
That might be enough for you. Just remember that all throughout history, people have claimed all kinds of gods, angels, demons and spirits spoke to them. People claim past life experiences. People claim to have been abducted by aliens. People claim to be able to predict the future, to move objects with the power of their mind. People claim to have seen ghosts, fairies, vampires, etc.
Can you tell me what all those things have in common?
I’ve also run across people who have said God has talked to them. My typical question is: what did God say to you, and how did God talk to you. Most just don’t answer my question at all, and the few who have replied, they beat around the bush and really don’t directly answer what I asked – pretty simple question – what did God say to you, and how did God converse with you?
I think once though, someone told me God came to them in dreams. I replied with, seriously? You expect me or anyone to believe that God talks to you in your dreams? How do you know a dream that God is talking to you in versus one that is just a dream? Can’t God do better than that? Can’t God at least whisper in your ear? You can imagine how that conversation ended – I’m an unbeliever, so I wouldn’t understand anything about God talking to him in his dreams. I’m evil. I’m the antichrist, seriously. At that point – end of discussion.
And often I have probed even further, especially with those that haven’t answered my first question: How do you know it wasn’t Satan talking to you under the guise of being God? How do you know that Satan isn’t deceiving you into believing he is God? Do you think you could recognize Satan in a crowd? Satan is the master of deceit – he/she would never be able to achieve his/her goals if Satan came to you with a flashing read light on his/her forehead – “It’s me, Satan!”
And the usual response is – “I know it isn’t Satan,” without any evidence to back it up.
So I would reply something like this – how do you know that God hasn’t talked to me, that God talks to me all the time? God tells me that he is tired of the fools that he created that blindly follow him without any evidence at all. He often tells me, “I wonder why I gave humans brains because so many of them never seem to use them.” And God tells me, “if these people think they are ever going to see Heaven, they are going to be in for a big surprise. I made humans to be creative, think on their own, make sound judgements – but it seems I seriously overestimated their abilities. If I wanted zombies, I would have created zombies.”
And some common responses to the above are: “God doesn’t talk to you, God would never talk to you, God would never say such things, God would never talk to someone evil like you . . .” with of course, as always, no evidence again to back up their statements.
And my final reply is (and I know it is going to be my final reply in the discussion because by that time I am completely fed up with their irrational statements) –
– “You say God doesn’t talk to me, well prove it.”
The usual response to that – dead silence.
I wonder why.
Yes, I’ve had similar experiences! The question of “how do you know it’s not Satan deceiving you”, seems to be really unsettling for some people. Almost like that thought never crossed their mind. They always just assume it’s god. I’ve even been accused of being Satan for suggesting that. 😉
Ok,imma say it ” Jesus sound like Santa aka st Nicholas. He was a person but doesn’t mean he a god and st Nicholas was born near the Mediterranean sea and that kinda close to Egypt so piece it together and who know Jesus might just be Santa😗 and like they maybe born around the same time??
Also it my opinion Please don’t roast me
Also I agree with you joop 😊
But I believe in KIRA …don’t roast me….yea basically he was a Person who met a shinagmi because the death god was bored and he gave his power to light because he was bored and that another way I see it maybe God was bored and yea he has a good sense of justice (KIRA)and reduced crime rates by 70% and almost became the god of the new world,even tho he died I still believe what he did was right. But if you come after me(not joop) at least he didn’t kill billions of people but when after the people who like did bad stuff and yea I believe in KIRA …….I got this from a show called DEATH NOTE…..yeah…here have a flower🌻
Yeah, I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not there, Bailey.
Finally, someone who uses logic and common sense! I am gathering facts for a paper to try and explain to my family why I just can’t blindly serve a God who has no proof of existence. And it’s not that I DON’T want God to exist, it’s just the fact that there is no proof!! Thank you for this information. It is very helpful!
That’s the problem with common sense: it’s actually not that common. 😉
I’m happy to read that you find this article useful and I appreciate you letting me know. Good luck talking to your family!
[…] Link to article: https://www.beris.nl/top-10-reasons-god-does-not-exist/ […]
You have some excellent points here, from an impressive point of reason and logic. You will not be persuaded to become a Christian in a million years, but here is a simple way I look at it: imagine yourself, living forever and creating infinite worlds with infinite time, except time doesn’t exist so you do it all simultaneously. Eventually, you get bored and create earth and heaven, and you allow people to do whatever they want while you watch them. You place a few temptations in the mix (because why not,) but then you begin to love them so much that you want them to have eternal life, but only if they chose to love one another and their neighbor as themselves, maybe to increase the quality of life, I don’t know. Those who don’t chose rightly are sent to a place, just a place, to exist for eternity that is not quite heaven. Because of the nature of people here, imagine Hitlers and Satan himself, they turn it into a literal hellhole of misery, so people react similarly. Why didn’t he just make it a space they couldn’t alter? Great question, and neither of us can answer it.
It also makes sense that God uses the Butterfly affect to a great advantage. Imagine that, in a very simple analogical form, because you wrote this article an atheist was formed, that atheist later found God and now has an excellent story of his or her conversion, and three people are saved. The complexity of His ways are beyond us, but we can get a glimpse of it if we think a step up above the logic of atheism. I would be an atheist if I had not been personally shown God doing impossible things, such as healing my grandmother’s terminal cancer with only prayer (the very thing you called impossible.) Me and you are somewhat alike in that we are see-it-to-believe-it, except I have seen enough to know that I don’t have to in order for it to be true. This leads me to my final argument against atheism: Do you really believe that everything there is can be measured by instruments of your invention or the logic of your own infinitesimally small mind compared to something greater? I have seen, heard, and believed, and while you may not be as fortunate as I have, you will be if you only open your eyes. If there is a God, one who decides your fate for eternity, ETERNITY, then I wouldn’t think it would hurt to maybe believe in him, or at least some God. That is your choice though, but you will live with it forever.
Thanks for your comment. I have a few objections, though.
Thank you, but I sense a “but” coming…
Well, that’s the problem right there, isn’t it? We can imagine anything we want. That’s why we have so many gods, so many creation stories, etc. What we imagine has little bearing on what’s actually true.
Except that’s not the way to get eternal life according to Christian beliefs, is it? Because if that was the way, it wouldn’t matter if you believe in a god or not. You could just be a good person and that would be enough. But no, we have to believe in god, accept Jesus as our savior or we face eternal damnation. Whether you are a good person doesn’t matter, only if you believe. If we believe, all sins can be forgiven. So on that criterion, even Hitler could go to heaven if only he believed.
No, the Butterfly effect is an element of chaos theory, a branch of mathematics that deals with the question of how slight variations in conditions greatly affect outcomes in complex systems. It has nothing to do with a god, it’s pure mathematics.
Again, we can imagine all we want. It’s not relevant to anything that’s real.
There is no “logic of atheism”. There’s only logic. And logic works in all areas where we care to use it (with the possible exception of quantum physics). Religious people simply don’t like what logic says about beliefs. Logic is to religion what kryptonite is to Superman.
First of all, let me say that I’m happy to hear your grandmother survived cancer. However, we know that cancer sometimes goes into remission. How do you know that a god had anything to do with it? You can choose to believe that, of course. But how do you know? Also, if you claim that a god cured your grandmother, what about all the other people with cancer who get prayed for, yet they die? If you credit god for the survivors, that means that god is also responsible for all those who don’t survive but die in sometimes sheer agony.
Let me put it this way: wherever we have pointed our instruments and where we have used our minds to follow the available facts and evidence to where they lead, rather than presuppose an answer, we have found better answers than the ones coming from religion. Does that mean we can measure everything? Perhaps not. But everywhere we have measured, we have found that even complex and puzzling problems have naturalistic answers and no supernatural answers. You’re basically making an argument from incredulity here.
You make it sounds as if believing is a choice, but it isn’t. You can not choose to believe something, you either become convinced or you do not become convinced. What matters is if you have sufficient facts to support your conclusion. I am entirely unconvinced of the arguments for a god, so I can not believe in it, even if I wanted to. I have tried.
You’re basically arguing Pascal’s wager here, where it’s safer to live as if a god exists, just in case there is a god. But how would I know which of the many thousands of possible gods to bet on? That’s assuming that a god-like being would be fooled by someone pretending to believe at all. Choosing to believe something (if that were possible) because that belief possibly had a beneficial outcome, says nothing about the reality of the belief. I could choose to believe I will win the lottery tomorrow on the chance that I might.
Like your responses. I am in agreement with them. Funny that he says “Do you really believe that everything there is can be measured by instruments of your invention or the logic of your own infinitesimally small mind compared to something greater?”
I can come back with, “Do you really believe that your own infinitesimally small mind can understand God?” Humans have made scores of statements about God, written books about what God is, what God thinks, what God does, etc, but seriously, the creator of the universe and all – and some puny mortal human thinks they have even the slightest chance of understanding such a being, let alone discussing God (and God’s thoughts, plans, etc) with any semblance of certainty? I suppose that might be my “final” argument against theism.
The counter could be – we understand God from what the bible says, but as we both know, if one actually reads the bible – I mean, really reads it – not just look at some passages here and there, the book is so full of inconsistencies, contradictions, paradoxes, passages that can only be understood through interpretation and guesses – why would God inspire a book that has sections that cannot be clearly understood by the people he claims to have created – seems self-defeating, doesn’t it?
So this counter clearly falls flat, not to mention there are scores of different versions of the bible – so how can anyone even determine which is the right bible to use?
Through the bible, God didn’t create order – it is just the opposite – confusion and chaos, but then, God does work in “mysterious ways,” right? More like, incomprehensible ways.
Then the prayer thing – you answered it aptly. Once an amputee prays to god and their limbs regrow, then perhaps I would consider prayer has value. I think I mentioned this previously – those jumping or falling from the World Trade Center towers – many had to be praying to god to save them – but in not even one case did any of those people survive. If there was any time for god to perform some miracles to save thousands of innocent people – that might have been the time to give a “yes” answer to some prayers. Nope. Didn’t happen
On the other hand (just one of millions of possible examples), I suppose Ted Bundy did have his prayers answered because that heinous murderer was able to jump from a police station 2nd floor window without getting any broken bones, just to be captured again a number of days later, and apparently while in custody prayed to escape a second time, which he did – and because of that, several more innocent women were ultimately murdered by him. Thanks, god. Good job there. Help the monster but don’t help some precious young women from meeting a horrible demise at the hands of the monster. Prayer – blech.
And with that, as the sarcasm begins to scream now, I will close. Thanks, Joop! Your posts are always excellent and thought-provoking. Jim
As always, thank you for your comment and words of praise!
Your points are good and fair, in my opinion. It’s always people who tell us what they think their god wants. But if there was an omnipotent being, it would be trivial for such a being to make its wishes known to all of humanity in a clear, unambiguous way. Imagine the amount of bloodshed that could have been prevented if there was one single and unambiguous revelation from a divine being. Instead we see differing texts, from (supposedly) different gods, with endless quibbles about interpretation this way or that. That’s a very strong argument against a single, divine and loving creator. To me anyway.
Times of great distress or upheaval would be excellent ways for a divine being to reveal itself. There are countless prayers said every day, for food, for safety, for survival, for health, etc. The majority of those don’t seem to make any difference. Just like the people in the World Trade Center buildings, the passengers in the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers must have said prayers too. How many? We’ll never know. At the same time the hijackers were also praying to essentially the same deity and they got what they wanted. Except in one plane that didn’t make it to its destination and that’s because the crew and passengers acted. Knowing that they would probably not survive, they attempted to wrest control over United Airlines Flight 93 from the hijackers. Their heroic actions prevented further casualties that day. Prayer had nothing to do with that.
That’s how we get weak excuses like “God helps those who help themselves”. It’s not prayer that works, it’s human effort. And yes, sometimes people pray for something and it does happen, even highly improbable things or things that aren’t readily explained. The answer in those cases shouldn’t be “god did it” but simply “we’re not sure”. Unless you have evidence that is positively indicative of and exclusively concordant with divine intervention. That, to my knowledge, has never yet been the case.
Hello again Joop.
I must say I find a challenge amusing, and I thank you for that. I am not here to make you a Christian, simply change your viewpoint of Christians as buffoons who believe whatever they want to because their mind is too small to comprehend actual reasoning that is clearly correct. First of all, you say I have no proof of God aside from mere coincidences of life and fortune, most basically. Well, you are looking at it. No, don’t scroll up, or read the words, just look around at matter. Did it spontaneously appear from the Big Bang? The first thing in our universe defies one of the most well-known laws, The Law of Conservation of Mass. Unless you of course believe the discoveries that matter can form in vacuums, but even then there is no perfect vacuum. Now I shall not go on to say that all physics is wrong, but the very first thing in the universe goes against man’s logic, and while correct logic may never be wrong our perception of it may be (yes, I know logic is what we perceive it as, but you get the point.) We have also seen time and time again, although not necessarily with 100% accuracy, that the simplest answer is usually the correct one. You will find an equation for this or that, but there will still be a hole somewhere in it, which you make another equation for and so on. Maybe old models of geocentrism (this is only an inaccurate example) would have worked, but they were not simple and thus incorrect. Logic finds holes in both atheism and religion, which both of us are eager to cover up with theories, facts, and philosophies. Do you know black holes exist? It makes sense, so you believe it, God makes sense, because I have been proven it over and over and over every time I doubted, which leads me to the next thing you will want to oppose: if God is willing to save me, why won’t he try harder to save you? Again, the simplest answer, for which there are a multitude of more complex answers, is that his ways are beyond either of us. Among the reasons is the Butterfly effect, which I thought was a bit confusing that you negated as a purely mathematical, as if God does not know or utilize complex relationships. Lastly, I shall patch up some holes you found in my last presentation. The first of these is perhaps my use of “imagine” to describe why God did what he did. I say this because it seems the most likely of reasons, but whatever reasons, it lead to this outcome. Another flaw was my idea that God made us love our neighbor as ourselves as the way to heaven, which is half true, but in order to fully do that one must come to him for knowledge as to how, which is only through Christianity. You jumped at this opportunity, albeit deliberately obtusely as to prove your point, and I know you are smart enough to see the basic idea beyond every facet you test to be faulty. I am sincerely grateful for your viewpoint as it gives me more respect for your beliefs, a respect I hope is returned in part to others who civilly agree to disagree. I would be glad to listen to your continuation of the debate, with points I will deeply consider, but we both know neither of us is going to budge in the end, so I shall decline from further written response. Have a lovely day and God bless you!
Hi again Streamer,
Thanks for leaving a comment. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
Except you’ve not taken up the challenge, you’ve ignored it. I asked you specific questions such as: how do you know a god had anything to do with your grandmother recovering from cancer? Or how do I choose which god to worship among the many thousands available? You’ve chosen not to answer those questions.
I never said that Christians were buffoons or even implied that, so you’ve apparently wasted your time. I know there are intelligent believers. Someone who is a theist is not by definition stupid and atheists can be buffoons. However, when someone is a theist and wishes to remain a theist, they can not examine evidence honestly or use logic when it pertains to their beliefs. Doing so would force a choice: either remain theist and ignore or rationalize evidence away, or follow them to the logical conclusion and thus see their beliefs for what they are: merely beliefs which are not supported by sufficient evidence.
Matter exists, therefor God? That is a non sequitur if I’ve ever seen one. Also, which god? I know you’d like it to be the Christian god but there’s nothing to indicate that it was your god, is there? Why not Zeus? Ra? Quetzalcoatl? In fact, there’s nothing to indicate a god at all. This is either an argument from ignorance (we don’t know where matter came from so a god must have poofed it into existence by magic) or an argument from personal incredulity (I can’t believe all of this came into existence by natural processes, a god must have poofed it into existence by magic). Saying a god did it, doesn’t solve anything, it only makes matters worse. We still need to explain how such a god would have made matter and now we also have to explain where this god comes from. So instead of one problem, we have two. The concept of god has no explanatory power.
The Law of Conservation of Mass works for closed systems and classical mechanics. We don’t know if the universe is an open system or a closed system or an isolated system. And even if it were, the Law of Conservation of Mass doesn’t work the same when it comes to quantum mechanics or highly energetic systems, both of which would be applicable to the Big Bang.
Good, because that would be the end of this conversation.
All other things being equal, yes, that is correct. The introduction of a god that poofs things into existence by magic (something which defies all natural laws) makes matters massively more complicated. So that neatly rules out a god as a workable hypothesis or explanation.
No, logic finds holes in religion. There can be no holes in atheism because it is only a single tenet: I don’t believe god(s) exists. Someone not being convinced of something is not illogical, unless you can demonstrate that the position is clearly illogical. So far, that’s never been done and you’re not doing it now. You are simply asserting things.
That is the simplest answer for you? Again, which god? Yours? Why is yours real and none of the others are? Why would anyone need saving? You haven’t even demonstrated a god exists yet, let alone your god and now you are making assumptions about how it thinks and acts.
First demonstrate your god exists, then maybe we can see if it even understands mathematics.
Why? Demonstrate that a) a god exists, b) that it is the god you believe in c) a heaven exists, d) that Christianity is the only way to gain knowledge of god and e) that knowledge will allow you access to a blissful afterlife.
No, I wanted you to present more than just assertions and arguments that do not work. I wanted you and people who are reading this to think. Don’t make empty assertions, provide compelling reasons and arguments.
That’s where you are wrong. I will budge, given sufficient evidence and arguments that show that my position is erroneous or somehow flawed. If I am presented with evidence that contradicts my position, I will be forced to change my mind and will change my mind. Can you say the same?
Have a good day and may The Force be with you!
Just wanted to add that Hitler was indeed a staunch christian so one must assume god has taken Hitler to heaven!
Hey Joop. I have a few questions for you. According to the Bible, God is good, while Satan is bad. It is known according to the Bible that Satan´s mission is. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?¨— Genesis 3:1 (NIV). Here it is shown in the text of the Bible, that the enemy is clever and deceiving. Sin was not created by God but instead it was the opposite. It was created by the devil. The devil was an angel named Lucifer, and defied God, because wanted to be like Him. He thought he could be better than God. That is when sin first came about. He then became Satan, and the many other angels that agreed with him became demons. Ever since that point in time which was in between the first two verses of the Bible. The first verse in the Bible states that ¨God created the heaven and the earth¨. The second verse states, And the earth was without form and void¨. Try to pretend the Bible is 100% true in your eyes. In-between those two verses would have been when the devil defied God. Right? This means that Sin was created not by God, but by the enemy and that God allows even His angels to have free will. He does not force anyone to love Him. Instead He allows us to choose Him, or choose Satan. He even gives us this option before we die, ensuring that nobody unjustly goes to hell. Going back to what I said about Satan. Since he is all hate and God is all love. Satan wants people in hell, God does not. Satan wants people deceived. He chose to turn from God which resulted in him and the many other demons to be sent to hell. He hates the idea of people living in heaven for eternity. That is where he wish he could return, but he cannot, because he chose to defy God. Since he has tons of bitterness and hatred towards God. He wants everyone that he can to live with him for eternity. That is why he deceives people, he makes people believe that the bad things that happen are because of God. But there are really because of him, and because of us. The first humans chose to sin against God and eat from the one tree that God told them not to eat from. Causing the world to become good and evil. That is in the bible. So now, time for my questions. If the bible is true, and the devil is bad. Don´t you think he would want to trick people and make them believe that God is bad? Yes, and this is what he does. Don´t you think that he would want to attack Christianity, since it is the truth, rather than any other religion? Yes, as a matter of fact he is the influence for those religions, because he wants people to choose him. Finally my last question. If Other religions could be true, then why would your entire article be an argument against Christianity? Why would you make arguments to try to prove the God of Abraham and Isaac to be non existent. Then even say something supporting other religions like, Why can´t their god´s be the true god? The only possible reason for this is that Christianity is the truth. The devil wants to trick and persuade people into believing that God is not real, or make people believe that he is real, but he is evil. Why do you think people use Jesus´s name as a swear word, and not Buddhas or Confucius’s. The reason is simply because the devil hates God, and his number one plan is to get in the way of God´s plan. Some people ask: ¨If God is perfect, Why would he allow mankind to fall?¨. Or like you say, why would God create Sin. He didn’t. as I said previously in this message, The devil chose to defy God. God did not mean for that to happen. But he is so loving that he does not force his love onto anyone, He gives everyone including the angels the option to choose him. I am not trying to persuade you into believing in God. But I am asking you to think about what I have said. And try to imagine that, if the enemy only wants to deceive people and steer them away from God. Why would so many different things point towards this fact. Lets face it. If other religions like Buddhism or Islam were true. Don´t you think your article would have been written to argue against them than Christianity. Because I know it would have been, but the reason it was not is because the enemy’s goal is to turn peoples minds anywhere except for towards the one true God, because He is the only way to heaven. Any other way leads to hell. This is the truth, and Jesus´s perfect blood is what paid what we could not. It is a free gift my friend. All it takes is for you to believe in God, know that you are a sinner, and ask him to change your life. If you give God this chance, as I have. He will do way more than you could ever think of or ask for. But that is why it is by faith and not by sight. Even though you can´t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. That is the same with God. All I ask is that you think about everything I have said. And let me know what you think. Have a good rest of your day Jeep. I have faith that your eyes will see God in a different way than ever before. And I know that God loves you. The bad things that take place in our life do not happen because of God, but because of the enemy. And even though it may feel the opposite. God is always with you and He is the reason for all the good in your life. His patience for us is never ending. He wants you, but he will not force you to want him. Once again, have a good rest of your day.
Thanks for the reply. That’s a wall of text you produced there! Next time, try hitting the enter key every now and then please. I’ll try and tackle your points below.
Why should I care what the bible has to say about anything? There is very little “known according to the bible” because the bible is pretty much wrong about every testable claim that it contains. It’s a book full of stories written by people who knew a lot less about the world than even schoolchildren know today.
Wait, first you say that it is known according to the bible and now you say it’s between verse 1 and 2 of the Book of Genesis? Doesn’t that mean it’s not actually in the bible?
Which the omnipotent and all-knowing god placed in the garden of Eden anyway, knowing full well what would happen if he did. Because he’s all-knowing, right?
Oh good, I thought there weren’t going to be any anymore.
Hey, wait a second. You said you had questions for me. Instead, you’re answering your own question. Are you actually interested in my opinion on this or are you looking for a podium to preach?
That’s a pretty big if, especially considering all the points where we know the bible got things wrong. Besides, I don’t think that your god needs the devil to make him look bad. He does a perfectly good job of that by himself. People a little wicked? Let’s drown the lot. People building a tower? Let’s confuse their speech so they can’t cooperate. Pharaoh wants to let the Jews go? Better harden his heart so I can ruin Egypt and kill thousands of people. And you think Satan is the bad guy here? Really? How many people does Satan kill again?
Really? How do you know? Because the other religions claim that you’re wrong. So how do we find out who got it right? You can’t all be right…but you could all be wrong.
If you had bothered to read a bit more instead of preach, you’d have seen that I begin the article by saying: “I think it is beyond any reasonable doubt that the God of the Bible (or Torah and Koran for that matter) doesn’t exist.” Because that god is actually the same god. It’s simply that I am most familiar with Christianity, so that’s what I’m addressing primarily. But to make it clear for you: I don’t think any of the other gods people have invented are real either. They’re all equally imaginary.
Wrong. See my comment just above.
He doesn’t because the devil isn’t real either. He’s just as made up as god.
Nope. As I explained above.
It’s not free and it’s not a gift. It’s not free because it comes at the price of your reasoning faculties, your self-respect and your freedom to live standing on your own two feet instead of leaning on religion like a crutch or grovelling on your knees because you are supposedly never good enough for god and you continually need his forgiveness and grace. Sin is a meaningless concept to the non-religious. You can’t break the law of a non-existent god. Free your mind of these self-imposed shackles. It’s also not a gift, more like an offer you refuse at your own peril. Kind of like in The Godfather.
Besides, I was a Christian and god did precisely nothing. But that’s not surprising for a non-existent entity.
I did. I considered everything very carefully and concluded that there’s no truth to any of it.
Is there anything you can’t believe on faith? You don’t know that god loves me, you pretend to know that god loves me. If god really loves me, he can come here and tell me so himself.
So let me ask you a question: how do you know the bible wasn’t written by Satan to cause confusion among people, making them fight over who got the right interpretation?
The reason why we believe in gods, is that we are scared of dying. We need some place to go and exist forever. That has existed since the beginning of time.
That may very well be the case, Peter.
This thread is so cool and interesting!
If the Biblical God was Holy and sin cannot exist in his presence, then logically the Biblical God is either not Holy or that God is man-made to ensure the evil we do is considered sin. The Bible says God created everything, so therefore he would have had to create sin or at least a concept of sin and sin is against His nature as a Holy God. He hates sin you know, so how could he have allow it. You cannot create a sinful race of people without first creating the concept of sin which logically would be against his own Holiness nature. How could the concept of sin have ever crossed his mind if He was so holy and perfect? As creator, God would have to be responsible for sin and not man. Is not the Biblical God in full control of everything? Can a Creator truly blame the creation for his design of sin or was it a design flaw? A flaw is not possible with a perfect God, right?
Now, as Joop said, we can believe anything we like. I still believe in a god based on what I see as a magnificent universe that appears to have design, but certainly not the Biblical god whose very nature seem to reflect madness not love. Can I truly say for sure a god exists? No, I cannot, I only hope a trustworthy, just and loving god somehow exists in the background of this crazy and unpredictable life. Shaky at best, I know, but still I hope and always will hope. Thanks for your discussions.
Hey Peter, thanks for your comment.
Basically, you’re describing the Problem of Evil. How do you reconcile the existence of sin, evil and suffering if there’s an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient god? To my knowledge, no apologist has ever formulated a satisfactory answer to this problem. They either point at free will, saying that humans must have it and therefor can choose to do evil or they offer that god uses evil in ways we do not understand. Neither addresses the problem completely. Even if god wants us to have free will, there’s no reason for him to allow natural disasters, disease or famine. Those cause a lot of death and suffering and doing away with them would not affect our free will in the least.
Saying that god uses evil in ways we do not understand, is basically playing the “god works in mysterious ways” card, which is the apologist equivalent of Monopoly’s “get out of jail free” card. It doesn’t explain anything.
Some apologists say that the way out of evil is the forgiveness for sin through Jesus. This ignores the occurrence of natural disasters, disease and famine again. Also it completely ignores and which you correctly observe that god is still to blame for the concept of sin to exist in the first place. Not to mention that god supposedly allowed the fall from grace to happen (as if an omniscient being wouldn’t know what that serpent was up to) so you would be correct in assuming the whole thing must have been a setup to begin with. God wanted the fall to happen or at least did nothing while it happened. So he’s still to blame. Those poor omniscient and omnipotent beings, they can’t catch a break, can they? 🙂
Glad you brought up the “evil” & god issues. Agree with you completely on your analysis. The omniscient God of the Bible and evil seem entirely contradictory. The way I view it is either god is Evil or god is not omniscient. I don’t see it being any other way. Does that make sense? Your thoughts on this? Thanks.
There are, in my opinion, a couple of possible answers. There is the answer that god is evil or that god is not omniscient (or both, of course). You could also conclude that god is simply indifferent at times, being away and then returns to his “project” to meddle with affairs.
The theory that I find the most plausible is that the Christian god grew over time, his capabilities enhanced and embellished as happens with myths. You still see this in the old testament, where Yahweh seems much more limited in his potential. He is apparently unaware that the serpent tempts Adam and Eve in the garden, is unaware what Adam and Eve are up to and becomes angry when he eventually finds out. Clearly, he wasn’t omniscient and omnipresent in the story. Similarly, he is apparently unable to defeat enemies with iron chariots. There is also the strange admonition to the Israelites not to worship other gods. Why bother, if you’re the only one?
Yahweh also seems quite incompetent. In the entire old testament, everything goes wrong for god. Things never turn out the way he wants, so he continually has to punish people for not doing what he wants. Why become angry when an omniscient being would have known all of these events beforehand and would have had an eternity preparing for disappointment? The flood myth is just god’s way of “rage-quitting”, like a teenager throwing away the controller when he/she loses at Call of Duty. Those aren’t the actions of a loving, omnipotent being but of a petty, unjust being of limited power and limited empathy.
This is understandable when you look at the history of the Yahweh character. Yahweh was initially a Bronze Age war god, one among others such as El and Baal. Over time this figure gained prominence in the minds of the people who worshiped him until there was only one god and the first monotheism was born. But the old stories weren’t updated to reflect this “power grab” by Yahweh so we still find elements of an older polytheism in them.
By the time Christianity comes along, there’s only one god and his abilities are now so embellished and expanded that the Christian god becomes a logical impossibility.
Can you also explain this?
All of our best scientific evidence, from the expansion of the universe to the second law of thermodynamics, tells us that the universe had an absolutely beginning a finite time ago. According to modern science, roughly 13.4 billion years ago all of space-time reality popped into existence in a single instant.
According to Stephen Hawking, “almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big bang” (1). Physics professor and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University Alexander Vilenkin explains that scientists
“CAN NO LONGER HIDE BEHIND A PAST-ETERNAL UNIVERSE. THERE IS NO ESCAPE, THEY HAVE TO FACE THE PROBLEM OF A COSMIC BEGINNING” (2).
This is uncontroversial and can be found in any textbook on cosmology and astronomy.
The “Big Bang”, while typically thought to be an objection to Theism, is actually the best argument we have for the existence of God. If the universe (space itself, time itself, matter, and energy) had an absolute beginning, what caused the universe itself to come into being? What made the Big Bang go “BANG” in the first place?
Whatever caused space to come into being couldn’t have already been operating from within space, and whatever caused matter to come into being must be immaterial. This is quite obvious, seeing as there would be no space-time reality to operate within if the universe did not exist. And there would be no matter from which the cause could have been made, since matter did not exist. This means the cause must be “transcendent“, outside of the universe.
All multiverse theories fail to escape an absolute beginning, for the multiverses themselves must also have a beginning as it an established scientific fact that any universe that is expanding must have had a moment of initial singularity, a beginning. The multiverses themselves would also need a transcendent explanation as their cause as they cannot be extrapolated into infinity past.
So what caused everything to happen in the first place?
The argument goes as follows:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. If the universe began to exist, the universe has a transcendent cause.
3. The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore the universe has a transcendent cause.
If these three premises are true, the conclusion is unavoidable. These premises are, at the very least, more probably true than not, giving us an extremely good reason to believe in a transcendent cause of the universe.
This cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial powerful, eternal and uncaused (since it is outside of time). This cause also must be a personal agent, which we will look at in future articles. These are properties normally attributed to God. Here is a video explaining this more thoroughly:
This is a phrasing of the cosmological argument for the existence of god. Unfortunately for apologists using it, it’s not an argument that supports the existence of any specific deity. Even if we grant all the premises you give, we still can’t arrive at the conclusion that a god is the cause. You could reasonably argue for a deistic position but that is a far cry from a personal god.
The way you phrase the cosmological argument here, you assume a transcendent cause for the universe. That premise is not based on anything. For one, we know of nothing that is “transcendent” or how something transcendent could interact with our universe. Secondly, the introduction of a transcendent cause raises a lot more questions than it answers, making it a less preferable explanation. What is the nature of this transcendent cause? Where did it come from? How did it cause the universe to begin? In other words: postulating a transcendent cause solves nothing, it merely moves the problem one step further back and actually makes matters worse. We now have more problems, more questions than we started out with.
There is also the matter of why this transcendental cause is itself uncaused. If you can accept a transcendental cause without a cause, isn’t it much simpler and more elegant to say that the universe doesn’t require a cause? If you can accept a transcendental cause without a cause, you can accept a universe without a cause, thereby avoiding the problems I outlined above.
If you place your cause outside of time, you create a logical problem. How does something outside of time cause something to happen? For something to happen, time has to pass. Causality only makes sense in the framework of space-time. An action provokes a reaction, cause and effect. You can only have a cause with an effect if there is a spatial and temporal connection between the two. If there is no time to pass, there can be no cause and effect.
Finally, if you are not yourself Steven Bancarz, you should stop copying clever stuff from other people: https://reasonsforjesus.com/3-big-reasons-believe-god-exists/. Or were you trying to sound clever by copying someone else’s argument here, thinking I wouldn’t notice? Otherwise, a link to the site would have been sufficient.
Oh i wasn’t really trying to act smart by pretending this was my comment. I just said this made a lot of sense to me so thats why i typed it. You removed my doubt though. Also about the Earth being in the right place. I realised that comment is very stupid as any planet could have been in the place where earth was and we would rule over that planet as with the correct temperature any planet could contain life if it was in Earths place.
I see, thanks for clearing that up. Next time, better include a link to the original, because then I’d have been able to see the video as well. Not that it would make the argument stronger, most likely.
As for the Earth being in the right place, it seems you have missed my point. It’s not about where the planet is, what it’s called or how hot or cold it is. The argument is backwards because life adapts to the existing circumstances (and it’s not the circumstances that were designed to suit life). We have living beings on Earth that thrive in oxygen free environments that would kill us, but they’re perfectly happen there. There is life at the bottom of the sea surviving in pressure that again would kill us. If life can exist there, it may be in lots of places in the universe. There may be life in other inhospitable places in our own solar system even. As you can see, the idea that the Earth is any kind of ideal location to support life, is a very anthropocentric viewpoint. For those creatures that are killed by oxygen, the Earth is a very dangerous place because oxygen is almost everywhere. The bottom-dwelling creatures in the sea might be a lot happier if Earth was covered entirely by deep oceans.
A lot of places on Earth aren’t even hospitable to humans. Go to the desert, anywhere on the ocean, the North or South pole, tropical rain forests, mangroves, swamps, mountain ranges…all of these places are hard to survive for people without specialist gear. 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered by water, which makes at least 70% inhospitable to humans. So the idea that Earth is ideal for humans is quite a strange idea in itself.
Hey joop, I don’t believe in God but this comment makes a lot of sense to me. If God does not exist explain how nature and how the earth is perfectly in the position here it is not to hot or cold. Can you make me remove this doubt..
I’d rather not remove doubt. Doubt is a sign of intelligence.
In this case however, there’s no reason to doubt. You’re just looking at the situation backwards. Rather like a puddle lying in a hole thinking: “Wow, this hole must have been created for me, it fits me perfectly.” It’s life on Earth that evolved to survive in conditions that exist on Earth. It’s life that adapted to fit the existing circumstances. Had the Earth been hotter or colder or had there been no oxygen on Earth, we would not be here today to marvel at how well the Earth seems to suit us.
No God required to explain this one, you just need to look at it from a different perspective.
The following is the truth and the only Hope we will ever have.
The top ten above seems to reflect some of the complaints those closest to God (of the Bible) struggled with at times. The truth be told we all still struggle with them. It seems that our desires are faithless vanity to God and His reactions to mankind are unrighteous. According to God:
1. Faithfulness springs forth from the Earth and Righteousness looks down from Heaven.
2. The Spirit gives life the flesh counts for nothing.
Translated, God is righteous and all men are to walk in the Spirit (in faith) first and not soley after earthly pursuits. This is why we have no relationship with God. Moreover, our focus in this world must be on Jesus Christ while we cope with the dichotomy of life through reverent prayer through His Holy Spirit.
This life is a test that hinges on whether we will ultimately choose to believe in our truth or God’s Word (Jesus). He’s created the perfect world to test us and released a Satan to make the plan inscrutable from our viewpoint. If your angry about this or on your knees praying it seems He has your attention. Remember it’s His plan, life sucks for a reason and it’s up to you how it all ends. Moreover, it’s up to you to bow to His truth and receive eternal life.
Sorry, but no. What you have is a baseless assertion. You are claiming it is the truth but you have no evidence for this. And before you point to the Bible, that is not evidence for your claim.
So what you have left is some scary sounding words, nothing more.
I believe in Christ because I desire the relationship He offers (eternal life, peace, power, love, self discipline…). It takes time to get there and I never wanted it on His terms; as a matter of fact nobody wants Grace on His terms. The Bible calls it foolishness to those who are perishing. However, after a lifetime of stumbling blocks and being sifted like wheat; raising my fist to God one day and praying the next, I realized that this world-system offers no peace just dull reward and punishment and even that a fickle thing in the hands of man.
In the past men lamented the harsh reality of life and revelled in its rewards. Those folks better able to navigate this world come to rule it but their hearts were not and continue not to be enlightened to the same level of their minds. That is why the Bible says: “… the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” In the context of this verse the righteous heart is compared with the unrighteous heart. Note, a so-called good person may do many good deeds but his/her heart is not obedient to God and thus not kind just a worldly version of it. This is the true source of our suffering today.
Regarding my “baseless assertions” the Church has survived 2000 years and its manual is filled with history and prophecy for a thousand years before that. The veracity of the Bible is continually being affirmed. Once Hittites never existed, now theres a museum dedicated to them…and so on. The biblical truths are not accepted by many because God, who transcends our continuum, who’s mind created our rational thought, pitted it against faith and many hate Him for doing so. Life has many aspects but comes down to a decision. Do we choose this life or eternal life?
Now I don’t understand all the complexities of the Bible or some of the so-called translation errors. However, His message is pretty clear. God revealed His plan of reconcilliation to man through His Son, His Christ Jesus. This requires faith to accept, it doesn’t require you to throw away basic reasoning. The Bible speaks about how to receive this eternal life, His gift right now. This is the thrust of the Bible it’s not a trig book.
Eventually this world-society, random chance or your body will betray you. At that time, and hopefully you still have time, when you come to the end of yourself, reach out to God in Jesus name! Afterwards, learn to live to please God and not yourself. Our time on this planet passes quicker than you think and it’s not that good even for the rich pagan. The greatest power working against you is your own disbelief fed by demons and circumstances. Look, your salvation stems not from rigorous mathematical proofs or even answered prayers, it’s about faith. But even that faith rests on the proof of His Word and His Creation.
“I believe in Santa because I desire the presents he brings.” See how a statement like that works? Choosing to believe something because you desire something as a reward for that belief has no bearing on the reality of that belief being true or even plausible. I can choose to believe I will win the lottery because I desire the grand prize but does that make the belief realistic? No, of course not.
Appeal to tradition, logical fallacy if not developed further. Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it is true or useful. The age of something has no relation to the reality of something. If that were true, you should become a Hindu because the Hindu faith predates Christianity by at least 1.500 years so it has survived a lot longer.
You make these two statements and I am to take your word on the “veracity of the bible”? I think not. Fact is, the bible is full of internal inconsistencies, failed predictions, factual errors and downright forgery. You should read up on the history of the bible before you make claims about its veracity.
Is that why there are thousands of Christian denominations, each with differing interpretations about the pretty clear message from god?
Ah yes, the age-old rhetoric of Christians urging people to “repent while you still have time”. It doesn’t work on me. It’s about as scary as a kid saying to an adult “you won’t get presents from Santa if you’re bad”. See, I don’t believe in your god, your holy book, your hell or any other myth that’s been proclaimed from the pulpit for the last 2000 years by people who were no better (and many arguably much worse) than me. Why? Because there’s no evidence for any of it. Not even something to suggest that it might be plausible. All you have is a book that’s been cobbled together by humans but claims divine origin. That’s a circular argument: the bible is the word of god because the bible says it is. Such a claim is worthy of all the derision it gets because it’s laughable.
Enjoyed your 10 reasons. Agree with all of them. I’ve read much of the Bible, and the sad fact is every believer I’ve ever run across, hasn’t read even a small percentage of what I’ve read. I’m always pointing out things they had no clue about. Then they usually get quiet or change the subject when I point out some of the glaring inconsistencies- and there are a ton of them. There are so many things wrong with the Bible it could never be called the direct word of God or even inspired by God. So how can it be God’s guiding principle to follow when it is so fraught with error? God must have really screwed up somewhere – or more likely it’s just some book pieced together by different individuals that was used for power over others and was imbibed with a ton of human thoughts on what this God might actually be. The God of the Bible sounds much too human and not enough God. The God that is so powerful to design the entire Universe, and we think we have the slightest inkling of what He/She/It is? A tad arrogant, aren’t we? God gets angry – gee, so do we. God has to ask Adam what he had done – as if he shouldn’t have known already since He knows everything anyway. Again – all human – nada God. It’s more like people are some kind of toys for God to play around with than an all loving God. Most parents would never treat their children as badly as God treats his children in the Bible. I mean, really, you are going to slaughter your kids because they transgressed, and even their children as well. Forgiving God all right – sounds too much human again. And besides, He would have known this was going to happen anyway, so why not just wipe out all of humanity and start over with squids or something like that. This God of the Bible is just way too human – and why, because the God of the Bible is nothing more than a human construct. Too many faults, too many bad choices, too much anger, too many just plain stupid laws. Too much like the humans he is supposed to have created. No one is ever going to know the God of the Bible because it really isn’t God. Just some human interpretation of a god. But one has to “really” read the book to see that. And study a bunch of ancient history too. That wouldn’t hurt as well.
Thanks for the kind words, glad to hear you enjoyed the post!
I have to agree with you there, the bible shows all the signs of being man made (not even human made but made by men). While there are some inspiring stories in there, a lot of it is just boring, some of it seems insane and a lot of it is borrowed from older myths. An honest and thorough read of the bible can’t help but produce disbelievers, in my opinion. The word of a god it is not.
Like you, I have read the bible cover to cover (okay, skipped some of the begats and a lot of Numbers). My conclusion is the same as yours.
Too bad many Christians never bother to read the entire thing cover to cover.
Agree with this article and all you’ve pointed out. I’d like to add that, in addition to its many issues, the Bible wasn’t even written by anyone who was alive at the time Jesus supposedly walked the earth. It was written hundreds of years later based on stories handed down. It’s like playing “telephone”. Anyone who wrote the Bible wasn’t even around to verify if any of these supposed events actually took place. Don’t get me started on the “loving God” rant. You expect me to believe that even if my mother or father beats me I’m supposed to honor them, simply because some fictional book tells me so? What kind of messed up logic is that?
This is part of what I find to be the most compelling reason to not believe that the bible is nothing but a collection of fairy tales. If miracles were happening that news would have spread like wildfire and people would have documented it. Archeologists have uncovered records of all sorts of things but not one timely account of any miracle that happened during the life of Christ.
Atheists are fond of claiming that their way of thinking is logical, reasonable, and intellectual. Yet atheism irrationally says that everything came from nothing. Atheism says that an explosion caused exquisite order. It says that random chances produced precision and that life popped into existence in nature from non-life. Atheism contends that a well-designed Universe could come about without a Designer. Atheism says that fish and frogs are man’s distant forefathers and that intelligence is ultimately the result of non-intelligence. Atheism alleges that either man is on the same moral plane as a moose, or he actually evolved a sense of morality from amoral mice. While trying to convince others he is galloping confidently atop a stallion called Common Sense, atheism stumbles on the back of a donkey called Foolishness.
Theism, on the other hand, is absolutely rational. Why? Because (among other things) (1) matter demands a Maker; (2) life demands a Life Giver; (3) design demands a Designer; (4) intelligence demands an Intelligent Creator; (5) morality demands a Moral Law Giver; (6) the Bible’s supernatural attributes demand a Supernatural Author; and (7) the historical, miracle-working, resurrected Jesus demands a supernatural explanation (which demands God). Indeed, the Christian can say with all confidence, “I know that God exists.” As former atheist Antony Flew so eloquently concluded: “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being” (2007, p. 155).
Thank you for your comment. Let me break it down and give you my response.
Atheism is indeed a reasonable, logical position given the alternatives. Atheism says nothing about where anything came from. It is simply a disbelief in a god or gods. Nothing more.
Again, atheism says no such thing. Neither does science, by the way.
Before we can infer a designer, we must first establish the universe was designed. This has never been done, by anyone, in the history of science, philosophy or theology. All we have are multiple contradictory creation stories from the world’s various religions. First, you must show that the universe was designed, then you must show that it was your god and not any of the others that did the designing and only then can we talk about how well-designed the universe is. Because is it?
No, that would be evolutionary biology that says something like that. To be more precise, we share a common ancestor with modern animals. Current fish or frogs are not our forefathers. See here for more: https://www.beris.nl/2015/06/11/evolution-theory-fallacies/
No, atheism doesn’t allege any of that. It’s only a disbelief in gods, remember? Also, I have never heard anyone make such a claim, apart from you, just now.
Is it? Okay, try and demonstrate that this is true. I’m really curious here…
Does it? Why? Demonstrate that matter was created, please.
Does it? Why? Demonstrate that life was created, please.
Yes, if something was designed. If we’re talking about the universe, we don’t know it was. First show something was designed, then you can make this claim.
Does it? Why? Show that this is demonstrably true.
This is getting tiresome but okay: why? There are sound reasons why morality is beneficial to us as a species, reasons that do not require us to invoke the supernatural. You can see here for more.
The bible has supernatural attributes? What are they and why must they be supernatural?
The bible is not proof of Jesus’ existence. See here for why it isn’t.
So, to sum up, you first present a series of erroneous, straw-man arguments of what you think atheism is. You do this either deliberately or because you truly don’t understand what atheism means. Next, you present a series of statements that – according to you – show how theism is a reasonable position. None of those arguments are substantiated. That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. The only thing you have succeeded in doing, is to demonstrate that you don’t understand atheism or reason.
Actually, I posted something that did not include the whole document. Here it is. I believe these are reasonable (intellectual) arguments for the existence of God but they are not mine. Mine are more personal. I don’t pretend to know too much about atheism other than that it is the belief that there is no God. I actually believe it takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe that He exists. I have actually struggled with many of the intellectual arguments for there not being a God, but I have come to realize that they are just that arguments.
The entire universe screams out (to me) because there is design that there has to be a designer. Example: I own a car. The car exists. The car is very complicated. The car was designed. The car had a designer and was created by someone. These facts are not up for argument. They are true.
Now let’s examine even just a small bit of science from a similar perspective. Take your body for example. We don’t have time here or the space to discuss everything, but your body is one of the most complex things in the universe. What happens when you get sick? Your body reacts to fight off the sickness. It does this without you even thinking about it. Who tells or told your body to do this? You will have to look at the cellular level in the DNA. Within each DNA molecule are billions of cells of information that tell your body what to do. (much like computer code) Who put that there? Did it just happen? That seems quite a far stretch (in faith, or belief). That would be like saying that given enough time my car just came to be. How can anyone actually believe this? I find this perplexing. To think anything as complex as a car just came together on its own just given enough time just astounds me.
I prayed one day that God would please enlighten me on a good argument for Him that I could share with others. The next morning this story was in my head. I will share it with you.
We have to make up a scenario. Here it is. Imagine two remote tribes in a southern region of the world that has never come into contact with anyone other than themselves. One particular day one tribesman is walking down a road and another tribesman from the other tribe is walking in the other direction. When they pass each other one tribesman strikes the other across the face (for no reason) and knocks him to the ground. What do you suppose will be the reaction of the tribesman that was knocked to the ground? Anger? Astonishment? Feeling like “what did you do that for”? What will he most likely want to do? Most likely in this scenario he will be angry and want to know why he was hit. WHY? If there is no God then Why? Is it because he was brought up that way? Then we have to go all the way back as far as we can to try and find out who was the first tribesman that said… o.k. we are going to act this way. Why? If there is no God then there is no right or wrong. Is it just rules instituted by society for the betterment of all? Who gave them the right to tell me what is right or what is wrong? Who for that matter Joop gives anyone the right to tell you what is right and what is wrong? Where did that come from? The fact is there is a right and there is a wrong. It lives within all of us. We did not make this up ourselves as rules to live by. You know Joop what is the right thing to do. How do you know this? Who’s rules? Our ancestors? Rediculous. They don’t speak for me or you for that matter… but I digress…….
No one. Certainly, not me will ever argue anyone into faith in God. I am one of the fortunate ones. I became a believer when I was just 7 years old. My life has never been the same. I have actually met Him personally. I have experienced His power. I have experienced His knowledge (at least what I am capable of understanding). I have experienced His Love. I am a very intellectual person and I am blown away that most people cannot see what I have been blessed to be able to see. I appreciate your perspective. You are entitled to it, as I am mine. You can, I’m sure argue that my points (arguments) for God are wrong as I’m sure you will, But, He does exist. Jesus Christ is Lord, and He loves us more than you know. I know this without even a small tiny atom of doubt. I pray some day that you will too. Peace be to you my friend.
7 Reasons to Believe in God
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.
How can you know that God exists? You can’t see, hear, touch, smell, or taste Him. You can’t weigh Him like you can a five-pound bag of potatoes. You can’t put Him under an electron microscope to show your friends what He looks like on an atomic level. You can’t experiment on Him with probes and scalpels. You can’t take a picture of Him to show your neighbor that He’s not just an imaginary friend. You can’t magically make Him appear in the classroom of an atheistic professor who is challenging anyone to prove that God exists. So how can you know that God exists?
Although atheists contend that God does not exist and agnostics allege that there is a very high probability that He does not exist, theism is the rational belief that there is a God. A sincere pursuer of truth who follows the available evidence will come to the logical conclusion that God exists. Admittedly, this belief in the 21st century is not the result of seeing God’s Spirit or touching His actual essence (cf. John 4:24; Luke 24:39). What we have at our fingertips, however, is a mountain of irrefutable, indirect, credible evidence that testifies on God’s behalf. Consider seven lines of evidence that warrant the conclusion that an eternal, supernatural Creator (God) exists.
1. MATTER DEMANDS A MAKER
No rational person denies the fact that matter exists. The Universe and every atom that makes it up is a reality. The logical question to ask is, “Where did it all come from?” From the Milky Way to the most-distant galaxy in the Universe—what was the cause? What made matter?
A study of the material Universe reveals that every physical effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause (an idea known as the Law of Cause and Effect or the Law of Causality). The American flag that stood erect on the surface of the moon in 1969 was neither eternal nor without a cause. Its existence on the Moon demands a sufficient cause. The robotic rovers that have rolled across the surface of Mars since the early 21st century are the effect of adequate causes. No one believes that they popped into existence from nothing or that they are the result of any number of ridiculous, insufficient causes that could be suggested (e.g., an accidental explosion in a junk yard on Earth sent metal objects spiraling toward Mars that assembled themselves into the robotic rovers). Simply put, all material effects demand adequate causes (see Miller, 2011 for more information).
So what caused the Universe and all of the matter in the Universe? The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. Allegedly, approximately 14 billion years ago all of the matter and energy in the Universe was concentrated in a tiny ball of matter that exploded, causing the eventual formation of galaxies throughout the Universe.
The obvious problem with this explanation is that even if the Big Bang actually happened (and sound science argues against such a theory—see May, et al., 2003), a person must still explain whence came the “original” ball of matter. It must have an adequate cause. What do some leading atheists and agnostics around the world argue about the cause of matter? Atheistic cosmologist Stephen Hawking stated on national television in 2011, “Nothing caused the Big Bang” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). In the book The Grand Design that Dr. Hawking co-authored, he and Leonard Mlodinow asserted: “Bodies such as stars and black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can” (2010, p. 180, emp. added). In 2006, Todd Friel asked Dan Barker, one of America’s leading atheists, “Do you really believe that something came from nothing?” (emp. added). Barker responded with a simple, “Yes” (“Wretched…”).
The observable truth is, however, in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Though evolutionists have alleged that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. “Nothing” is not a reasonable explanation. In 2007, the pro-evolutionary New Scientist magazine ran a cover story titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” in which the publication attempted to explain the origin of the Universe. But consider the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (“The Universe…,” 194:33, emp. added). The implication of such a question is quite clear: if at one time in the past “nothing” existed, then nothing should exist today. A reasonable, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. One of the world’s leading atheists, Richard Dawkins, has basically admitted such.
In a panel discussion in 2012 on Australian national television, Dr. Dawkins was asked “how it is that something as enormous as the universes came from nothing?” Notice what Dawkins admitted: “Of course it’s counterintuitive that you can get something from nothing. Of course common sense doesn’t allow you to get something from nothing. That’s why it’s interesting. It’s got to be interesting in order to give rise to the universe at all. Something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe” (“Q&A…,” emp. added). Indeed, atheism’s explanation for the origin of matter is “not agreeing with what seems right or natural” (“Counterintuitive,” 2014). According to Dawkins’ own admissions, the idea of getting something from nothing in nature defies “common sense.” It is far from “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts” (“Common Sense,” 2014).
What’s more, atheists cannot logically argue that the Universe is eternal. It seems that relatively few scientists even propose an eternal Universe anymore. (In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe in a Big Bang if atheists believed it always existed.) Furthermore, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2013). The fact is, the Universe had a beginning. Alex Vilenkin, cosmologist from Tufts University, pressed this fact in his book titled Many Worlds in One: “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of acosmic beginning” (2006, p. 176, emp. added).
At one time in the past, the material Universe did not exist. Then, at some point, matter came into existence. But since matter is not eternal and cannot create itself from nothing, then something outside of the material realm must have brought matter into existence.
In short, matter demands a Maker. The evidence clearly indicates that the cause of the Universe is inexplicable without a supernatural Being. Something has to be eternally powerful, but we know it cannot be natural or material. Romans 1:20 says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Without some type of eternal power, our Universe cannot exist, and the atheistic answer that our Universe created itself from nothing is the furthest thing from either a scientific or a rational explanation.
2. LIFE DEMANDS A LIFE GIVER
Life does not pop into existence from nothing. Neither the puppy at the pound nor the bacteria on the doorknob spontaneously generated. Every scientist, whether theist or atheist, knows this observation to be true.
In biology, one of the most widely recognized laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis. “Biogenesis” is composed of two words—“bio,” which means life, and “genesis,” which means beginning. Thus, this law deals with the beginning of life, and it simply says that in nature life comes only from previous life of its own kind. Over the years, the truthfulness of this law has been documented by thousands of scientists, most notably Louis Pasteur. His work dealt a crushing blow to the notion of spontaneous generation.
In 1933, evolutionist John Sullivan admitted that “it became an accepted doctrine that life never arises except from life. So far as the actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion” (p. 94, emp. added). Okay, but that was 1933. As we move further into the 20th century the obvious question was “Is it still the only possible conclusion?” What have we learned since the days of Louis Pasteur in the 19th century and John Sullivan in the first half of the 20th century? Observational science has reached the same conclusion experiment after experiment, year after year. The eminent evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson and his colleagues observed that “there is no serious doubt that biogenesis is the rule, that life comes only from other life, that a cell, the unit of life, is always and exclusively the product or offspring of another cell” (1965, p. 144, emp. added). Evolutionist Martin Moe noted that “a century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life” (1981, 89:36, emp. added). More recently, staunch evolutionist Neil Shubin conceded the following in his book titled Your Inner Fish:
I can share with you one true law that all of us can agree upon. This law is so profound that most of us take it completely for granted. Yet it is the starting point for almost everything we do in paleontology, developmental biology, and genetics. This biological “law of everything” is that every living thing on the planet had parents. Every person you’ve ever known has biological parents, as does every bird, salamander, or shark you have ever seen…. To put it in a more precise form: every living thing sprang from some parental genetic information (2009, p. 174).
The importance of Shubin’s concession must not be missed. He recognizes that the actual scientific information verifies that life in the natural world must come from previously existing life. Yet he refuses to carry that fact to its proper conclusion: that life could not have sprung from non-living chemicals. Materialistic evolution cannot adequately account for or explain the most basic laws of science, not the least of which is the Law of Biogenesis.
If it is the case that the “only possible conclusion” which scientific evidence demands is that in nature “life never arises except from life,” then, pray tell, how did the first life come into being? Did it somehow break the most fundamental natural law of biology and arise “naturally” from non-life? Or is there another possibility? The truth is, there is another possibility (which science has not disproved), but it is one that evolutionists such as John Sullivan admitted that “scientific men find very difficult of acceptance” (p. 94, emp. added). According to Sullivan, “So far as the actual evidence goes,” biogenesis “is still the only possible conclusion. But…it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act” (p. 94, emp. added). Do not miss the point: real, true, operational science indirectly supports a “supernatural creative act,” which implies a supernatural Creator.
Evolutionist and Harvard University Professor George Wald similarly admitted in an article he wrote titled “The Origin of Life” that there ultimately are two options for life’s origin: (1) spontaneous generation and (2) “the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position” (1954, p. 46). Sadly, though “[m]ost modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis,” they are “unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation” (p. 46). Rather than follow the evidence where it ultimately leads (to a supernatural Creator!), atheists would rather put their confidence in a theory that was disproven long ago. Antony Flew, who for five decades was the world’s leading atheistic thinker, was forced in the end to conclude: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind” (2007, p. 132; see Miller, 2012 for more information).
3. DESIGN DEMANDS A DESIGNER
Everyday observation reveals and confirms the obvious fact that complex, functional design demands a designer. Paintings demand painters. Poems demand poets. Architecture demands architects. And on and on we could go. Everyone knows that cars and computers, pianos and projectors all require engineers, technicians, and tuners for them to exist and function properly. But what about the Universe as a whole? Can it be described accurately as “designed”? If so, what could such design imply about its origin?
No honest, informed person can deny that the Universe is extremely fine-tuned and functionally complex. From the Earth’s precise orbit around the Sun to a shorebird’s 15,000-mile yearly migration pattern, literally millions of examples of fine-tuned design in nature could be pondered. But consider just one example involving electrons and protons. The ratio of the mass of an electron to a proton is 1:1836, which means that a proton is 1,836 times more massive than an electron. Even with this mass difference, however, electrons and protons have the same electrical charge. Scientists suggest that if the electrical charge of the electron were altered by one part in 100 billion, our bodies would instantly explode (Barrow and Tipler, 1986, pp. 293, 296). Is such precision indicative of precise design? Most certainly.
The truth is, atheists frequently testify to the “design” in nature. Australian atheistic astrophysicist Paul Davies has admitted that the Universe (which according to atheists is the result of mindless, naturalistic, random processes) is “uniquely hospitable” (2007, p. 30), “remarkable” (p. 34), and “ordered in an intelligible way” (p. 30). He even admitted to the “fine-tuned properties” of the Universe. In a 2008 National Geographic article titled “Biomimetics: Design by Nature,” the word “design” (or one of its derivatives—designs, designed, etc.) appeared no less than seven times in reference to “nature’s designs.” The author, evolutionist Tom Mueller, referred to nature’s “sophistication” and “clever devices” (2008, p. 79) and praised nature for being able to turn simple materials “into structures of fantastic complexity, strength, and toughness” (p. 79). After learning of the uncanny, complicated maneuverability of a little blowfly, Mueller even confessed to feeling the need to regard the insect “on bended knee in admiration” (p. 82). Why? Because of its “mysterious” and “complicated” design. The fact is, as evolutionist Jerry Coyne admitted, “Nature resembles a well-oiled machine…. The more one learns about plants and animals, the more one marvels at how well their designs fit their ways of life” (2009, pp. 1,3).
But how can you get design without purpose, intelligence, and deliberate planning? The first three definitions the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary gives for “design” (noun) are as follows: “1a: a particular purpose held in view by an individual or group…b: deliberate purposive planning… 2: a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down; 3a: a deliberate undercover project or scheme” (“Design,” 2014, emp. added). After defining “design” as a drawing, sketch, or “graphic representation of a detailed plan…,” the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Languagenoted that design may be defined as “[t]he purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details” (“Design,” 2000, p. 492, emp. added). A design is preceded by “deliberate purposive planning,” “a detailed plan,” or an “inventive arrangement.” A design is the effect, not of time, chance, and unintelligent, random accidental explosions (what nonsense!), but of the purposeful planning and deliberate actions of an inventor or designer. Literally, by definition, design demands a designer; thus the designed Universe demands a Designer.
According to Paul Davies: “Our universe seems ‘just right’ for life. It looks as if…a super-intellect has been monkeying with physics” (2007, p. 30). Similarly, well-known skeptic Michael Shermer conceded, “The reason people think that a Designer created the world is because it looks designed” (2006, p. 65, emp. added).
Indeed, both honest observation and rational thought should lead every truth-seeking individual to the same conclusion that the psalmist came to 3,000 years ago: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). “The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4). “Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26).
Since the Universe exhibits complex, functional design, and (by definition) complex, functional design demands a designer, then the Universe must have an intelligent designer. This argument for God is logically sound and observationally true. A person can know (without a doubt) that God exists if for no other reason than that the Universe’s design demands a Designer. “For every house is built by someone, but He Who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
4. INTELLIGENCE DEMANDS AN INTELLIGENT CREATOR
Intelligence is defined as “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge” (“Intelligence,” 2000, p. 910); “the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations” (“Intelligence,” 2014). It is not difficult to identify certain things that have some measure of “intelligence,” while recognizing other things that have no intelligence. Man obviously has an extremely high level of intelligence. He has constructed spaceships that he can guide 240,000 miles to the Moon while both the Earth and the Moon are in motion. He has built artificial hearts that can extend the lives of the sick. He continues to construct computers that can process billions of pieces of information a second. He can write poetry, calculate where Mars will be 50 years from the present, and build everything from pianos to PlayStation video game consoles. Man is an intelligent being.
Although there is a great chasm between mankind and the animal kingdom, animals do possess a measure of intelligence. Dogs can learn to sit, stay, roll over, and play dead. Dolphins can learn to jump through hoops on command. Birds can make helpful “tools” from twigs in order to accomplish some basic tasks. A few years ago, two colorful, eight-legged cephalopods, known as cuttlefish, graced the cover of the journal New Scientist. The authors referred to this amazing sea creature as a “sophisticated,” “inventive,” eight-legged “genius” with “intelligence” and a “secret code” (Brooks, 2008).
According to atheistic evolution, billions of years ago “nothing” caused a tiny ball of matter to explode. Then, billions of years after this Big Bang, galaxies began to form from lifeless, mindless, unintelligent particles floating around in space in massive clouds of dust. Allegedly, Earth eventually evolved from such a dust cloud. Hundreds of millions of years later, intelligent animals and humans evolved.
What humans have consistently observed in nature, however, is that intelligence demands previous intelligence. The reason that humans in the 21st century are intelligent is because our ancestors were intelligent. The reason that animals have some measure of intelligence is due to intelligent creatures that came before them. Dust does not give way to organized dust particles that have “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.” Water does not think. The mindless mud that evolutionists contend gave way to intelligent life on Earth is nothing but a delusional tale unsupported by everything we know from observation and experience. Neither “nothing” nor inorganic matter ever produces intelligent creatures. So how did the first intelligent creatures come to inhabit the Universe? Just as the first life demands a supernatural life Giver, so the first intelligent beings demand a self-existent, miracle-working Creator of intelligence.
5. MORALITY DEMANDS A MORAL LAW GIVER
Why do people generally think that some actions are “right” and some actions are “wrong,” regardless of their subjective opinions? Why do most people believe that it is “evil” or “wicked” (1) for an adult to torture an innocent child simply for the fun of it? (2) for a man to beat and rape a kind, innocent woman? or (3) for parents to have children for the sole purpose of abusing them sexually every day of their lives? Because, as evolutionist Edward Slingerland noted, humans have metaphysical rights—rights that are “a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses” (“Metaphysical,” 2014)—and “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196:7). The fact is, most people, even many atheists, have admitted that real, objective good and evil exist.
Although objective morality may be outside the realm of the scientific method, every rational person can know that some actions are innately good, while others are innately evil. Antony Flew and Wallace Matson, two of the leading atheistic philosophers of the 20th century, forthrightly acknowledged the existence of objective morality in their debates with theistic philosopher Thomas B. Warren in the 1970s (see Warren and Flew, 1977; Warren and Matson, 1978). Atheist Michael Ruse admitted in his book Darwinism Defended that “[t]he man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children, is just asmistaken as the man who says that 2 + 2 = 5” (1982, p. 275, emp. added). Philosophers Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl said it well: “Those who deny obvious moral rules—who say that murder and rape are morally benign, that cruelty is not a vice, and that cowardice is a virtue—do not merely have a different moral point of view; they have something wrong with them” (1998, p. 59, emp. added).
Most rational people do not merely feel like rape and child abuse may be wrong; they are wrong—innately wrong. Just as two plus two can really be known to be four, every rational human can know that some things are objectively good, while other things are objectively evil. However, reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective point of reference. If something (e.g., rape) can be legitimately criticized as morally wrong, then there must be an objective standard—“some ‘higher law which transcends the provincial and transient’ which is other than the particular moral code and which has an obligatory character which can be recognized” (Warren and Matson, p. 284).
Recognition by atheists of anything being morally wrong begs the question: How can an atheistlogically call something atrocious, deplorable, evil, or wicked? According to atheism, man is nothing but matter in motion. Humankind allegedly evolved from rocks and slime over billions of years. How could moral value come from rocks and slime? Who ever speaks of “wrong rocks,” “moral minerals,” or “corrupt chemicals”? People do not talk about morally depraved donkeys, evil elephants, or immoral monkeys. Pigs are not punished for being immoral when they eat their young. Komodo dragons are not corrupt because 10% of their diet consists of younger Komodo dragons. Killer whales are not guilty of murder. Male animals are not tried for rape if they appear to forcibly copulate with females. Dogs are not depraved for stealing the bone of another dog. Moral value could not arise from rocks and slime.
The fact that humans even contemplate morality testifies to the huge chasm between man and animals and the fact that moral value could not have arisen from animals. Atheistic evolutionists have admitted that morals arise only in humans. George Gaylord Simpson, one of the most recognized atheistic evolutionists of the 20th century, confessed that “[g]ood and evil, right and wrong, concepts irrelevant in nature except from the human viewpoint, become real and pressing features of the whole cosmos as viewed morally because morals arise only in man” (1951, p. 179, emp. added). Atheists admit that people (i.e., even “atheists”) have “their own innate sense of morality” (“Do Atheists…?, n.d.). No rational person makes such admissions about animals. “Humans,” not animals, “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196:7).
The moral argument for God’s existence exposes atheism as the self-contradictory, atrocious philosophy that it is. Atheists must either reject the truthfulness of the moral argument’s first premise (“If objective moral value exists, then God exists”) and illogically accept the indefensible idea that objective morality somehow arose from rocks and reptiles, or (2) they must reject the argument’s second premise (“Objective moral values exist”), and accept the insane, utterly repulsive idea that genocide, rape, murder, theft, child abuse, etc. can never once be condemned as objectively “wrong.” What’s more, if atheism is true, individuals could never logically be punished for such immoral actions, since “no inherent moral or ethical laws” would exist (Provine, 1988, p. 10).
If there is no God, then there is no objective basis to say that some things are right and others are wrong. Reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective reference point outside of nature. The only reasonable answer to an objective moral law for humans is a supernatural, moral law Giver.
6. THE BIBLE’S SUPERNATURAL ATTRIBUTES DEMAND A SUPERNATURAL AUTHOR
Christians do not believe that God exists simply because the Bible teaches that He does, nor do Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God simply because the Bible claims to be inspired by God. Anyone can make claims about whatever they wish. Simply because a person claims to have revelation from a supernatural Creator does not make it so (e.g., the Book of Mormon; see Miller, 2009). However, if the Bible possesses attributes that are super-human, then the Bible proves itself to be of supernatural origin and has indirectly proven the existence of the supernatural Author. American atheist Dan Barker alluded to the legitimacy of this argumentation for God’s existence in 2009 when he explained that one of the things which could falsify atheism would be if God spoke to man and gave him specific information about future events (see Butt and Barker, pp. 50-51).
Indeed, one extremely valuable line of evidence that confirms that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is the presence of accurate, predictive prophecy contained in its pages. Not only are the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled in minute detail with complete accuracy, but these fulfillments are often accomplished centuries after the prophecies were made. Even the skeptic understands that if this is the case, a supernatural agent must be responsible for the writing of the Bible. That is why the skeptic attempts to discredit the prophecies by claiming that they were written after the events or by claiming that they were not fulfilled in detail. By attempting to disparage the prophecies using these methods, the skeptic admits that if the prophecies were written centuries before the events, and if they are fulfilled in detail, then a supernatural agent is responsible for them. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “As for the prophet who prophecies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (28:9). Completely accurate, fulfilled prophecy is a characteristic that verifies the divine inspiration of the Bible.
One such prophecy concerned a man named Cyrus and two nations: Babylon and the Medo-Persian Empire. Isaiah, who prophesied around 700 B.C., vividly described how God would destroy the powerful kingdom of Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms” (13:19). Writing as if it had already occurred (commonly known as the “prophetic perfect,” frequently employed in the Old Testament to stress the absolute certainty of fulfillment, e.g., Isaiah 53), Isaiah declared Babylon would fall (21:9). He then prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Later, he proclaimed that the “golden city” (Babylon) would be conquered by a man named Cyrus (44:28; 45:1-7). This is a remarkable prophecy, especially since Cyrus was not born until almost 150 years after Isaiah penned these words.
Not only did Isaiah predict that Cyrus would overthrow Babylon, but he also wrote that Cyrus, serving as Jehovah’s “anointed” and “shepherd,” would release the Jews from captivity and assist them in their return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple. Isaiah’s prophecies were recorded almost 200 years before Cyrus conquered Babylon (539 B.C.). Amazing! [NOTE: Secular history verifies that all of these events came true. There really was a man named Cyrus who ruled the Medo-Persian Empire. He did conquer Babylon. And just as Isaiah prophesied, he assisted the Jews in their return to Jerusalem and in the rebuilding of the temple.]
Truly, “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). And, if men were inspired of God to write the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), then God exists. In short, the Bible’s supernatural attributes logically demand a supernatural Author (see Butt, 2007 for more information).
7. THE HISTORICAL, MIRACLE-WORKING, RESURRECTED JESUS DEMANDS A SUPERNATURAL EXPLANATION
Human beings can do many amazing things. They can run 26.2 miles without stopping. They can show remarkable courage in the face of great danger. They can even walk along a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ground. But there are certain actions that are humanly impossible. Humans cannot walk on water unassisted, give sight to the blind, instantly reattach severed ears with only their hands, or raise the dead. If ever such a “man” existed, his life would logically testify to the existence of a supernatural Being.
Atheists understand the rationality of this argument. Dan Barker once said on record, “If Jesus were to materialize” and work any number of miraculous deeds, atheism would be disproven (see Butt and Barker, p. 51), and thus theism would be established as a fact. The truth is, the very proof that Barker and other atheists request was provided 2,000 years ago when God put on flesh and came to Earth in the form of man. And He did not merely claim to be God; He did what a reasonable person could expect if God were ever to prove His divinity on Earth—He fulfilled precise prophecies and worked supernatural miracles, including coming back from the dead Himself. (For more information, see Butt and Lyons, 2006). The life and works of Jesus testify to the existence of a supernatural Being.
In 2012, renowned atheist Richard Dawkins was questioned about his unbelief in God. Specifically, he was asked, “What proof, by the way, would change your mind?” He quickly responded by saying, “That is a very difficult and interesting question because, I mean, I used to think that if somehow, you know, great, big, giant 900-foot high Jesus with a voice like Paul Robeson suddenly strode in and said, ‘I exist and here I am,’ but even that, I actually sometimes wonder if that would…” (“Q&A…,” 2012). So, though Dr. Dawkins raises the possibility of the legitimacy of disproving atheism with a 900-foot high, hypothetical Jesus, He continually rejects the historical, miracle-working, resurrected-from-the-dead Jesus Who walked the Earth 2,000 years ago. Sadly, such irrational, hard-hearted unbelief is nothing new. Even some in the very presence of Jesus in the first century, who testified to the supernatural feats that He worked, rejected Him (cf. John 11:45-53; 12:9-11). Thus, it should not be surprising that many will reject the Lord God today despite the evidence for His existence.
This is a really long comment and I am actually tempted to turn it into a blog post. I may do that in the future. However, I am also tempted to answer it here, so others can read it in context of our discussion and maybe add their point of view.
Let me begin by saying that I appreciate your respectful discussion. I think respectful, reason-based discussion is the only way to move us forward as a species. I will spend time addressing your arguments but please understand that they aren’t new to me so I may answer some with links to something I’ve written already or that’s written elsewhere.
So, let’s begin…
Please remember that most atheists, myself included, don’t define atheism as a belief that there is no god. Most atheist define atheism as a lack of belief in a god or gods which may sound like a distinction without a difference but it isn’t. The first statement is a knowledge claim, the second one isn’t. You can read my clarification on that here. Please also remember that the arguments for a god are also just that: arguments. I’ll get into yours in a bit.
You are conflating two things here which are not at all similar. This is known in logic as a false analogy. We know that cars are designed. We do not know the universe is designed, even if someone is convinced that it is. In addition, cars are generally designed by a team of people. Are you open to the conclusion that a team of gods may have designed the universe? This is essentially the watchmaker argument, something which has been thoroughly debunked. Watch this video to see how.
This is known as an argument from personal incredulity. To condense your argument into a single sentence, it would go like this: “I can’t believe how all of this happens naturally, therefore god”. Rendered this way, you can see why this is not actually an argument at all. We understand how our body gets sick, we understand much of the immune response, we understand much of the function of DNA and nowhere do these explanations invoke the supernatural. You simply ignore the natural explanation of evolution through natural selection because you personally find it unconvincing.
Really? Why? Long before the world had ever heard of Jesus or even Yahweh, people were drawing up laws and moral codes. Clearly these people had an idea of right and wrong. The notion that morality came from the Christian god is simply false.
You clearly had a life-altering experience. That’s not something I am going to dismiss nor can dismiss. I wasn’t there to experience it with you. I would just like to put it before you that Muslims claim the same kind of experience with Allah, Hindus claim it with Shiva, Vikings had it with Thor, etc. The human mind is easily confused. We tend to see patterns where there are none and we prefer any explanation to no explanation at all. We may find an explanation comfortable but that doesn’t make it true.
As to the article by Lyons, his arguments aren’t particularly new or original so I will address them briefly.
This is nothing more than a long-winded “god of the gaps” argument. It can be summed up in a single sentence: “Science can’t explain how x happened, therefore god.” This is a non sequitur, of course. Also, the arguments raised by Lyons don’t support theism. There’s no way you can go from his arguments to a god, let alone the specific god of the bible. I understand that theists want to make that transition, but there’s no reason why a personal god would have to start the universe.
As unsatisfying as it is, we simply do not know where the universe came from or why there is something rather than nothing (if a true nothing can even exist in nature). That doesn’t mean that you can simply invent a god and present that as the answer. The concept of god has no explanatory power here. We still have to answer how god made matter. We still have to answer where god came from.
Again, a god of the gaps argument which doesn’t support theism, certainly not the god of the bible. It completely ignores a natural explanation. The fact that science isn’t able to explain something, doesn’t make a divine explanation any more plausible.
Design does, yes. However, we first need to establish that something was designed before we can infer a designer. I have yet to see a convincing argument for a designer where the universe or anything else in nature is concerned. The argument that the universe is fine-tuned for life (the teleological argument) doesn’t hold up either. For one, it is trivial to think of a universe that is much more supportive of life than the one we inhabit. Secondly, put a human being (or most other organisms) at a random point in the visible universe and there is a near 100% chance that human is killed instantly. Even here on Earth, most environments are not hospitable to human life. And once again, we can’t argue that it was the god of the bible that did the designing.
I am actually tempted to just say “no it doesn’t” and leave it at that. It’s a baseless assertion and an argument from personal incredulity to boot.
Even if we accept that this is true, why must that be the Christian god? Why not any of the other thousands of gods that we know of? The argument is a non sequitur. Personally, I do not accept the premise (certainly not without some evidence). There are perfectly serviceable natural explanations for why we see some things as good and other things as bad. Altruism and helping each other meant our distant ancestors could raise more children. They in turn would be prone to the behavior exhibited by their parents so the process would repeat. This is of course a gross simplification but I think it demonstrates the underlying principle. That atheists couldn’t make a proper decision about what is right and wrong is a nasty slander when every imaginable evil is perpetrated somewhere in the name of some god. I will not accept that criticism from any theist.
Another flawed argument, I’m afraid. Predicting the future doesn’t imply supernatural guidance. I can make predictions which have a good chance of coming true. That people did this in the past, only shows that they had a keen understanding of the world and of people. And of course there is the problem of knowing when the prophecies were written. How can anyone prove they were written before the event they prophesied? And what of prophecies that didn’t come true, which are also in the bible? This article goes into a lot more depth.
Again, there is no historical record of a miracle-working, resurrected Jesus anywhere outside of the gospels. Not even the four canonical gospels agree with each other about key elements in the story. Read them side by side and you’ll see what I mean. If we knew or even had a reasonable argument that such a person may have existed, we could explore the supernatural angle. As it stands, Jesus may well be an entirely made up individual.
See these links for more on that:
No problem Joop. Thank you for your quick and quite thorough responses. Reading through them I feel a little bit over-whelmed I must admit. These are pre thought out answers to things that I have laboriously thought through with my faith and prayer my whole life. But, you dismiss them with quick pre argued positions which seem to me are from others. I must admit that I did post the internet thing and that was not pre thought out by me.
The car argument does hold water. Yes, God can and did create everything that you see and feel and enjoy. He is omnipotent. The fact that I can look at something that has been designed and already know that it has been designed and then look at something else where I don’t know how that came about and realize that it has been designed is logical to me. To see something that obviously had to be designed and to just say that add a trillion years to it and it will come together is not logical to me no matter how you put it. I guess I just restated my position.
The right and wrong answer also does hold water. Just because someone says that our ancestors have been perfecting right and wrong for millennia still does not answer why I have to see it that way. Go ahead. Do some wrong.. if you are married strike your wife across the face for no reason as an experiment. See if you feel bad. I want to know. If you can do something like that and not feel bad then I will admit you are living as if there is no God. But to be true to atheism you must do that with everything. This is just a small thing. I know there are some people who live and do horrible things (like murder) and feel nothing. These to me are true atheists. I try my best to live right by Jesus every day with every decision but I am a poor example. Jesus does give me the power to not do wrong though. Without His righteousness I can do no right.
I met the “Man” one day if you will and it has forever changed me. His love for me astonishes me. I am so happy that He has provided a way that I can be reunited with Him (through Jesus Christ) I cannot express it enough. Without Jesus I would be living forever without Him. God gave us free will and this opened the door for us to decide to not do right. All of us have sinned. No one is perfect. Think about that for a minute. Just for the sake of argument. God is perfect. Everything that we enjoy that is even remotely good came from Him. Let that sink in. Every good thing came from God. (Just for argument) Now, every human does actually live forever but to Live without God would actually be to die forever. For to be without God is to be without good. ANY good. Light, love, kindness, empathy, etc… for we cannot be with GOD anymore because we are contaminated with sin. If we were allowed then God would be contaminated. But and you have heard this already but the good news is that Jesus is perfect and when I accept Him I have perfection in me as well so the path back to God is open. I so pray that someday you will accept Jesus or at least consider it. It is not a bad thing Joop, it’s actually the best thing.
Finally, I must ask about your atheism. Is it true or is it just your intellectual side? What I am asking you is are you willing to die for it? Are you willing to give up everything for it? I say this with the hope that God will give me the strength but I am willing to die for my faith. I actually am. This is how strongly He has affected me. This is the proof that Jesus did live and still does today. He is in my heart I can feel it. He is a person. Atheism is not. That is pretty distinct. I must also add that it fascinates me that all around the world they use God’s names as curse words. It’s more than 2,000 years and they still say His name every day I hear that. I find it as proof also… they don’t curse Buddha, or satan or atheism for that matter just Jesus and God.
Well, my friend. I am praying for your eyes to be opened whether you like it or not. I find you quite intelligent, and I would like to be rejoicing with you on the other side when we do go there. Final question. Have you ever read CS Lewis. My favorite author and quite the brilliant atheist. Probably one of the greatest thinkers of our time. I have read all his books. He died a Christian. I look forward to your response, but I’m afraid I am not as smart as you but I will try to keep up. (With God’s help) lol.
Hello again, TJ,
You’re quite welcome. 🙂
I totally understand if some of my responses seem overwhelming. As I mentioned in my previous comment, your arguments aren’t new to me. In fact, some are actually quite old. And ironically, some arguments that can be used against Christianity actually predate Christianity, having their origins in Greek philosophy. I once was a Christian like you so I know these arguments very well. I just learned that they aren’t good arguments. Some replies were partly from other people, yes. But only because they put it far better than I can.
Yes, you restated your position. I understand that this is what you choose to believe but you also have to understand that to someone like me, it’s not convincing. I do not see evidence of design in the universe and many signs that if it was designed, it was not by a loving creator. We have tons of examples of cars, examples of car designers, factories where cars are built, etc. In contrast, we only have one example of a universe. We have 0 examples of universe designers and 0 examples of how universes are made…if they are made at all. So again, we first need to prove that the universe was designed and if it were possible to do that, we would have to try and find out who did it. Simply saying that your god did it, means absolutely nothing. I can claim the same thing about Ra, the Egyptian god. How would you prove me wrong?
How would me feeling bad about striking someone prove that your god had anything to do with that? You are invoking a supernatural explanation where none is needed. In fact, we have yet to determine that there is a god, that this happens to be your god and that this god has opinions about right and wrong. We are nowhere close to completing the first step and here you are telling me that your god is responsible for people knowing right from wrong. Even when I showed you that people were already creating laws and adopting moral codes long before the world had heard of Jesus. If we accept the premise that there is a universal moral standard, there is no way to know which of the thousands of gods that humanity has believed in at some point is responsible for this universal moral standard or even if it was a god at all. Of course Christians would like to believe it was their God but there’s no way to know this.
You continue to misrepresent atheism. Atheism says nothing about morals. It’s just a disbelief in god or gods, that’s all. It’s not a philosophy, it’s not a world view, it’s not a religion. If you need god to be good, does that mean that when you ever lose your faith, you’d become a murderer? A rapist?
Your statement that atheists can’t be moral, can’t be decent, is insulting and wrong. People who feel no remorse are called psychopaths. It’s a personality disorder. Yes, atheists can suffer from psychopathy. The same is true for Christians. We are all human. Every kind of cruel, unjust and inhuman act conceivable is done somewhere in the name of some God. It seems as if religious belief almost equals a universal pardon of or a license to cruelty for the faithful. On divine command, it’s perfectly okay to set someone on fire, to hang them, to stone them, to shoot them or to beat them to within an inch of their life. Carve up someone’s genitalia? No way! Oh, your religion demands it? Well go ahead then, cut into that infant. Rather than a fountain of morality, human dignity and compassion, religion seems the opposite. By contrast, you’ve not heard of anyone killed or maimed in the name of disbelief in God.
It’s a very ignorant and insulting claim that atheists can not be moral people when so much evil, so much wickedness and so much cruelty has been committed and is still being committed in the name of some religious belief. It’s time that this argument be put to rest.
Your faith does not give you the moral high ground and I will not be spoken to as if I am morally deficient.
Sin is an imaginary disease. You have been told that you are unworthy and that only by honoring some precepts can you be saved. Saved from the same god who would reject you otherwise. It’s a control mechanism that uses fear of rejection and death against you. Sin is a religious concept that has no relevance for my life.
Your question stems from your mistaken understanding of atheism. There is no need to die for my disbelief in god. Atheism doesn’t define me. If someone tells me that they are Iron Man, I will tell them that I do not believe them. If someone tells me that god is real, I tell them I do not believe them either. It’s as basic as that.
People are willing to die for strongly held beliefs, that is true (and scary). The 9/11 hijackers were willing to die for their belief. Is that evidence of the veracity of their god too? If not, why not?
People cursing in the name of god or Jesus probably has more to do with US TV and films, where people continuously seem to utter “Oh my God” and “Jesus”. Isn’t that a much more simple and elegant explanation? Do you think that Muslims don’t curse? Or Hindus?
I have read C.S. Lewis, yes. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I wasn’t impressed. For instance, his “Mere Christianity” is based on the assumption that the gospels are a true and accurate representation of events. That is incredibly naive. They aren’t. Even most biblical scholars admit that the bible isn’t a history book and that there are inconsistencies and downright errors. Lewis says that “Either this man (Jesus) was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher.”
He fails to realize that there is a fourth, much more logical and simple alternative: Much like Lewis’ own Aslan, the figure of Jesus that we read about in the New Testament is a fictional character, a literary creation by men with an agenda. Lewis – like so many – makes the mistake of perhaps not taking the Bible literally but at least to take it as the accurate word of God where it comes to the words, deeds and ultimate fate of Jesus and an accurate representation of events.
This website is not allowing me to respond to your latest reply so I will do that here.
First let me say that I did not mean to imply anything offensive or arrogant about you or any atheist or anyone at all reading this with my reply. If I did I apologize. I was just trying to explain my thoughts. I understand your point of view. You say that you were a former Christian and are not now. So, you no longer believe in sin? Does that mean that you don’t do anything wrong? I can’t get my head around someone who believed once and no longer does. I guess it comes from my experience. It was so profound and moving that I cannot deny it or ever turn against what happened to me in any way. It’s just not possible. I understand also, that my arguments for God are pretty feeble, compared to your knowledge on the matter. Let’s try a different tact. I prayed last night about this and this morning I awoke with this on my mind. So, here I go.
Let me ask you some questions and I will give you my reasons for the same questions.
1. What is your motivation for doing this website and being an atheist?
My motivation although not very intellectual is Love. I have experienced God’s amazing Love and I cannot not tell people about what happened to me and explain to them the truth of it. You are correct. We have no proof of God whatsoever. It takes faith. I have never met you Joop and I know nothing about you at all, although for some strange reason I care. I don’t really care about being right or being the smartest guy in the room. I only care about doing God’s will. That is it. God’s will is this, and you already know it. To love God with all your heart and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is my true motivation. That’s what I am trying to do here in all honesty, I am no ones judge. I have also had more than one really deep experience with God that I will never forget. One saved my life and one changed my life forever.
2. What are the benefits for people that are converted to atheism (if true obviously)?
The benefits of receiving Jesus into your heart are infinite and eternal (also if true obviously).
The detriment of choosing to not accept Jesus as a propitiation for your sins is quite large actually. That would be an eternal separation from all that is good. This is not God’s doing but our choice that He gave us in free will.
The detriment of not being an atheist as I see it is nothing. When we die (physically) its done over fineto. No more existence.
3. Corroboration. Do you have any life changing experiences for the good that lead you to atheism? Do you have any corroboration for them?
I had two life changing major experiences with God during my short life here so far.
1. One happened when I was 7 years old. The instant I accepted I felt joy and peace and I ran down the street to tell my best friend at the time John what had happened. He instantly accepted Jesus as well. Although, that’s not much corroboration the fact that someone else also accepted is enough for me. His mom got pretty mad at me for what I don’t know and I couldn’t see him for a month.
2. Even though I had that experience as a child my life has seen many hardships and really tough times. In 2005 I was at my ropes end even though number 1. happened. I did not want to live anymore. I was in the process of going through with ending my life when an unexpected thing happened. A long before friend of mine who by the way accepted Christ as a result of God using my witness just stopped by my house at the right time with no invite and nothing. The next 12 hours of my life were completely horrible. I suffer to this day with extreme anxiety disorder and an extremely sensitive central nervous system that I really can’t do anything about. God also has not chosen to heal me of this. I know this is a long story but bear with me cause it happened. (The real catalyst for this story was that my now ex wife had left me out of the blue and was not coming back)
After my friend left my house I did not know what to do. He convinced me to not end my life but the incredible fear, anxiety, and serious depression was unbelievable. I was spinning, reeling, I decided that I would try to go to sleep. I somehow did. At 1:30 am in the morning I suddenly awoke. The wave of incredible emotions that I experienced were off the chart. I started to pace around the room and I knew I could not go back to sleep so I decided that I would just lay down and wait for the morning. I remember thinking. “God if you are up there and you care, now would be a good time to help me”. Bang. It happened.
I was in another place. I will describe it in detail. I knew I was not here on earth anymore. It was completely dark but I could see somehow. I was in my body but somehow I was above my body and could see in the dark. Suddenly, I realized that something was next to me. This something I realized had always been there and I just realized it. This something did not have a form or any appendages but was infinitely large. I could not get my mind around how big it was. There was also something emanating from this presence. It was ultimate Love, empathy, caring, kindness, Immense power and incredible gentleness at the same time. All the characteristics of the Love in Jesus (described in the Bible, Corinthians I believe, were coming from it to me in a very strong way. I realized this was God. He was showing me himself in a veiled form. Suddenly, He reached out and grabbed me at my solar plexus and started pulling. I screamed. It hurt so incredibly bad. What He was pulling out was all of the hurt and depression and fear and everything. It took a while but when He was done, I was floating, I remember thinking that wherever I am I do not want to leave here. It was so loving and peaceful. I do not want to go back to my life but, the moment I thought that I was back in my body.
That’s it in a nutshell but it does not end there by a long shot. I still had all the peace and over flowing joy and love from where I had just came from. I thought… what do I do? Well, I decided I will go to work. I also decided that I would never tell anyone about this because it sounded really crazy to me. The next three weeks were the best three weeks I have experience on this planet. The only thing I can relate it to is when Moses went up on the mountain and came back down glowing from the presence of God.
I told no one, but for some reason no one would leave me alone. One by one people would come up to me and exclaim that something is different about you and they implored me to tell them what it was. Even a former hated enemy of mine (who now is a close friend and lived with me) wanted to know what happened. So, whoever asked I told. I did not seek to tell anyone. The Corroboration for this story came the next week at church on my way out. A stranger came up to me and said they had been praying for me. This confused me because I did not know who they were. They explained that on that night a week before at exactly 1:30 am they woke up and had this picture of me in their mind so they decided to pray for me. I had to sit down. I would estimate that I was asked to tell what was different about me after that night about 25 times the next three weeks.
Since then I have had further corroboration for what happened to me, and the place I went to. The person that I did not know praying for me from church at exactly the time that I woke up.
I recently read the book Proof of Heaven by DR. Eben Alexander Neurosurgeon MD. He explains on page 47 this place he went to and it is where I was. I recommend this book. Why, he really was an unbeliever before his experience. His former stance was, once your brain is not functioning then there is no consciousness.
Also, I have read some poetry by Henry Vaughan from the 1600’s. He was a metaphysical poet. In his poem “The Night” he eludes to this place we both went to. I know this sounds incredible but the real proof is in what other people had to say about it. I was not going to talk about it. Since then, I have just sought to do as I have said before. God’s will.
Do you have any people that can attest to a positive change for the good in their lives by conversion to atheism?
I have a list of people that God has used me to testify to that have accepted Jesus and will proclaim the profound good it has done for them. I will give out contact information if requested to you Joop or anyone reading this if you want to talk to them or hear their story.
Here is a list of people that God has used me to witness to and have accepted Jesus and found profound change for good in their life.
[Names removed by admin. No way to verify if these people agree having their names listed here]
You see Joop. God loves us plain and simple. There is no scientific proof of it. My story is my proof. You can do with it what you like but I did not make any of it up, and I did not have a dream or whatever, because I came back changed. I will continue to try and live the best I can (with God’s help) until I finally get to be in His presence forever. I hope that I will see you there one day. Somehow I think I will know who you are. Last thing. If you did truly accept Jesus in your heart that is a great thing. Peace and Love to you my friend. I’m not sure I have anything else to offer. I am woefully inadequate in trying to argue for God. I can only give my humble story. Take care.
Hi again TJ,
I guess I never anticipated to hold such long conversations in my comments. The limit for nested comments was 5, so that’s why you couldn’t add more. I’ve upped it to the max now, which is 10. I am glad you decided to post a new comment though.
Apology accepted and thank you for offering them. Please understand that atheists are often told that we can’t be moral people, that we don’t know good from bad or that we have no feelings, for no other reason than us not believing in a god. You’ll understand why this is extremely offensive , especially because many atheists lead perfectly decent lives. Most atheists subscribe to humanist ideals. This means among other things that we want the best for our fellow humans. I won’t allow people to accuse me of being incapable of making moral decisions based on what to me is a profoundly irrational belief.
Yes, I no longer believe in sin. Sin is an offense to god or a transgression of divine law. If you don’t believe in god, offenses to that god become meaningless. That doesn’t mean I don’t do things wrong or make bad decisions sometimes. Of course I do, I am human. I can be insensitive to other people or be angry too easily or inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. But I try to be a decent, respectful, friendly person. Not for the sake of a god or eternal reward but simply out of respect for my fellow beings. I hope I do a good job at that but that is for other people to judge, not me.
My motivation for maintaining this website is explained here: https://www.beris.nl/about-this-blog/
Do I need motivation for being an atheist? I don’t need motivation for not believing in Santa Claus or elves. I simply don’t believe in those things. I do write about atheism a lot because I dislike the harm organized religion causes and because I dislike people pushing irrational ideas on others. I try to deny myself any delusions and I think that gives me to right to point out delusions to other people. Or at least I claim that right for myself.
You see, that is my problem right there. There’s no evidence, no way to make any of it even plausible and yet theists will gladly tell us what the will of their particular god is, what god thinks on issues like abortion or gay marriage or that god loves me and has a plan for me. Based on what? Do you see the arrogance inherent in that position? They are making claims that no human could ever hope to know.
Why would you assume that a lack of a belief in god must entail benefits? I don’t believe in unicorns either. What is the benefit in that? Well, one benefit is that I don’t have to sit on an uncomfortable church bench on Sunday morning, listening to one of my fellow primates making claims about the will of god, so there’s that.
One more time: atheism is a lack of belief in god or gods. You can’t convert to atheism. You convert to a belief system. Atheism is not a belief system. Atheism is neither true nor false because it is not a knowledge claim.
My corroboration for atheism is the complete lack of evidence for the existence of god and the absence of any coherent argument for the existence of god. If you are curious about my de-conversion process, you are welcome to explore my blog here. I’ve written several posts on the topic: https://www.beris.nl/tag/why-i-am-an-atheist/
Thank you for sharing your experience and some of your life story here, TJ. As I said before, I am sure your experiences were profound. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist so I will not make an attempt to deconstruct or debunk them. I am not equipped to do that. That being said, please keep in mind that life altering experiences have been reported by people from all faiths and even from faithless people. If you’d been a Hindu, you might have claimed you had an encounter with Vishnu. Our brain is highly susceptible and not reliable when it comes to recording and remembering events.
I am glad to read that you have found peace in your beliefs.
Take care, TJ!
Sorry Joop… I’m not so good at this internet thing or blogging or what to do…. I must have messed that up somehow. Indeed Joop, I have found peace. It is amazing. I completely respect your position and I don’t discount it at all. I totally understand now where you are coming from. It is quite a completely logical stance. I must say.
Thank you for your comments about my experience. It has greatly affected me. Please understand that I did not post a list of people that have been affected by my witness as anything that I am proud about. I have not done anything. Like, God needs me. I was just trying in the only way I know how to give you proof. Scientific proof does not exist about this topic. The only benefit that anyone that has come into contact with me was NOT from me because I know I am but a mere breath in this universe. The very fact that I was allowed to see any affect of what I have done is completely and only Jesus himself working through this flawed human that I am. I just have one more question. And it may sound kind of arrogant, I don’t know.
I know only myself. I am an enigma. A paradox. I am a total realist, and at the same time I completely and utterly believe the biblical story of Jesus and the whole thing. Here is the thing. I can’t be any other way. I must be real. It is because of these real experiences that I have had that I must share. But there is something I don’t understand about this. Here it is…
If it were me and I did not believe in what I do I would completely be a different person in a moment. Other people’s made up rules about how I should act would make no sense to me. If there is no internal moral code given to all of us humans by God when we are born…… then why do I have to care about anyone other than myself? What is the point? If, we don’t live forever in some state and when we die that’s it….. then really nothing really matters. The only thing that would matter to me would be to live just completely for myself and any experience I could get or advantage because I may die at any moment and then what? There would be nothing. Humankind’s made up rules really don’t hold anything because everything is over before you know it. I cannot live a fake life. This is why I challenged you about atheism because I don’t understand anything else. If there really is no power other than this brief life than how can anything matter? You don’t have to answer that because it’s just my thing.
In fact, you, probably in truth are a much better person than me because of what I just described. To live any other way if there is no God to me is preposterous, but you are doing it. I am amazed. But, I must say this. There is a story in the Bible and I am sure you know it. Let me chat that up a bit.
It’s a parable from Jesus. The rich young ruler and Lazarus who had leprosy. They both died and Lazarus went to be with God but the rich ruler did not. Jesus explains why and even though the ruler begs to go tell his relatives the truth so that they won’t come where he is. He is denied. God says that if you are raised from the dead they still won’t believe. Each received what they had done in this life. Sorry, I know this is becoming another book. Then we fast forward to revelations where all the people are standing before God in the great white throne judgment. Some say… wait we cast out demons in your name and we did all these things how can we not be in? God says, I never knew you and They were cast out. Then a multitude said wait…. we are in? What did we do? God says to them… basically, that whenever you have done good to any of the least of those My brethren you did it to me. Enter into everlasting joy that your father has prepared for you. Abraham, lived long before Jesus and what he did was attributed to him as righteousness because he obeyed God in almost sacrificing his son to Him. This was way before Jesus. So, did John the Baptist……..I hope I’m not losing you here but. I am no ones judge. If you live by a good moral code who am I to say that that is not right. If I believed there was no God I certainty wouldn’t, but my fear of God is not hell, although that is scary. The bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I know I’m not any good by comparing myself to God, but you choose to be a good person, claiming that there is no God… this is again amazing to me. I’m no judge. Okay, but, I’m curious too. What do you believe truly will happen to you when you die? Lights out?
Funny, do you know what your name means? I’m pretty sure you do. Joop means God will increase. My name means honoring God which is what I try to do….. that’s all I have for now. Peace out my friend.
God speed or no God speed.
Hi again, TJ!
Nothing you did, don’t worry about it. It was just a setting, which I changed.
That’s what I think, yes. It’s the only conclusion that makes sense to me. The only conclusion that’s not based on faith or assumptions. But that’s my point of view.
I removed the list of people because I can’t verify if they want their name published here, that’s the only reason. I respect people’s privacy. I’m not suggesting you don’t, don’t worry.
Flawed as you might be, as we all might be, I think you’re selling yourself short there. Whatever the effect you have on the life of others, that’s all you. Or all me. Nothing supernatural, no external force working through you. Just you, for better or for worse. I know that’s not what you believe but it is what happened according to me.
That is a deep question, isn’t it? What does it all matter? Ultimately, it depends on your point of view. You can take the position that if life is only temporary, it doesn’t matter how we live. In fact, we might as well end it right now and get it over with. Why bother? And I think some people actually do live that way.
For me, I look at it differently. I think our life is precious because it is short. We are alive now and we should savor that experience, relish in the pleasures this world offers us, seek out experiences and the company of others for its own sake. Not because it will endure forever but precisely because it doesn’t. Theists always assume that atheists have nothing to live for. But that’s not true. We have nothing to die for. I know that someday I will die. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in 40 or 50 years. No one knows.
To me, when I think about it, the real horror is not death. The real horror is the idea of living for eternity. One of the problems of Christianity is that it never developed a coherent picture of heaven. Hell is an eternity of torture (never mind for a second the immorality of eternal punishment for temporary crime…) but heaven? An eternity of happiness and bliss? I would postulate that is impossible. Happiness exists only because it comes in small doses. You could be wealthy, married to a wife who looks like a model, have sweet kids who are brilliant in school, have everything you could possibly wish for in life. How long will this make you happy? I’ll be generous and give it a year. But sooner or later, you’re going to want something more, you’ll want something else. No matter how much variety and how much pleasure and joy there is in heaven: it’s for eternity. You’re going to get bored. You’re going to go crazy. And there’s no way to end it. Eternal life may sound good but it isn’t when you give it some thought.
If you are sincere when you say that you would only care about yourself if not for the moral code you think you got from god, we should hope that you never lose your faith. That is psychopathic thinking. But I wonder if you truly believe that. You must have someone in your life that you care about. Would you stop caring for that person if you learned that morality doesn’t come from a god? Would you stop wishing that person well or stop helping them if they were in need?
No, you’ve got that wrong, TJ. I don’t choose to be a good person. I think I am a good person, always have been. When I wasn’t a Christian, when I briefly was and now again when I am not. I wasn’t a better person as a Christian and I’m not a worse person now. I genuinely don’t wish people harm, I wish everyone is happy and healthy. I don’t carry hate or a grudge. If you respect me, I will respect you. Of course I have people who are closer to my heart than others but basically I wish others all the best. There’s no conscious effort in that.
What happens when I die? Yes, then it’s lights out. I can’t know this for certain but everything seems to point that way, at least. I think oblivion awaits us.
Okay Joop, that’s totally rational. I would piece out your comments like you do mine but I don’t know how to do that, so I have to respond to the reply as a whole. I may forget some things that you have said.
Alright, because you are a very intelligent person let me ask you this. Can you at least admit even for just a second that your logical thinking may be wrong? Even just a little? I will admit (as hard as it may be for me to think) that because we are having this diatribe, I have to as, a realist for respect to you, I must at least consider the fact that your perspective may be correct and mine may be a fantasy. So, I did that but, my logical brain won’t let me accept it. I cannot let go of the love that I feel in my heart for other people. Not the people who are close to me but everyone. Where did this care or love come from? Why is there not evil and hatred in my heart? Just to be real, and to back up my discussion I do certain things. For instance, I have 4 sponsored children (3 in Kenya and 1 in the US). I have never met them. The program is called won by one. The other thing is I support my ex wife and son, because I feel responsible for them. It has been a very long time since my divorce but I still feel responsible. I do not tell you this as a form of pride or like I want praise or anything. I’m just trying to provide proof to you that Jesus is real in a proof less argument if you will. Where did this care for them come from?
I have had a very hard troubled life and at the same time I am extremely blessed. I have had the American dream and I have lost it all and have been on the street with nothing. But, through it all I have kept my little bit of faith, Now, as I write this God has restored me. I am again blessed even more than before. Kind of like Job in the Bible. But, I don’t want more. I have more than I need, much more, so I try to help others. I have to live real. Now let’s go back to my previous paragraph. If God is real and His wisdom is Omnipotent then don’t you think that heaven would be something so much greater than we can imagine? Way more than this life. If imperfection cannot be with perfection, because then the whole thing would be imperfect the story of Jesus makes sense. I don’t live for money or power or anything but to live for Him because He saved me. Hell, is not anything other than an eternity separated from any good whatsoever. Please entertain that thought for just a second.
I know now that you have explained it to me that this is just a part of Pascal’s wager but what if? What can I say or do Joop to persuade you? Love is real. That means God is real. As a person with a mathematical brain I cannot make that gamble. Even if there is a chance even the smallest chance that we can think of that God is real and every good thing we can see around us is from Him and to reject Him would mean an eternity without good (hell) then how can we not want God? In fact we do and we enjoy it every day. Light, air, good, warmth, the very world we live in…..How can I prove it to you? This love that is in my heart was not put there by me. I will give up everything that I have if it were to mean that just 1 person would come to the knowledge of the truth. How in a real world way can I prove it to you? This love that is in my heart is not from me, I know it. I have no ulterior motives. Is there a way to prove it without faith? Please understand, I just must be real. I may die shortly or in a few years but I must share this love that I have been given to others or I am a liar. What harm can it do to you? Just please at least consider accepting Jesus even if you think it is ridiculous and see if He is real. He will show you. He, loves you it is not I. It transcends all of my intelligence. I know I am rambling… sorry. Peace to you my friend.
You give me too much credit. Sure, logic can be flawed when used incorrectly. And since I am only human, I can make mistakes. I have no problem admitting that. However, I need to remind you again that I am not making a knowledge claim here. I am not saying that I know for a fact that there is no god. I don’t think anybody can honestly make that claim. What I am saying is this: based on information available, there is no reason to assume there is a god. There is no evidence pointing in that direction and no theory to make that plausible. Therefore, logically, there is no valid reason to assume a god exists.
Now if you, or anyone else, can present me with a sound logical argument or a piece of evidence where the only plausible conclusion must be the existence of a deity, I will change my mind. That’s the rational thing to do.
Now why do I say that it must be the only plausible conclusion?
I think David Hume was quite correct when he said: “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the facts which it endeavors to establish.” Hume was talking about miracles here but the same sentiment holds true for gods. Or more recently, as popularized by Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
So if someone says they’ve had an extraordinary, life changing experience where Jesus spoke to them, the most plausible explanation is not that Jesus did actually speak to them. That would be extraordinary. The more plausible explanation would have to be that either:
Each of these possible explanations is far simpler and therefore more likely to be accurate. We know people have hallucinations and dreams, we know people can misapprehend and we know that people tell lies. Each of these explanations is more plausible and more preferable than the explanation that Jesus actually spoke to that person. That would raise an awful lot more questions than it answered. Even saying “I don’t know what happened, I can’t explain it”, is more honest. Now, I am not accusing you of lying but I am explaining my reasoning.
Why do you assume this care and love came from somewhere outside of you? Why do you assume that evil and hatred is normally in your heart, unless there’s a supernatural intervention? Your reason and evidence do not support your conclusion.
And if my aunt had wheels, she’d be a wagon. Those are pretty big ‘ifs’.
This is a non sequitur. It simply doesn’t follow that if love is real, then god must be real.
You can’t prove anything with faith, TJ. We only take things on faith when we have no way of verifying if it’s true. If we had facts, we wouldn’t need faith. Much greater minds than you and I have debated the existence or non-existence of god and the best we have so far is “we can’t be sure”. If we’re talking about a specific god with specific characteristics, it may be possible to prove or disprove that god to the point where a reasonable person would accept the conclusion. That’s the best we can do in philosophy and rational discourse. Absolute proof exists only in mathematics.
I mean no disrespect, but reading your comment ‘as it stands, Jesus may well be an entirely made up individual’ calls a lot into question. Having gone back to school for purely personal reasons in my 30s, having once been an atheist and not one any longer, and having focused on NT scholarship, philosophy and evolution, I have to raise a red flag at that quote. No one in historical scholarship takes that kind of speaking seriously. Those like Carrier who make such assertions are not seen as honest historians. I mean that’s a borderline joke. Anyone with less than even a Bachelor’s of training in historical methodology, etc. cannot honestly make such a statement. I’m not sure how to explain such a justification process without it being motivated by some level of bias. I will address only this comment, as there are 24 hours in a day and my process of leaving atheism took almost a decade.
All I can do is encourage you to be as honest and open as you can with yourself and whatever things you have to process through such as anger and suffering and all the intellectual wrestling. A lot of the contradictions mentioned earlier in the link are addressed, many somewhat easily. The thing is it involves a lot of work. A lot. And it’s unpaid. You will have to read a lot of biblical scholarship on both sides.
I’m tempted to go on but really the individual has to put in the unbiased work. I truly hope that you are pursuing this subject matter with as much humility and attention to your own biases, ambitions, past traumas, and preconceived notions as possible. I wish you fruitfulness in your continued search.
Hi Michael, I don’t see polite disagreement as disrespect, don’t worry. I’m aware that the claims of Richard Carrier and other mythicists are a fringe opinion among historical and biblical scholars. Personally, I am not a mythicist. By that, I mean that it’s my personal opinion that beneath all the myth building, errors, forgery and mistranslation undergone by the four canonical gospels, there is an element of truth. I think the Jesus character we encounter in the gospels is based on a real (or perhaps a number of real) person. That’s not to say that I think this person was the son of a god or performed any miracles.
The problem is that outside of the canonical gospels, there is (to my knowledge anyway) not a single historical fact known about the person the gospels refer to as “Jesus of Nazareth”. And even the details in the gospels are scant. There are problems with the gospels themselves as well. We don’t know who wrote them, they were written at least decades after the supposed facts they relate, they are not consistent with each other plus they clearly built on each other. I can’t seem them as separate or reliable sources for those reasons.
None of this is proof that there never was a historical Jesus. But I do think that who the historical Jesus really was and what he taught, is lost to us. Shrouded by the mists of time and 2 millennia of myth building, accidental and deliberate distortion, I don’t think we’ll ever know who he really was. Unless we find additional sources.
Did you get my response? It was lengthy and I dont see it..
I run this blog in my spare time so you’ll have to be a bit patient sometimes…
Okay Joop, I will put away my simple arguments for God and leave you with this.
Love is real, therefore God is real, because God is love.
My primary motivation in speaking to you and showing others in real world ways is Love. Because I have experienced it in a most profound way I must share it or I am a liar.
I met beautiful, unconditional, pure, Love in my NDE. This really motivates me.
I don’t go sit in a hard pew and listen to a “fellow primate tell me what he thinks Gods will is”, I go because love is there.
Love is what I think finally convinced C.S. Lewis.
Love is what convinced my three former atheist friends.
Some of the worlds most profound thinkers believed in God. (Love)
Albert Einstein alluded to it in his statement. “The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”
This is what I have at least partially experienced.
More smart people who believed in God.
I truly believe in God (love) and I wish to share it with others. I have no ulterior motives.
May the true creator (love) awash you with His presence so that you may know the truth and it will set you free. This is my prayer. Peace to you my friend.
Hi again TJ,
Your arguments aren’t that simple but they are fundamentally flawed when you look at the logic. I’ll give you an example:
For the first part we are agreed, if we define love as an emotion that humans experience. After that, your logic falls apart. It’s not that your conclusion is incorrect by definition but your argument already assumes the conclusion to be true. We call this “petitio principii”, which translates as “assuming the conclusion”. It’s more commonly known as a “begging the question fallacy”.
We can render your argument as follows:
Premise 1 is lacking any foundation thus your entire argument crumbles to nothing. We don’t know yet if god is real so we can’t assign any properties to this god.
Let me use the same logic to prove something else:
See how that works? I can exchange Jesus for Iron Man if you like. Or I can put my name there because I like sushi. So the conclusion might be true but you don’t get there in a proper, logical way.
Science has a pretty good understanding where feelings of love come from. In essence, love is a feeling produced by a chemical cocktail in the brain and is entirely dependent on the brain. Love is never outside the brain, it’s not a separate entity (just like evil isn’t). In fact, by influencing the hormone balance in the brain, scientists can induce feelings of love, compassion, etc. There is nothing supernatural at work here.
See these articles for more on that:
So while it is great that you feel changed by your near death experience, to the rational observer there is no supernatural cause at work.
I can produce an equally long list of profound thinkers who didn’t. Also, many people in the past outwardly professed a belief in god because not doing so, put them at real risk of torture, imprisonment and death at the hands of the church. Galileo Galilei is good example of that. For many of them, we don’t know how they really thought in private.
Einstein was an agnostic. I even have a copy of one of his letters where he writes that himself right here on my blog. See here, about 2/3 into the article: https://www.beris.nl/2017/03/11/christianity-isnt-true/
I understand that you mean well, TJ. You are of course free to speak about what you believe but if you hope to convince people like me, you’re going to need a better set of arguments.
Will you sacrifice a goat too? Saying that you’ll pray for me is condescending and literally a waste of breath. Prayer accomplishes nothing. See if you can pray for the corona virus to go away tomorrow. If you can accomplish that, then we can talk. Please don’t tell unbelievers you’ll pray for them. Most of us really hate that.
Fair enough. I did not mean to be condescending. So, for that I apologize. Prayer has worked for me and I have seen quite a few miracles, in my time. I see the pragmatism of why discussing this by logic isnt working.
I don’t believe that Love is a feeling. It is an action, a decision. I may feel lovey dovey or feel hatred but those are feelings. God is not a feeling. God is a person. You will have to forgive me now, but scripture is coming. “No greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friends.”
If I say I love my friend because I feel love for him but I don’t give him any food when he is starving. How is that love? I must make a decision, take action in order to show my love for him. This is what I mean. Real Love usually costs the giver something.
So, if I take a loving action towards a fellow human to help where help is needed. I am loving him. Thus showing that God (love) is living in my heart. If I say I have Love but take no action this is false. How can I give something from nothing? Not sure I am making any sense.
I cant go back to the way I used to be before my NDE, mostly just caring for myself. God put his genuine powerful Love in my heart and now for some strange reason I care for complete strangers. This is also proof because it did not come from me. Anyway, I totally respect your feelings and viewpoints on the matter. We will just have to agree to disagree.
Peace and good will or whatever wont offend you my friend. I am not any better than anyone else.
No problem, I just wanted to say that “praying for people to learn the truth” isn’t a nice thing to say. I’ve never once said that what I am saying is the truth and that you should adopt my way of thinking. I’m not selling something here. I just want people to examine – honestly examine – why they believe something.
As far as prayer is concerned, I suggest you research confirmation bias. It’s a very interesting psychological phenomenon. And no, you have not seen miracles. Witnessed something inexplicable maybe, but just because you can’t explain something, doesn’t mean nobody can. And even if nobody can explain something that doesn’t validate the conclusion that it must have been an act of god. You’d need actual evidence for that. Extraordinary evidence.
Yes, I agree that would be best because our discussion seems at an end. I don’t think there are rational arguments I can make that would encourage you to reexamine your position. Similarly, your arguments are not compelling enough to motivate me to reexamine mine. I thank you for our respectful interaction and I wish you all the best.
Beg to differ Joop. I have seen things that are bonifide miracles. But what’s the point of explaining them. Furthermore, you are definitely selling something. The belief there is no God or the lack of God, or whatever… non theism. Well, Prove that there is no God. Just as hard……
I was going to go down the road of transcendent logic… but I am sure thats moot as well. Its alright. Whats the harm in love. Oops there I go again.
You have seen things which you choose to label as miracles. Big difference.
I meant that in the context of our discussion. I am indeed advocating for rational thought and non-theism.
It’s actually impossible because there is not even a definition of god so there’s no way to know what I am supposed to disprove. However, there’s no need to disprove something which hasn’t been shown to exist yet.
Since we agreed to end the discussion, I won’t be drawn into another debate again. We’d just be going round in circles.
There is more evidence that Jesus exists than Julius Ceaser but i bet you believe in him and i’m talking about real evidence not the bible
First of all, there is an awful lot of evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar:
There is no body of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus anywhere. If there were, people would not need to debate the existence of a historical Jesus because we would know. Just like there is no debate about the existence of Julius Caesar because we know he was a real person.
Well said. The evidence for Jesus in a historical context is pretty weak. I’ve taken a look at most of the outside evidence. On the other hand, the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar is strong. As is that of other Roman emperors. We often have historical details on their early lives, ascent to power, and often a not-so-kind demise. To disbelieve that Caesar existed is the same as disbelieving in Cleopatra, Justinian, King Edward I of England, and even Abraham Lincoln.
Exactly, yes. There are multiple independent attestations for all those figures. These simply do not exist anywhere for a historical Jesus, hence why people like Richard Carrier can make a reasonable case for Jesus as a mythical or fictional character. I’m not saying I am agreeing with Carrier, but the fact that such a case can be made, shows how weak the evidence is.
[Comment removed because it violated the commenting guidelines]
[…] even to the most sanctimonious of Christians. He doesn’t speak at all because the Christian God doesn’t […]
Just a question What are your thoughts or opinions on the pope?
Not sure that is relevant to this article (see the commenting guidelines: https://www.beris.nl/blog/commenting-guidelines/) but to address your question really quickly:
I think Francis has been lax and negligent dealing with the various child abuse cases brought against Roman Catholic clergy. I find this unforgivable. You’d think the Roman Catholic church would have learnt something by now. He also seems to be mostly against the use of contraceptives, which is completely irresponsible given the proven effectiveness of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS. He’s also expressed disapproval of the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage.
I am not a fan of the man or his organization.
I absolutely agree with you most “proof” that Christian’s have are just stuff we aren’t technological advanced to know for example, “what created the big bang in the first place” we don’t know for sure but we are getting closer to the answer. One thing that also troubled me about religion is we have had so many gods in the past thousand of years that what makes Buddhism or Christianity true? I don’t know what it is with our species for us to find a omnipotent being to worship I never really got why we do that. Nonetheless I completely agree with your arguments and I don’t know how to end this but yeah
One possible explanation for the invention of gods is that it was a way to make sense of things before we understood the underlying natural causes. Ignorance and fear made *any* explanation better than no explanation at all. If the village got flooded, and people asked why it happened, the answer “I don’t know” wasn’t very satisfactory. We humans tend to see patterns everywhere, even where none exist. That seems to be how our brains work. We also tend to see agency at work behind these patterns. Someone or something causes the river to flood. Ordinary humans can’t make the river flood, so it must be something of greater potency than ordinary humans. Perhaps it was an evil spirit or a god? So the explanation “we must have angered the river god”, even if it is not a proper explanation, is for many people preferable. Especially if the idea exists that the river god can be appeased by the proper offerings. This gives at least the illusion of influence or control.
Of course, hucksters and frauds would be quick to take advantage of this, claiming they could make the necessary intercessory prayers on behalf of the village…for the right price. Add a superstitious belief here and a rumored miracle there, and your first primitive religion is born.
Gradually, these local spirits and gods fused to become more regional gods. The pantheons got smaller and smaller until the idea arose that perhaps all these phenomenon weren’t controlled by many gods but by aspects of one and the same god. A god that was very convenient when rulers and kings needed something to base their authority on. They were the son of or high-priest of or appointed by the god of the people. Hence the conclusion of Seneca: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
I don’t know if this is what happened and it most likely is a gross over-simplification of the entire process. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some truth to it.
Thanks for your comment!
When we die, we won’t even know we did. Actually, that’s a true relief (to know now). We’re so afraid of death, that we grasp onto the “eternal life” thing. It is so interesting to me, as to the “origin” of, coming up with gods and religions. We are truly on our own throughout, and no invisible, spiritual being is with us.
Dear, Joob Beris
You clearly are too stubborn to listen to the word of God. You just make yourself sound stupid and dumb. These are stupid reasons not to believe in God. I mean clearly you have been terribly miss-informed. I am Christian Harris, Junior at Lutheran High School. I can say all Christians who read your article are probably laughing at this stupidity. You need to listen and let it sink in. I’ll start with number 10.
We can’t physically see God. What we mean by that is if we see something that you know God would be proud of, for example; homeless kids dancing and singing and hanging out with new friends, we call that a “Jesus sighting.” Also, technically yes we are speaking for God. Why? Because us Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, who gives us the spirit and the pride and power to preach confidently about God’s words and spread the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Eighty five percent of phycologist agree that Jesus DID agree, because historical evidence and the timeline matches up with the facts. AND the dead sea scrolls where actually made BEFORE Jesus was ever born. Plus scientist theory’s of the origin of the Earth continue to crumble. And if you think about it, our religion is unique because it is the ONLY religion that, 1 says there is no hope for you to enter paradise, and 2, instead of us pleasing and serving God, God serves us and gives us hope. For that, we Christians feel it is right to return the favor.
Yes it is sad that bad things happen to good people, and it’s the innocent who die instead of the criminals, but the thing is, God didn’t want that to happen in the first place. It is because of the devil – Satan- that sin has entered this world. And scripture says that sin has separated us from God, and God can’t do anything about it. Of course God loves us. He doesn’t want us to suffer in hell for eternity, he wants us to live with him in heaven. Because of sin, we have been lost from our father, but he is bound and determined to find us, his children, and through Jesus, we have been found.
Yes I understand that God can easily appear in front of all of us at the same time and we all will believe, but he can’t do that. It is our choice to believe if Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later, not God’s. If we believe, we are saved. But we can’t just wait for God to show up, we have to make up our minds now.
I can agree that there are sometimes where Jesus is a little bit negative (for example; Jesus calling Peter “Satan”, right after Peter was blessed by Jesus), but Jesus doesn’t want us to hate our neighbors. I want you to re-read Matthew 5:43-44, and think on that for a moment. Our neighbors are our friends AND enemies.
I’m kind of confused on your 5th opinion. But what it sound’s like your are saying is because Jesus didn’t do a good job of his mission, he has failed. You also state that you would have done a better job. Would you have taken that place on the cross for billions of people. Even that wouldn’t be enough to save us from eternal damnation, because you are a sinful man, and you deserve to die on that cross just like everyone of us. Jesus was perfect and didn’t deserve to be put to death, but he died for us so we don’t have to.
Of course we trust God! He won’t make our lives easy for us. You are obviously a literalist and you take everything literal. We trust God’s words and teachings, and we have hope and a purpose in life, we just have to trust God and see what he has in store for us.
Logic isn’t the answer to everything. God can’t just for give our sins and let us in heaven. We have been separated from God because of that. And we can’t enter the gates of Heaven because of that. God sent his only son, Jesus Crist, to live on Earth. Jesus was born of a VIRGIN, which is impossible, and he lived a perfect life and taught many people. He performed miracles and taught us how to live our lives and tell us that God doesn’t want to live in heaven without us. Because he was perfect and sinless, he doesn’t deserve to die on the cross! But he was the ultimate sacrifice and carried our sins on that cross, and died for us so we don’t have to pay the same price. And because of Jesus, we have been forgiven of our sins and have been granted access into the heavenly kingdom of God. That is fantastic news!
God did write the bible, through humans. He told us what to wright, and those are LITERALLY God’s words. I want you to name some errors in the bible, and I’ll prove you wrong! If people read the bible from cover to cover, I GARENTEE you that there would be MILLIONS more believers than atheists. You just haven’t spent time reading the bible.
It is extremely hard to read this article and not make negative comments about this stupidity. You obviously don’t understand what you are talking about. We can’t just pray for a million dollars and we instantly become millionaires, that’s not how life works. We pray for successful surgeries and ask Jesus to guide the surgeons, it usually works, we ask for a safe and healthy recovery and over time, we are healthy. We pray for comfort for those who’s loved ones have passed, within a month, they have moved on ad are as happy as can be, but they never will forget their loved ones, God has comforted them, and tells us that our loved ones are with him in heaven. That is comforting news. Prayer doesn’t always work, but when it does, it never happens instantly, it happens over time. We just need to trust God, because he knows what he is doing. I hope you can do the same.
So I hope this all was helpful for you, and you would re-evaluate your beliefs. I don’t expect you to believe right away, but I hope you will find Jesus in the near future, and have hope and live a life full of meaning and purpose. Because I KNOW that God is INDEED real, and I know Jesus has risen from the dead. I pray for the best for you and hope that God will find you soon.
God’s blessings to you!
Christian Harris; Junior in High School
Dear Christian Harris,
I almost didn’t publish this comment since you are in violation of the commenting guidelines (https://www.beris.nl/blog/commenting-guidelines/). However, you say you are a junior in high school and you obviously spent some time writing your reply so I decided to cut you some slack. Hopefully you (if you’re coming back to read this) and others can learn something from my reply.
Instead of countering all of your statements, I’m going to offer you some advice:
When you’re trying to convince someone you are right and they are wrong, don’t use words such as “stupid”, “dumb” or “misinformed”. That immediately shuts down any meaningful discussion. You turn your opponent in the discussion into an enemy and that’s a bad strategy.
Also, don’t make assumptions about people. You assume that I’ve been misinformed and that I haven’t read the bible. You couldn’t be more wrong. There was a time when I was a devout Christian and I actively studied the bible. I probably would have dismissed this article at that time myself. However, I found out that Christianity didn’t have all the answers. You can explore my blog for details about that if you’re interested.
Most importantly, never close your mind to what someone else has to say. Don’t simply reject their argument because you don’t like it or think it’s stupid. It’s much more productive for a discussion if you try to understand why someone has a certain opinion. Ask “why” questions.
When you’re trying to refute a statement someone makes, don’t just make a contradictory statement and leave it at that. Explain why they should see it your way, where the mistakes in their reasoning are and what faulty assumptions they may have made. Otherwise you’re just nay-saying. The lengthy comment you’ve left me can be summed up as: “You’re stupid and wrong and I’m right and this is what you should believe”. Would that convince anyone? Would that convince you if someone said that about something you believe in?
If you’re going to quote statistics, make sure they’re relevant to the discussion. You mention “Eighty five percent of phycologist agree that Jesus DID agree, because historical evidence and the timeline matches up with the facts“. Now, phycology is the study of algae (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phycology) so I’m guessing you meant to say psychology or philosophy. However, even if we assume that psychologists or philosophers are in agreement about historical evidence, that is a meaningless statistic unless those people also have a degree in archaeology or paleography. They are different branches of science!
Quoting bible verses, mentioning sin, satan or the holy spirit isn’t going to convince people who are atheists. The bible to me is simply mythology, sin is a religious concept but doesn’t affect my life in any way and the holy spirit or satan are just characters in your mythology. They’re no different to me than Thor, Zeus or Vishnu. You’ll need different arguments to convince me and atheists in general. See here for a bit more on that: https://www.beris.nl/blog/2016/03/21/holy-books-arent-proof/
As to my fifth reason why god isn’t real: no, I would not have taken the place on the cross. I’m saying that even me, as someone who is not omniscient, can think of a better way to reconcile with humanity or to reveal myself to humanity than a supposedly omniscient and omnipotent god.
I would urge you to evaluate your beliefs and to question them with an open mind. Ask questions like “Why do I believe this?” or “How can I know this is true?” Read something other than the bible or Christian books. Test your faith and see if it holds up under scrutiny. I know that you’ve probably been warned against such things but do it anyway. If you’re right, your faith will only become stronger. If not, you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.
Wishing you the best!
Thank you for the advise. I appreciate it. Let me say this before I go. Just because people say or think something is true, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. Like Christians say that God is real and Jesus died and rose again. Ok so that doesn’t make it true, yes. But it is what is said in the bible that makes me believe that this is more likely the case. Atheists’ like you say God isn’t real, there is no such thing as a God. Well that’s not a scientific fact. So it isn’t true, at least not yet. Is it possible God isn’t real? Absolutely. But even to this day, scientist struggle to combat against the teachings in the bible, there are still debates if God is real or not.
So I respect your opinions, and I’m sorry for the rude words I threw out at you. But we can all believe what we wanna believe, but that doesn’t make it true.
I’ll leave you with something to think about.
I have been taught in school that people try to disprove that Jesus never existed. I have learned of a term that ashiest or scientist must follow in order to actually prove that Jesus isn’t real. It is called F.E.A.T. which means this.
F means Fatal wounds – Jesus’ wounds that he has received that makes it impossible for him to have survived
E means Empty Tomb – When the disciples go to the tomb, they find it empty.
A means Appearance – Jesus appears in front of the disciples as a physical living human being
T means Transformation – Disciples went from hiding from death, to being willing to die for their beliefs; Saul’s transformation to Paul
How this works is that if someone comes up with a theory, and it follows these 4 claims, that theory is true, and Jesus isn’t real. Seems simple, right? Let me give you the most two common claims.
– Stolen Body: The Disciples have stolen the body and claim that Jesus has risen from the dead. Now it explains the F and E. But it doesn’t explain A and T. The body of Jesus is still dead right? So how did he appear in front of the disciples as a physical human being. And would the disciples really die for that belief. Maybe up until it is just the right moment and give them the truth.
– The Swoon Theory: Jesus fell unconscious doing his crucifixion. This is the most common theory. Let’s see what we got. It explains E. Jesus leaves the tomb. And it explains A, as he is able to appear in front of the disciples as a living human being. But it doesn’t quite explain F. There is NO WAY Jesus could have survived the wipes and the blows and the harshness he received from the romans. Plus, when the Guards went to kill him and the two men who were also being crucified, they found that Jesus was already dead.They checked by stabbing a spear in his stomach, and blood and clear water leaked out, indicating that Jesus has died. It doesn’t explain T either. Would Paul (or in this case Saul) be transformed if he has heard of rumors that Jesus survived the crucifixion and was just unconscious. I highly doubt that, but like I said before, it would be possible.
Now logically, combining theories ,like the stolen body theory and adding in hallucinations, makes it more unlikely that it is true. It is possible, but by my scientist perspective, I think it is extremely unlikely for 12 men to have the exact same hallucinations at the exact same time.
If you can think of a theory that goes along with F.E.A.T. let me know, and we will negotiate. I actually wat you to think on this. And if you still don’t believe, than that’s ok, I don’t expect you to. I just want what is best for you. Any ways, think about this and let me know your opinions. God’s blessings to you! – Christian
Hello again Christian,
Thank you for stopping by again and getting back to me. Thank you also for your apology, I accept and no hard feelings.
I think I need to clarify something to you about atheists. Most atheists, myself included, don’t say that there is no such thing as a god. We can’t possibly know this for sure. I, like most other atheists, simply say that based on available evidence, there is insufficient reason to believe in a god. I explain things in more detail here: https://www.beris.nl/blog/what-is-atheism/
Also, concerning science, I should clarify that science isn’t preoccupied with what the bible has to say. The bible isn’t a scientific document. Science is the systematic pursuit of understanding of how the universe works. Scientists use the scientific method to find information, form hypotheses and rigorously test these hypotheses to see if they hold up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method). Hypotheses that work are kept, refined and so on. Hypotheses that fail are rejected or amended. Science follows the evidence where it leads. Using the scientific method, we have increased our understanding of the universe immensely. So much so that in areas where people used to invoke a god as an explanation, we no longer have to do that because we have sufficient hypotheses or explanations from science. We certainly don’t know everything yet but that what we have learned, does not point to a god. The opposite has so far never been the case. There is no area of scientific research where we used to have a scientific explanation and we now have a superior religious explanation.
The FEAT method that you refer to is something I haven’t heard before. I have heard the stolen body explanation and the swoon explanation before but I personally don’t know of any atheist who takes those seriously. I know that I don’t. This seems to be coming from the works of Lee Strobel, a well known Christian apologist.
The FEAT method is a tactic where a believer such as yourself attempts to set the goalposts of a discussion, giving someone an impossible task of reconciling a number of statements and if they can’t do it, exclaim that the believer must be right. However, there are a number of assumptions underlying these statements which should be accepted by both parties before you can set these goalposts. I don’t accept those assumptions. You’re assuming that:
Shocking as it may be to many Christians, the bible isn’t a history book. The contents of the bible today are the result of centuries of editing, copying (and introducing errors in the process), revising, and downright forgery. For instance, several of the letters attributed to the apostle Paul are recognized to be forgeries by most biblical scholars (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_epistles). The events surrounding the life and death of Jesus are not corroborated by outside sources, meaning we have no independent way of verifying what may have happened. This is crucial in establishing if the events actually happened.
We know that the bible isn’t accurate. For instance, it isn’t even internally consistent when describing the events of the crucifixion, an event that is central to the faith. Read the gospels side by side and you’ll see this clearly.
Since the bible tells us so little about a historical Jesus and since we have no other documents from the period as corroboration, we can’t even be sure that there ever was a Jesus. He may be an entirely fictional character, he may be based on one or even several messianic figures who were active at the time or maybe there was an actual Jesus who had disciples and taught perhaps a form of Gnosticism. We don’t know.
Just as there is little information about the life and death of Jesus, there is little reliable information on the lives and martyrdom of the apostles. We don’t know if any of them actually died for their belief (or if they were real people). But even if they did die for their belief, many religions have a tradition of martyrdom so all this would prove is that people are willing to die for a belief which they think is worth dying for.
Based on the information available to us, we can’t know any of these things for sure. Since we can’t know, we should be intellectually honest and admit that we can’t know. What we should not do, is jump to conclusions and believe something on insufficient evidence.
I realize that this may be a lot for you to take in. I think it took me about a year to come to this realization. So again, don’t take my word for it. I am not telling you that you shouldn’t believe. All I am doing, is urging you to do your own research. Get out of your comfort zone and read books that challenge your beliefs. I recommend “Godless” by Dan Barker (https://www.amazon.com/Godless-Evangelical-Preacher-Americas-2008-09-01/dp/B01MRIGQZA/ref=tmm_pap_title_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1570574746&sr=8-3). Dan Barker was an evangelical preacher who became an atheist. He explains his journey nicely in that book.
Best wishes and lots of luck!
If there is a god I blame him for all the bad things in my life as I am 67 and did believe the stupid crap for a long time until I realized no prayers ever got answered. If there is a god he has stolen millions of dollars from me and kept me poor. He would have no right to send me to a Hell as that is where he would definitely BELONG.
Hey Christian Harris. Man you have really been filled with crap. There is no god and if Jesus ever existed he is dead and buried in France with his hooker wife Mary M. The Earth is billions of years old, not just 6000 like christians say. And I’ve read the bible quite a bit and can tell that the same person wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I was raised in a Penecostal Church and am now 67 years old and not one time in my life have I ever seen prayer work. If there were to be a god and I go to hell then he will need to go there with me as he is a trillion times worse than me.
While I understand your sentiment, I doubt the most productive way to address the beliefs of religious people is to call them crap. Better to ask questions how they know things are true, why they believe them, why their beliefs are true and other religions aren’t, etc.
Thanks for your comment, though!