Atheism/Scientisim questions Christianity


While doing my typical stumbleupon’ing, I came across this atheist blog post.  I’d like to answer whatever questions I can – I don’t know them all, but we’ll role with what we have.  I am going to note that this person, while trying to attack Christianity, focuses solely on mainstream Creationism (and some false assumptions about Creationism).  I can honestly say I was not even remotely challenged in my faith or my ability to explain God from the information and revelation He has provided to us.  I hope you enjoy the read :)

What makes your story of creationism fundamentally different from all the others that exist now, have existed before, and will exist in the future?
Based on our creation account, there should be multiple similarities among other religious creation accounts if they have all been changed over time, because they should all in theory have the same roots.  Uniqueness does not quantify correctness, and any Christian that tells you otherwise needs to get his/her brain checked.  Stating that our religion is unique in all aspects is completely wrong, as we share certain elements with Judaism and even the Muslim faith (since it is also rooted in the Pentateuch).  This question doesn’t even tackle any serious issue that Christianity should be broadcasting.

How did Noah find all of the animals and get them back to the ark? Did he bring them back one pair at a time, or did they all follow him in a line as he visited other continents to collect more animals?
According to the Bible, the animals came to Noah (Genesis 7:6-10).  Is this far fetched to non-Christians?  Yes, absolutely.  Does it change the message of Jesus Christ and salvation?  Certainly not.  Does this change the testimony of Jesus Christ?  No.

What did the carnivores eat on the ark?
Carnivores can eat things other than meat, but part of God’s commandment to Noah was to take all the food he could with him on the ark for his family and the animals to eat (Genesis 6:21).  What significance does this have in regards to Jesus Christ: none.

How did koalas get to Australia after the ark washed up on that mountain?
I simply don’t know, but I could theorize that maybe there was a land bridge that has since eroded away, or has not been discovered yet.  I’m not particularly qualified to make a professional claim on that.  Sadly, we’re still not tackling any core issues with Christianity.

Why did your god make life that has to destroy other life, often cruelly, in order to survive?
Are you referring to animals that eat other animals, or that humanity often kills things to survive?  I can’t answer for God, but I could pose opposite questions: Why wouldn’t God allow things to kill each other?  Why didn’t God make all things immortal?  I don’t know.  God does whatever He wants to do, in my perspective on Him.  This would be a good time to direct you to the cross of Jesus, His suffering, crucifixion, and most importantly, His resurrection!

If cruelty and suffering result from a ‘fallen world’ caused by some original sin of humans, why did your god also punish the animals for it by creating disease, pain and suffering for them too?
Most people say that sickness and all other things bad were a result of fallen humanity.  Unfortunately, it says that men will have to work by the “sweat of their brow,” they land will not always cooperate (thorns, tilling, etc.), and they will return to dust in death.  Women, on top of the above curse, will also have pain in childbearing.  It doesn’t say “you will be able to get diseased” or anything like that, so I will assume the human body has always had the ability to contract diseases, and has always been able to experience pain.  The snake was punished, but the other animals had no specific curse put on them (although it is implied that because of the ground/thorns/work, they are cursed – the snake was cursed beyond what other animals were cursed).  As far as why the animals were cursed, or at least affected by the curse, I don’t know the exact logic, but it’s probably that humans were given dominion over all things on the Earth, and are commanded to “subdue” the Earth (Genesis 1:28), so if we are fallen, all things under us have collapsed.  Now we’re getting close to the meat of the argument – but sadly, still not focused on Jesus.

Is it just to punish all humans, including those who weren’t born yet, for the sins of one? Would you punish your own younger children for the wrongs of the oldest which occurred before the others were born?
The real question here is this: would a loving god punish his creation, and to what extent?  In punishment, God says He’ll punish three or four generations of people that hate Him, but thousands of generations that love Him (Exodus 20:5b-6).  This isn’t a punish younger children for mistakes of the older children issue.  This is a punish the children for the mistakes of the parents.  All children, regardless of what we are taught or conformed, will have traits from the parents.  Even in cases where children don’t know their parents, they still exemplify traits from them in their personality and habits.  I don’t know how sin is transferred through generations, but it somehow is, according to scripture.  Are we asking if this is fair by your standards?  It doesn’t even seem fair to me by mine, but that doesn’t stop me from accepting it.  Another great place to add in my two cents’ worth regarding Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross…

If humans are special creations, why do we share the traits of violence, lust, rage, tribal warfare, homosexuality, etc. with animals?
Special does not mean unique.  I thought we were on a roll, and would start tackling questions about Jesus and God, but instead, we’re still focused on humanity.

Why do you believe your god made only one breeding pair (Adam and Eve), instead of many? With only one breeding pair, fathers are forced to have sex with daughters, brothers with sisters, and sons with mothers, in order to propagate the species. Is this a divine endorsement for incest?
Well, it is a good guess to say that Adam and Eve had a lot of children.  It is also fair to say that God could have created Adam and Eve to be very very very genetically diverse, so their offspring would not mate and have deformed or have other traits associated with incest.  Of course, over time, the genetics would become more diluted (as some traits are lost, and others added, duplicated, mutated, and whatever else).  This is not an open door for incest, however.  The bible talks about sexuality in Leviticus and gives a list of what is against God’s Law (Leviticus 18:6-18).  This command was a while after Adam and Eve, and there was no longer a necessity of incest (prior, there were apparently no other people).
We can go from another view, that some say people went out and were able to have sexual relations with fallen angels who may have assumed human lives.
And what if God did create other human beings?  Maybe, but there is no scriptural support, so I can only leave that at a question.
Why do we always focus on questions that we don’t have enough answers on, when we could be talking about Jesus, because that’s where it’s at with Christianity?

If all civilizations resulted from Adam and Eve, and oral traditions about the god that created them were passed down from generation to generation, why are there so many other creation stories in the world? Why didn’t all civilizations keep their ‘true’ religion?
There are so many creation stories, but almost all of them have one or two common elements.  Why didn’t they keep their ‘true religion’?  Why do some people from Christian families become Atheists?  Sometimes people don’t agree with a religion, or they want to change it so they benefit from it.  A valid question, and it skims on the verge of core values!  Yay!

Why did your god only appear to one group of people? If it can do anything and be everywhere at once, why couldn’t it be f!@#ed to appear to the other people of the world as well?
Who is to say that God didn’t appear to other people?  The Old Testament is written from the perspective if the Israelites/Jewish people.  It’s essentially their history book.  Even in their scriptures, they were told to give information about God to other people (I’ll get the reference as soon as I remember it).  Why didn’t God just reveal Himself to other people groups?  Again, maybe He did.  If I were pushy, I’d toss another paragraph here about Jesus Christ, but you don’t seem to want to talk about Him.

Why do you get your scientific education from people like Kent Hovind, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron? These people have no university-level education in science, and in some cases, no university education at all. Wouldn’t it be smarter to trust those who are educated, and actively researching, in the field?
There are some that trust Hovind, Comfort and Cameron, and others who don’t.  The way they are presented, it seems like all Christians refer to them, but this is not the case.  And, in other respects, there are many Christian Scientists with doctorate degrees in all sorts of fields.  I actually got my scientific education from the public school system, as well as a chemical engineer and a biologist (who were guest speakers frequently in a science course I took in college).  Again, we’re looking at Christians instead of Christ – we really need to get back on track and discuss/question some core issues.

Why has the world, including government funding, science journals, reputable newspapers, education standards, etc., moved on without you, leaving your barbaric bronze-age theories in their dust? Why have we made so much progress in our understanding after abandoning religious methodology for a scientific one?
Religion should have nothing to do with science, and science nothing to do with religion.  People think there is some sort of connection between the two, but it is more barbaric to think that than it is to continue in religious pursuit.  To say Christian theories are “barbaric bronze-age theories” is to also say this is true with Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i and many other culturally influencing faiths.  My pursuit of scientific knowledge does not affect my ability to believe in God, or practice the Christian faith, and people from other religious systems will certainly agree with that ideology applied to their religion.  I’m still not seeing how you are challenging Christianity’s core here…

Why is there at least some evidence for our scientific theories, but none at all for your creationism?
So, you are grouping all “scientific theories” against one religious view.  Well, of course your blanket statement can show support for science, but you can’t deny that the Bible seems to have “some” historic accuracy, in both people and events, and even refers to some scientific facts (animal heirarchy, breeding, horticulture, history, ethics, politics, and many others that I can’t think of off the top of my head).  I’m still waiting for you to challenge my ideas about God.

Why is the fossil record arranged in such a way as to suggest evolution?
Any evidence seen in different perspectives can suggest different answers.  This is a vague question that needs more information.  How does the fossil record support evolution?  Could it also point to other alternatives?  Can bones in the ground tell us anything more than species and estimated time of death?  Does it change salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ?

Why are the continents shaped like they were once together, and have similar geology on what would be the common edges?
I believe the “Pangaea” theory has been debunked, but yes, I also see that the Earth’s continents seem to, in some cases, line up with each other.  This doesn’t change or challenge any Christian ideas at all.

Why are the continents moving apart at a rate that would put them together millions of years ago?
See above answer.

If humans are special creations, why do we share the same biology, metabolic pathways, etc. with chimpanzees? Shouldn’t we have been made completely differently to emphasize the point?
Again, special does not mean unique.  All living creatures on earth share similar characteristics – maybe it’s because that is exactly how God wanted it.  Why would God have to make something absolutely unique to prove a point?  This question also does not change or challenge any Christian ideologies.

To avoid the cruelty caused by life killing other life to survive, couldn’t we all have been photosynthetic organisms, using sunlight and inanimate molecules to make our energy? If you’re going to say there’s not enough energy in photosynthesis, why couldn’t your god design a more effective photosynthetic system?
Why do most electronics need batteries?  Why could they all be solar powered?  Again, what is this question even attacking?  If you have a design problem, you don’t tell that to the product, you tell that to the designer.  I suppose a valid question, but it ignores the core issue – who is Jesus Christ, and how can you get salvation from Him?

Why does the evidence from so many scientific disciplines, astronomy, geology, biology, physics, chemistry, all converge to suggest the Big Bang and Evolution, while at the same time pointing away from your theory?
There are some beliefs in Christianity that fully support the Bible, while also affirming the Big Bang and Evolution.  This also seems to be a blanket statement that has very vague points, but you expect specific answer.  Micro-evolution (such as changes in breeds of dogs, or colors of butterflies) is certainly Biblical, but Macro-evolution (two animals producing a completely different species) has no direct Biblical support.  Most of the mainstream sciences support or build upon other theories which is why they all converge.  There is, of course, alternate theories to each mainstream one that can account for different information.  Ever since when was creationism a point of evangelism?

Why do the mathematical models behind scientific understanding of the Universe work so well, while creationists have no mathematical models at all?
Creationism can have mathematical models, but the problem is that we can’t say exactly how God created the Earth.  The Bible says God spoke, and it happened, but we don’t know the method beyond speaking.  It’s just like if you watch an illusionist, but you can’t figure out the trick – yes, there is a method, but no, we don’t know it.  That does not make the illusion impossible, or remove a mathematical model from it.  Likewise, Christians can say that God created the Earth, but we don’t have the information to say how it was done.  Maybe God used the Big Bang.  Maybe He did something else.  I don’t know, but I won’t rule anything out.  And I must again ask, what significance does this have on Christian beliefs?

Does your creation model or your holy book account for things like quantum mechanics? Why doesn’t it seem to contain much useful knowledge at all?
Troll Fail?  The Bible is a history book, not a mathematics book.  The main difference is history has practical application, and things like quantum mechanics has more information oriented towards theoretical application.  You’re trying to compare two incompatible things, as if I would compare the cable television to the sensation of eating.  All knowledge is useful, so I don’t even understand the last question’s effectiveness.  Why does the creation model matter in the main message of Christianity?

If your god didn’t explain quantum nature for these people because they wouldn’t understand, then isn’t it time your god shows itself and gives us an update now that we have more understanding? Why doesn’t it divinely guide some people to write an update to your current holy book? Or is it allowing us to do that through science? Is the reason we don’t need an update that science is doing such a good job of answering the questions?
One could argue that our current understanding in “quantum nature” is a direct result of God bestowing that information.  Unfortunately, this would cause a circular argument and frustrate a lot of people.  The one thing I’ll say, however, is that if we already have the understanding, why would God tell us something we already know.  As far as updating our “Holy Book,” I actually despise the early church for closing the Biblical cannon, but I think that’s a discussion for another time.  As far as needing some sort of update to reflect the accuracy of science, why would we need this?  Most people do not desire God’s approval or input in what they do, so why would God force that on them?  How would quantum nature contribute to salvation in Jesus Christ (Christianity’s main message)?

Why does the human chromosome #2 appear to have been created by the fusion of two different chimpanzee chromosomes, complete with structures which would not be necessary if it was created as a single, unified chromosome?
That’s a good question, and one that seems to lack relevance.  I could just counter with “Why not?”  How does this change the message of Christianity (salvation through Jesus Christ)?

What is the Cosmic Background Radiation? The CBR is an integral part of the Big Bang model, and is in fact demanded by it. How does your creationism account for it, ie. where does it fit in to your model?
You have already mentioned that Creationism has no particular model, and I have already mentioned that Christianity does have sects who are completely okay with the Big Bang theory.  I don’t understand how this changes salvation in Jesus Christ.

Why are the galaxies moving apart? Were they once much closer together?
There is a good possibility, I suppose, that they were closer together, especially if there was indeed a “Big Bang.”  Even as a good point, does this challenge why I am a Christian, or who Jesus Christ is?

Why can we see objects in space that are billions of light years away?
Because we use telescopes?  I don’t even understand the intelligence of this question, or even what the main point of it is.  As a Christian, I have no problem with the ability to see billions of light years away, and I don’t know why any Christian would challenge this.  Sadly again, this doesn’t bother questioning the core values of Christianity in any remote sense.

What process did your god use to create life? Can you describe how it works?
I didn’t realize that science can create life out of nothing, and can describe the process in detail.  I don’t know how God did it, but He described it by saying He formed the flesh, and breathed life (or alternatively translated: put a spirit) into it.  Needless to say, this touches on what God has done, but not who He is by Christian understanding, which is what you would want to tackle to change someone’s belief from Christian to Atheist.

Can you use your creation model to make any helpful predictions that might lead us to further discoveries or understanding?
As previously stated, you don’t believe there is a creationism model, so by your statement, it is impossible.  I could, however, use creationism as a tool to understand the Earth and why I am here – it may not have the mathematical accuracy, but you have to admit that it seems to have a large following, and a much longer history than any of your scientific models.  I can also use it to convey Jesus Christ’s testimony of resurrection and ascension.

What is one prediction that your model can make which could support your creationism to the exclusion of accepted scientific models, and what evidence can you find for it?
I didn’t realize I was excluding any scientific model by my non-existent creationism model.  In fact, I have offered options to support scientific models alongside creationism, because I cannot deny evidence of either one, and they seem to work in harmony in most cases.  Make one prediction that your model can make on the future of humanity, and what evidence can you find for it?  Oh, we’re evolving?  How.  What evidence do we have of the current state and changes happening in the course of evolution?  Limited information on a current situation can never accurately predict information on a future situation.  There isn’t even a predictable pattern in evolution (some things evolved, other things stayed the same, some things evolved but now seem to be extinct).  We can’t even explain why there are still fish (if they are the lowest form of evolution) – you would think they would have evolved a long time ago at the rate science says evolution happens, and if not, natural selection would certainly have taken care of any “late-blooming evolvers.”  But, outside of my passion on the subject, where does this challenge my God, or my faith?


I want to note that I was quite disappointed at the lack of questions pointed to my faith in Jesus, or on the nature of God in general.  I was sincerely hoping I would have to crack open my Bible for every question, and reference many scriptures, but these questions are simply attacks on a seemingly weak point of Christianity.  Is there anything I missed, or miss-quoted, please let me know, and I can update this post in light of new information – I’m completely okay with being wrong, as long as I’m corrected.

Take care,
-Alex

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Atheism/Scientisim questions Christianity

  1. I’ve got to say, I was a bit disappointed by your answers. You answered some of them as if you had had a conversation with whoever wrote these questions, as if you were weary of explaining the same thing over and over again. Perhaps that was unintentional, but it was silly.

    Also, the repetition of “this has nothing to do with Jesus” took on a note of desperation after the umteenth time you’d said it.

    I think you missed the point that the author wanted to make: if so many things in the bible make no sense (things that Jesus himself believed in) then why would you take the rest of it seriously? Why trust such a book to contain truth when it so obviously contains falsehoods of what we know about the world?

    I know lots of Christians protect themselves from such questions by watering down their faith to homeopathic levels, but I assume that the author was aiming the questions at people that take their bible seriously.

    * You say religion and science should never cross paths, and even though I might agree with you on some level, I don’t think you could stay honest and pull this off.

    The bible *does* make statements that could be examined scientifically (where animals come from, if there were a global flood, if lots and lots of Jews spent 40 years in the desert, etc). It’s hard to deny that.

    * Whether or not the bible contains some real history is in this context immaterial. You will find that all myths do, as well as fiction.

    * Oh, and if you don’t know how the fossil record supports evolution, I encourage you to spend a few minutes educating yourself on the issue. It is quite interesting.

    * Continental drift is quite real and has not been debunked (feel free to share where you got that idea from).

    * The issue of a design problem concerning animals was brought up. Those problems are easily explained by biology/evolution. But if you believe (I don’t know if you do, as you seem to have the cherry-picking sort of belief) that your god created life, then he is a poor designer indeed.

    That’s all.

  2. Hi Korky,
    I appreciate your response.
    I respond to all posts in a conversational form, because I prefer to be informal. Formality can sometimes be used as a superiority tool, and I prefer to come from a perspective that I don’t know everything (which is absolutely true).

    The reason I keep referring to Jesus is that Christianity’s core centers on Jesus, not on historical accuracy or mathematical models. If an Atheist wants to seriously challenge my faith, (s)he should pose questions about Jesus/God. Of course, it would be ridiculous to attack the idea of existence, because that is a null argument (no empirical evidence for or against). Just as I would need some sort of high-level science education to answer these questions more specifically, Atheists need to know the core beliefs of Christians to make a convincing argument. The desperation you read was really my frustration with the lack of core-value attacks.

    The author attacked the bible and the sense it makes for a few questions, and the rest was posing questions that, in some respects, science can’t even answer. I don’t pick and choose what is true and false in the Bible – I take into account that the number of a population will never be accurate, especially when referring to a Nation wandering in the wilderness (usually what is referenced when saying the Bible contains errors), but in reverse, if I read a math textbook that has one wrong fact, I wouldn’t assume that the rest of the book is prone to the same error, or if a novel had one grammatical/spelling error, I wouldn’t stop reading in fear that it was poorly written.

    The author was aiming the questions at secular Christians, or those with little education on their faith – this is evidenced by the biblical questions (where the bible doesn’t provide enough details), and certainly evidenced by the level of scientific education needed to answer the rest of the questions (a level of science in various fields that I assume the author has [mostly] no training in at all). I would even go so far as to assume the author simply copied and pasted his/her questions in an attempt to stumble people.

    As far as religion and science crossing paths, they are to separate fields. Science answers all things empirical, or attempts to find the empirical evidence behind something – you could say science answers the “How?” question. Religion answers metaphysical questions, such as how did we get here, do we have a purpose, etc. Of course, science tries to answer these questions, but we lack a definitive theory that answers how it all began (as in before the Big Bang), and solid empirical evidence (in the sense that it could be replicated).

    The Bible does say some scientific statements, but the point I made was it wasn’t part of a mathematical model, and the big picture of religion doesn’t require science to function, just as science doesn’t require religion. Religious views can be integrated into science to formulate theories, but that doesn’t require a dependence for other areas of science.

    While detailing that there is real history in the Bible, the reason that is different than fiction is that the bible is a historical book, not a fiction – you can say certain events didn’t happen in the Bible, or that they are exaggerated, but it obviously follows history as documented by the Israelite nation.

    I am absolutely aware of carbon dating, and measuring sections of time by the layer of sediment that fossils are contained in. What I am saying is that there are alternative theories that don’t require evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil#Developments_in_interpretation_of_the_fossil_record

    I never questioned continental drift theory, but I did say that there may be alternatives to Pangaea (see http://lastblogonearth.com/2010/03/24/forget-pangaea-local-scientist-says-its-all-about-ottland/ ).

    Yes, design problems were brought up, and like I said, bring that up with the designer. I’ll admit, I have limited information on genetics available to me, and if people want to believe in evolution, that’s their opinion and belief system, and I’m completely okay with that.

    Thanks again, Korky,
    -Alex

  3. “if I read a math textbook that has one wrong fact, I wouldn’t assume that the rest of the book is prone to the same error, or if a novel had one grammatical/spelling error, I wouldn’t stop reading in fear that it was poorly written.”

    What if the second half of the book is based on the erroneous parts of the first half? We’re not talking a few typos here. Which is rather remarkable for a book that’s allegedly inspired by a deity.

    “As far as religion and science crossing paths, they are to separate fields. Science answers all things empirical, or attempts to find the empirical evidence behind something – you could say science answers the “How?” question. Religion answers metaphysical questions, such as how did we get here, do we have a purpose”

    I’d say “how did we get here?” is a scientific question, but I guess you could ask it in a context that’d make it more ‘spiritual’.

    You say religion answers metaphysical questions, but how do we know that those answers are correct? Is it ethical to go about telling people things that you can’t prove is true? Even more: is it ethical to require people to change their lives based on those answers? Why should religion and the religious get a free pass when it comes to basing answers on evidence instead of hearsay and hallucinations?

    “The Bible does say some scientific statements, but the point I made was it wasn’t part of a mathematical model, and the big picture of religion doesn’t require science to function, just as science doesn’t require religion. Religious views can be integrated into science to formulate theories, but that doesn’t require a dependence for other areas of science.”

    So when the bible says one thing about, for example, the origin of man, and science says another; which way should a Christian go? Should he abandon that part of the bible or should be close his eyes to what science says?

    This is a real dilemma, one that has had far-reaching consequences all over the world. The fact is that science and religion do cross paths, and to deny that is to close your eyes to (among other things) the many faults of the educational system.

    “While detailing that there is real history in the Bible, the reason that is different than fiction is that the bible is a historical book, not a fiction – you can say certain events didn’t happen in the Bible, or that they are exaggerated, but it obviously follows history as documented by the Israelite nation.”

    Doesn’t matter, what history is mixed into the books is buried in myth that no historian would take seriously in the confines of his profession. It’s a so-called holy book and to call it a history book only serves to muddle the waters between science and religion (we don’t want that, do we?). Also, such wording lends undue credence to the fictional parts of the bible, which is dishonest.

    “I am absolutely aware of carbon dating, and measuring sections of time by the layer of sediment that fossils are contained in. What I am saying is that there are alternative theories that don’t require evolution”

    You don’t believe in evolution? If not, why is that?

    “I never questioned continental drift theory, but I did say that there may be alternatives to Pangaea”

    There’s also alternative ‘theories’ to the fact that the earth is spherical. Your comment about the Pangea theory having been debunked sounded more definite than “there are other opinions out there”.

    “Yes, design problems were brought up, and like I said, bring that up with the designer. I’ll admit, I have limited information on genetics available to me, and if people want to believe in evolution, that’s their opinion and belief system, and I’m completely okay with that.”

    Sorry, but talking to invisible people is something that I will leave to the religious. I can’t help but feel that you’re dodging the question whether your god is a bad designer or not. Either he is (this is easy to figure out on your own, should you so chose. But by all means, I can help point out design flaws in all kinds of animals, or in the human body) which logically would point to that he’s not very perfect, or that your particular god had nothing to do with creating life. You don’t need to be a biologist to spot obvious flaws. Running away from a subject is not a good way to arrive at the truth, don’t you agree?

    When you say things like “belief system” and “opinion” in connection with believing that evolution is true, you once again muddle the waters. You equate it to faith in miracles and fables, which is not quite how a person relates to science.

    There’s tons of evidence for the fact and the theory of evolution, and it’s readily available to anyone (even laypersons) should they, unlike creationists, take the time to read about it.

  4. You suggest that the Bible has errors that are foundational in other portions of the Bible to support wrongful conclusions. To what do you refer?

    Certainly Christianity offers it’s own scientific theories, but this doesn’t affect science itself. Yes, I would assume Christianity and other religions would give more spiritual answers.

    It is very difficult to judge the correctness of metaphysical theories. The concept of metaphysical theories is that they are beyond the physical, they can not be empirically proven. Evolution is not metaphysical, as we can use empirical data to argue for or against it.
    More so, I have not told anyone to change their lives or behaviour and follow Jesus. I just live an example, and offer my opinions when people ask. For example, I did not shove this article in your face, but instead, you chose to read it and respond to it.
    It is still ethical to choose things, yes?

    As far as choosing between the Christian (or other religious) idea of creation or science/big-bang/evolution, that is at the discretion of the individual. Some Christians can interpret pieces of scripture to agree with macro-evolution.

    Religion needlessly crosses paths with science. Everyone wants to have some sort of fight between the two, but I don’t see a huge conflict at all. If it’s just a matter of evolution vs creationism, that’s a stupid argument. Like I said, there are Christians who still fully support the Bible and evolution. If it’s on the existence of God, then there is certainly no empirical proof, but that does not mean a lack of existence, it just means a lack of tangible evidence.

    Actually, historians take the Bible quite seriously, especially Jewish historians and anthropologists. What you see and fiction and myth, they see as shaping of culture, regardless of fact or fiction. Religion can reveal a lot about a culture, including values and their morality system.

    I believe in micro-evolution, but not macro. There is a pile of evidence that says that organisms make minor changes over time to adapt to their environment – this is done through natural selection and breeding. I do not, however, believe in macro evolution. No matter how many times you breed a dog, you still have a dog.

    Sorry, I was a little harsh on Pangaea. Thanks for pointing that out – sometimes I get a little passionate about alternative sciences that I ignore the mainstream. My apologies.

    Well, the reason it seems like I’m dodging a question is because there was no question posed. The statement that God is a bad designer may be true, but that does not mean imperfection. As I’ve stated, I don’t have any biology education outside some college elective courses and high school. What I wonder, though, is why we haven’t genetically manipulated a person to “perfect” the genetic structure (is that possible)? It also seems to be, at least according to [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC52649/?tool=pmcentrez ], that the fusion of these two genetic structures does not prove a common decent – what it does prove is that we have those genetics in common, and afterwards there was a fusion of the genetics after the humans became a unique species. Now, we could pull the common decent card, or say it is because of the similarities we have as different species. The evidence could go either way. It is easy for us to pull the evolution card, simply because we can only gather information on our closed ecosystem – it would be most delightful to find another inhabited planet and have a chance to study their genetics, and relate them to our own.

    In science, a theory is just another way of saying opinion. They are facts that build up to a truth, but those facts could also be used to find a different theory/truth as well to better explain the evidence.

    If you haven’t noticed, I do take the time to read about evolution, otherwise I wouldn’t bother posting things like this. It’s true, I don’t agree with all things in mainstream science, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a certain appreciation for it, or ignorance against it. I think science is absolutely wonderful, and would encourage anyone to read up about their own beliefs, whether it creationism, evolution, or ID, or whatever other theories are out there.

    One thing I did notice, however, is that you failed to respond to my noting the importance of Jesus Christ. Again, if you want to make an Atheist out of me, you’re better off attacking Jesus than you are presenting science to me.

    Thanks again,
    -Alex

  5. “You suggest that the Bible has errors that are foundational in other portions of the Bible to support wrongful conclusions. To what do you refer?”

    Let’s see. Genesis and Exodus for starters. We know life didn’t start like that, we know the earth didn’t form like that, we know it didn’t occur by the time Christian scholars says it did (~7000 years ago), we know a loving being would not pass along punishment to the descendants of someone that failed that being. We know Moses and his people weren’t in Egypt as slaves (I know Moses wasn’t a slave), there’s no evidence they spent 40 years in the desert. I mean, pick a part and pretend it wasn’t in the bible and realize you wouldn’t believe it for a second. You’d require evidence for silly stuff that no modern person ought to believe.

    “Certainly Christianity offers it’s own scientific theories, but this doesn’t affect science itself.”

    So in other words they are not scientific theories, or even hypotheses. You’re muddling again.

    “It is very difficult to judge the correctness of metaphysical theories. The concept of metaphysical theories is that they are beyond the physical, they can not be empirically proven.”

    So in other words it’s not connected to the physical world in any way? Then they don’t affect this world and are worthless and non-existent.

    “More so, I have not told anyone to change their lives or behaviour and follow Jesus. I just live an example, and offer my opinions when people ask. For example, I did not shove this article in your face, but instead, you chose to read it and respond to it. It is still ethical to choose things, yes?”

    I was talking about Christianity at large, perhaps I didn’t make that clear. This applies to churches as well as Christian parents who force their religion on children. Not to mention creationists that want to force their religion into the science classroom.

    “As far as choosing between the Christian (or other religious) idea of creation or science/big-bang/evolution, that is at the discretion of the individual. Some Christians can interpret pieces of scripture to agree with macro-evolution.”

    Christians can get whatever they want out of that book, which is why I’m in doubt when one of them come up to me to say that they know the truth about god. They might as well be reading from the phone book for all the credibility they have.
    Also, it’s sad that Christians are not more concerned with truth.

    “Religion needlessly crosses paths with science. Everyone wants to have some sort of fight between the two, but I don’t see a huge conflict at all. If it’s just a matter of evolution vs creationism, that’s a stupid argument. Like I said, there are Christians who still fully support the Bible and evolution. If it’s on the existence of God, then there is certainly no empirical proof, but that does not mean a lack of existence, it just means a lack of tangible evidence.”

    You don’t understand. There is a fight between the two (as I have already mentioned): Children die because their parents believe that Jesus actually heals people while not taking them to the doctor. Apparently prayer can move mountains but not heal innocent children. Education gets eroded. The pope says condoms help spread HIV/aids and helps kill millions around the world. You close your eyes to very real problems, and it’s a sad fact that this is not an uncommon practice among Christians.
    If a god can’t even prove its own existence, it can’t be a very powerful one.

    “Actually, historians take the Bible quite seriously, especially Jewish historians and anthropologists. What you see and fiction and myth, they see as shaping of culture, regardless of fact or fiction.”

    Of course the bible has influenced history, but I was under the impression that we weren’t talking about that, but whether or not it was a history book.

    “I believe in micro-evolution, but not macro. There is a pile of evidence that says that organisms make minor changes over time to adapt to their environment – this is done through natural selection and breeding. I do not, however, believe in macro evolution. No matter how many times you breed a dog, you still have a dog.”

    You don’t know much about evolution, so why have you made up your mind? Would this have anything to do with your religion interferring with your understanding of science? This is very likely. What makes a species a species? Do microscopic species count as species to you? How do you know that a dog will stay a dog if you keep breeding it?

    And what makes it a dog in the first place?

    Don’t disappoint me by dismissing these questions by saying “Oh, I’m not scientist, but I’m going to dismiss an entire field of science based on the poor understanding I have of the subject”.

    “The statement that God is a bad designer may be true, but that does not mean imperfection”

    If he isn’t a perfect designer then it does indeed mean imperfection. That much is obvious. But besides, the OT is swimming with failures on his part, especially when it comes to morals.

    “What I wonder, though, is why we haven’t genetically manipulated a person to “perfect” the genetic structure (is that possible)?”

    No, that’s not yet possible. Besides, the implications of such an experiment brings the mind back to Hitler and his übermench ideas. It might not be moral to “perfect” a human. Besides, what do we mean by perfect? I understand you don’t have a clear grasp of what ‘perfect’ means, but would that person be white? Black? Man or woman? As far as I understand it, no being can be immune to all maladies as genes that enable the ‘cures’ might add weaknesses in other areas.

    Would it have a bigger and smarter brain? When would it stop being human? And if we could genetically modify a human to become post-human, why wouldn’t nature be able to accomplish that on its own? What is the mechanism that stops micro-evolution to become macro-evolution, by the way?

    “In science, a theory is just another way of saying opinion. They are facts that build up to a truth, but those facts could also be used to find a different theory/truth as well to better explain the evidence.”

    Look up “scientific theory”. It does not mean what you say it means. Creationists always get this wrong and often couple it with the old canard “Evolution is just a theory”.

    “If you haven’t noticed, I do take the time to read about evolution, otherwise I wouldn’t bother posting things like this.”

    Yet you claim to know better than all the biologists on earth. You must read quite a lot, even if you don’t understand the theory, or even what the word “theory” means in the context of science.

    “One thing I did notice, however, is that you failed to respond to my noting the importance of Jesus Christ. Again, if you want to make an Atheist out of me, you’re better off attacking Jesus than you are presenting science to me.”

    What do you want me to say? Jesus doesn’t impress me in the least; he was just another doomsday ‘prophet’ that claimed to be a god/son of a god like so many before (and after) him. First of all, there’s no evidence that he existed, so why should I be concerned? Secondly, if there were such evidence, it would hardly include extrabiblical claims of his magical powers. He wasn’t more moral than you or I, his preachings weren’t especially original, or ethical (some were, but anyone could have come up with them), and even if you take his alleged miracles as truth, they wouldn’t have to mean he was of divine descent. Heck, it wouldn’t even mean it was the Judeo-Christian god at all.

    Besides, the third-hand (I’m being generous) accounts that were written down about his life decades after his death bear both the marks of made-up myths and the rose-colored memories of ignorant and gullible peasants.

    If I were a Christian and I cared about evidence, I’d be nervous about defending the bible. Luckily most Christians don’t want proof as long as they have a warm fuzzy feeling in their heart, just like Muslims, Mormons ancient Greeks and every other religious person through history. They were all as sure about their god as you are (if not more so), but I’m sure their metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven were much weaker than your metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven.

    Believing whatever you want is your right, of course, but it’s hard for others to be impressed by that if you can’t defend your beliefs.

    “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”
    — Friedrich Nietzsche (I had to look that name up, I could never remember how to spell it).

    Admin Editted Comment To Correct Formatting Error

  6. Hi again,
    Sorry for my late reply – my modem died.

    Foundational Stuff
    1. The Bible simply says it was created, and does not give the means of creation, so your argument against creationism is void (not to mention you didn’t even reference anything from Genesis…have you even read it?)
    2. There is no definitive statement in the Bible that gives a time frame for when any part of creation was started/finished, nor is this foundational in Christianity.
    3. A loving God wouldn’t pass on judgment to anyone undeserving. You are misquoting Exodus 20:4-6. Only the generations that continue to hate God are punished, and only the ones that continue to love God are blessed.
    4. Israel’s slavery in Egypt is sadly very hard to find unbias archeological evidence. There seems to be a few scholars who have found proof. There is, however, some secular evidence (see http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=19382 ). For some super-Judeo-Christian bias information, you can look here: http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm | I wouldn’t dismiss it simply because it’s Christian – there isn’t any evidence that contradicts it. Not only that, but it isn’t overly foundational in the Christian belief.
    5. Desert evidence is very tough to uncover for any situation. Between wind and sand, remains can be covered or moved, buried, or eroded. This is one of those things again that doesn’t really have any contradicting evidence, nor is it a foundational truth in scripture.

    Christianity & Science
    “So in other words they are not scientific theories, or even hypotheses. You’re muddling again.”

    What I am saying is that Christianity has no desire to contradict science, just as Islam or Buddhism have no desire to change it. If it agrees with science, yay, we both win. If it doesn’t, I would either see if scripture could be reinterpreted in light of scientific data, or see if the data itself is biased.

    Meta-Sciences
    “So in other words it’s not connected to the physical world in any way? Then they don’t affect this world and are worthless and non-existent.”
    Meta-Science in general is theoretical. Look it up yourself. I’m not putting out an opinion – the major nature of meta-science is based in theory. Argue that with a science prof.

    Christian Living Being Force onto People
    “I was talking about Christianity at large, perhaps I didn’t make that clear. This applies to churches as well as
    Christian parents who force their religion on children. Not to mention creationists that want to force their religion into the science classroom.”

    You’ll have to take that up with individuals then. If a random Christian tells you to conform to their way of thinking, the best answer is just to say “show me in your bible where it says that.” Sadly, most Christians won’t know, or they’ll misquote something, or even worse, they’ll do the “you’re going to hell if you don’t believe!” To be honest, Christians are the most immature people I know when it comes to sharing their beliefs.

    Christianity -> Truth
    “Christians can get whatever they want out of that book, which is why I’m in doubt when one of them come up to me to say that they know the truth about god. They might as well be reading from the phone book for all the credibility they have.
    Also, it’s sad that Christians are not more concerned with truth.”

    I think the real issue here is consistency. It would be extremely convenient for absolute consistency, but you won’t even get that in science. There are multiple theories, some that align with others, and some that contradict. As a Christian, I think it’s morally wrong to say that I have absolutely all the answers, and in my opinion, anyone, whether religious or not, who says they know it all is a liar.

    Religion, Science and Healing
    “You don’t understand. There is a fight between the two (as I have already mentioned): Children die because their parents believe that Jesus actually heals people while not taking them to the doctor. Apparently prayer can move mountains but not heal innocent children. Education gets eroded. The pope says condoms help spread HIV/aids and helps kill millions around the world. You close your eyes to very real problems, and it’s a sad fact that this is not an uncommon practice among Christians.
    If a god can’t even prove its own existence, it can’t be a very powerful one.”

    The example you use as a fight is really just Christians lacking in good judgment. If I am sick, certainly I will pray, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t see a doctor. What if the doctor is the answer to my prayer?
    Also, don’t trust the Pope. I don’t trust him. I’m not even Catholic. On that note, don’t generalize Catholicism with Christianity as a whole.
    I believe that God proves His existence all the time – just not always how we want proof. This is the perspective I have: God has given all humanity free will in all areas of the individual life. Certainly, included in this free will, is the freedom to seek out whatever knowledge we desire. From God’s perspective on giving free will, it is unfair for Him to interfere in someone’s life to manipulate their belief of Him. It is a completely other story when that person asks for proof and interaction with God, though.

    Historical Account of the Bible
    “Of course the bible has influenced history, but I was under the impression that we weren’t talking about that, but whether or not it was a history book.”

    It was written about true history, and that can be established by other evidence. You may not agree with it, but from the Jewish perspective (on the Old Testament), it is completely accurate, and often times, historical documents have a bias towards their cultural heritage/history. I would always encourage people to read non-biased history, but I don’t think there is such a thing.

    My Opinions on Science
    “You don’t know much about evolution, so why have you made up your mind? Would this have anything to do with your religion interferring with your understanding of science? This is very likely. What makes a species a species? Do microscopic species count as species to you? How do you know that a dog will stay a dog if you keep breeding it?
    And what makes it a dog in the first place?
    Don’t disappoint me by dismissing these questions by saying “Oh, I’m not scientist, but I’m going to dismiss an entire field of science based on the poor understanding I have of the subject”.”

    Hold on – you’re telling me I lack credentials then telling me I should just be able to expound endlessly on the subject? I don’t mean to insult you, but I think it’s safe to say that we both lack credentials and you’re setting up a straw-man argument. My mind is made up until I get evidence that contradicts that – that is the scientific method in action, I do say. My religion has nothing to do with my stance on evolution – I was not raised as a creationist, nor ID or whatever theories. I was taught all about evolution, pangea, and whatever else, from my public/highschool education (presuming my teachers taught evolution properly) – I did, however, not agree with macro-evolution (based on the fact that there is not enough current evidence). The definition of species is up to debate, but it is safe to say that each species has enough distinct differences that they are not able to breed with each other and they have a distinction from their “parent species.” For instance, you can breed a dog through with it’s own breed to the extent that it doesn’t have enough good genetic material to mate, but it does not have any distinction from it’s parent species. Is this dog a new species? no.

    God as an Imperfect Designer
    “If he isn’t a perfect designer then it does indeed mean imperfection. That much is obvious. But besides, the OT is swimming with failures on his part, especially when it comes to morals.”

    We’re talking about God’s design in genetics, not His perfection on a moral scale. Biblically, He says He’s perfect, so I’d have to assume that our morals are imperfect so we see God’s morals as different and thus imperfect. It’s a matter of perspective. Care to site any examples of His moral imperfection?

    Human Genetic Perfection
    “No, that’s not yet possible. Besides, the implications of such an experiment brings the mind back to Hitler and his übermench ideas. It might not be moral to “perfect” a human. Besides, what do we mean by perfect? I understand you don’t have a clear grasp of what ‘perfect’ means, but would that person be white? Black? Man or woman? As far as I understand it, no being can be immune to all maladies as genes that enable the ‘cures’ might add weaknesses in other areas.
    Would it have a bigger and smarter brain? When would it stop being human? And if we could genetically modify a human to become post-human, why wouldn’t nature be able to accomplish that on its own? What is the mechanism that stops micro-evolution to become macro-evolution, by the way?”

    I think the implications of creating the “perfect human” would simply prove that God is either an idiot or He does not exist. Sure, it brings up bad historical memories, but according to the theory of evolution, specifically in natural selection, it’s only the strong who survive – certainly we would want to preserve humanity for as long as possible, and the better able (genetic perfection?) humanity will be. If there are moral implications to “perfecting a human” then I would have to say it’s not really perfecting at all. If something is perfect, it would have to be perfect in absolutely every way. The perfection of humanity has nothing to do with race, in this particular context – we are talking about genetic manipulation of chromosome #2, which seems to reflect ability to hear and according to studies, level of intelligence. The beauty of the scientific method is it encourages people to “see what happens.”
    To answer what mechanism stops micro evolution from becoming macro evolution: there is no mechanism. There isn’t even a connection. It is scientifically impossible to create a new breed by natural selection -> there are no documented cases of animals mating with other animals of different species. You can see here ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html – question by James Meritt) that it is possible with some plants, but with very few exceptions, plants are not animals.

    Science Theory or Science Opinion
    “Look up “scientific theory”. It does not mean what you say it means. Creationists always get this wrong and often couple it with the old canard “Evolution is just a theory”.”
    In the stages of hypothesizing, I would give my opinion on how a process works, and test to see if I am right or wrong. When I say evolution is a theory, I don’t mean it is completely wrong or that there is no basis for it. In fact, I do go as far as agreeing with micro-evolution, which is more than what you would get out of most Christians.

    My Understanding of Science
    “Yet you claim to know better than all the biologists on earth. You must read quite a lot, even if you don’t understand the theory, or even what the word “theory” means in the context of science.”

    I never said I knew more than any biologist – I simply disagree with some of them. You have no reason to take my opinion, yet you keep coming back for it, so by that standard, you trust me more than you trust those various biologists.
    I have demonstrated a great understanding of the concept of what a theory is. Sounds like you’re just setting up some troll bait, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Destroy My Faith in Jesus
    “What do you want me to say? Jesus doesn’t impress me in the least; he was just another doomsday ‘prophet’ that claimed to be a god/son of a god like so many before (and after) him. First of all, there’s no evidence that he existed, so why should I be concerned? Secondly, if there were such evidence, it would hardly include extrabiblical claims of his magical powers. He wasn’t more moral than you or I, his preachings weren’t especially original, or ethical (some were, but anyone could have come up with them), and even if you take his alleged miracles as truth, they wouldn’t have to mean he was of divine descent. Heck, it wouldn’t even mean it was the Judeo-Christian god at all.
    Besides, the third-hand (I’m being generous) accounts that were written down about his life decades after his death bear both the marks of made-up myths and the rose-colored memories of ignorant and gullible peasants.
    If I were a Christian and I cared about evidence, I’d be nervous about defending the bible. Luckily most Christians don’t want proof as long as they have a warm fuzzy feeling in their heart, just like Muslims, Mormons ancient Greeks and every other religious person through history. They were all as sure about their god as you are (if not more so), but I’m sure their metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven were much weaker than your metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven.
    Believing whatever you want is your right, of course, but it’s hard for others to be impressed by that if you can’t defend your beliefs.
    “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”
    — Friedrich Nietzsche (I had to look that name up, I could never remember how to spell it).”

    Well, with all your interest in trying to convert me away from creationism, I figured you’d want to destroy the core of my beliefs, which would effectively either make me agnostic or atheist.
    Jesus was absolutely not original in His teaching/morals – they all came from the Old Testament. He was, however, original in His claim to being God in human form. Other religions followed this afterward, but before, deity was either embodied as a King/Leader (Pharaohs comes to mind), or as a spiritual being (non-tangible). Jesus did not present Himself as a King, even though His blood line could be traced to King David (this is somewhat insignificant, however, due to the non-existent throne in Jerusalem or in Juda), which many did. Jesus didn’t even assert His divinity for His own sake -> He only stated it as a response to a person asking. In that, He is absolutely unique. He’s also documented by Jewish historians (Most Jewish people hated Jesus, so at least we know He did exist), and I believe through common social accounts – if it weren’t true, then by the nature of circulation (via personal accounts and eventually the gospel narratives), Jesus’ hype would have died down very quickly. People are gullible, but all people want to know the truth. Sadly, most people are satisfied with just hearing the truth instead of exploring it.
    In terms of the quote and relating to science, science always has the mindset of theorize then disprove. If the theory does not support the data, it is trashed, but if tests and data confirm it, it moves on. Likewise, faith does not prove anything, but in theory, a lack of faith should prove something, at least according to Nietzsche and modern science.

  7. Foundational Stuff
    “1. The Bible simply says it was created, and does not give the means of creation, so your argument against creationism is void (not to mention you didn’t even reference anything from Genesis…have you even read it?)”

    It? The world? The order in which the universe and things in it are created is wrong (the bible also contradicts itself on the order, of course). Man was not created out of clay/dirt or out of a rib. The earth didn’t come into existence before the sun. This contradicts science, and that’s that.

    “2. There is no definitive statement in the Bible that gives a time frame for when any part of creation was started/finished, nor is this foundational in Christianity.”

    Correction. This isn’t foundational to your special kind of Christianity (nothing really seems to be, as far as I can tell). I did mention this was the conclusion of Christian scholars.

    “3. A loving God wouldn’t pass on judgment to anyone undeserving. You are misquoting Exodus 20:4-6. Only the generations that continue to hate God are punished, and only the ones that continue to love God are blessed.”

    Not so. See the punishments of Adam and Eve (oh, and the snake). But this frightens me a bit that you think people that don’t agree with your religion deserve to be killed, raped and tortured. Why would you worship a god that would command anyone to kill their own child or to throw another person’s baby against the rocks? Do you think these deeds are moral if your god commands them? I take it you are not a fan of the whole “objective morals” mode of thinking.

    “4. Israel’s slavery in Egypt is sadly very hard to find unbias archeological evidence. There seems to be a few scholars who have found proof. There is, however, some secular evidence (see http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=19382 ). For some super-Judeo-Christian bias information, you can look here: http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm | I wouldn’t dismiss it simply because it’s Christian – there isn’t any evidence that contradicts it. Not only that, but it isn’t overly foundational in the Christian belief.”

    World net daily? Really? Why don’t you quote me FOX News next. Finding a wheel in the Red Sea is hardly proof of anything and I suspect you understand that much.

    “5. Desert evidence is very tough to uncover for any situation. Between wind and sand, remains can be covered or moved, buried, or eroded. This is one of those things again that doesn’t really have any contradicting evidence, nor is it a foundational truth in scripture.”

    Another indication that the bible can’t be trusted. Even if this isn’t foundational to your particular faith, it is foundational to the NT and many believe Moses and the commandments to be pretty important.

    Christianity & Science

    “What I am saying is that Christianity has no desire to contradict science, just as Islam or Buddhism have no desire to change it. If it agrees with science, yay, we both win. If it doesn’t, I would either see if scripture could be reinterpreted in light of scientific data, or see if the data itself is biased.”

    This is either true or false depending on what you mean by “Christianity”. You may not want to contradict science, but your holy book does, many churches do, and Christian presidents and residents of certain school boards do their part to undermine science; this is glaringly evident. I don’t know what kind of Christianity you adhere to, but since all these actions are based on the bible, it’s not far off to say Christianity is responsible.

    “You’ll have to take that up with individuals then. If a random Christian tells you to conform to their way of thinking, the best answer is just to say “show me in your bible where it says that.” Sadly, most Christians won’t know, or they’ll misquote something, or even worse, they’ll do the “you’re going to hell if you don’t believe!” To be honest, Christians are the most immature people I know when it comes to sharing their beliefs.”

    Is it ethical to not try to save people from eternal hellfire? One thing that I have noticed is that two Christians cannot agree on what any one passage in the bible means. You can bet that one of them will say that the other is “misquoting”.

    Christianity -> Truth
    “I think the real issue here is consistency. It would be extremely convenient for absolute consistency, but you won’t even get that in science. There are multiple theories, some that align with others, and some that contradict. As a Christian, I think it’s morally wrong to say that I have absolutely all the answers, and in my opinion, anyone, whether religious or not, who says they know it all is a liar.”

    You’d think a god would manage it better than man, though, wouldn’t you? How can you believe that he is omnipotent if he can’t even tell a story in a somewhat consistent manner?

    Religion, Science and Healing

    “The example you use as a fight is really just Christians lacking in good judgment. If I am sick, certainly I will pray, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t see a doctor. What if the doctor is the answer to my prayer?”

    You could say that about all fights. A believer could even say that god told them to do what they do to science and who is to say that person is not a prophet? That last part proves that you don’t trust prayer, or your god.
    When you need lumber, do you pray for wood, go chop down a tree and thank Jesus for miraculously providing you with fuel for your fire? Your god used to be able to part seas, yet now his miracles are indistinguishable from manual labor.

    “Also, don’t trust the Pope. I don’t trust him. I’m not even Catholic. On that note, don’t generalize Catholicism with Christianity as a whole.”

    Catholics are in the majority, so saying that the pope speaks for a big chunk of all Christians wouldn’t be wrong. Many people trust the pope and, like it or not, he is the biggest leader in Christianity today. Surely god wouldn’t allow a terrible protector of child-molesters speak for him if he existed?

    “I believe that God proves His existence all the time – just not always how we want proof. This is the perspective I have: God has given all humanity free will in all areas of the individual life. Certainly, included in this free will, is the freedom to seek out whatever knowledge we desire. From God’s perspective on giving free will, it is unfair for Him to interfere in someone’s life to manipulate their belief of Him. It is a completely other story when that person asks for proof and interaction with God, though.”

    I don’t know if you believe at all what is in the bible, but your god certainly didn’t use to think so highly of this ‘free will through lack of proof’ that you seem to be describing. According to the bible he sent his son, he showed himself through *big* miracles, burning bushes (small miracles too, I guess), pillars of fire, stopping the earth in its orbit and global floods. Your argument doesn’t hold up against the stories of the bible, I’m afraid. He was more than willing to manipulate people’s beliefs back in the day, so there goes your argument out of the window.

    Historical Account of the Bible

    “It was written about true history, and that can be established by other evidence.”

    Yeah, by singular wheels found on the bottom of the Red Sea.

    My Opinions on Science

    “Hold on – you’re telling me I lack credentials then telling me I should just be able to expound endlessly on the subject? I don’t mean to insult you, but I think it’s safe to say that we both lack credentials and you’re setting up a straw-man argument. My mind is made up until I get evidence that contradicts that – that is the scientific method in action, I do say.”

    I think you have just proved my point. You confess to not being educated on the subject, yet you dismiss it instead of finding the proof that is out there. No, what you mention is not the scientific method at all. You can’t just sit and wait for evidence to fall into your lap, you must work to find it. There are several books on the subject and there have been experiments supporting the fact and the theory of evolution (this is a good one: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/23/7899.full ).

    “My religion has nothing to do with my stance on evolution – I was not raised as a creationist, nor ID or whatever theories. I was taught all about evolution, pangea, and whatever else, from my public/highschool education (presuming my teachers taught evolution properly) – I did, however, not agree with macro-evolution (based on the fact that there is not enough current evidence).”

    Ignoring that you haven’t looked for the evidence you claim is missing. What makes you think that micro-evolution would stop at the point where you’d say macro-evolution starts? For instance, say a two populations of dogs separate and start to (micro) evolve in separate directions. The first becomes smaller and the second becomes larger. Soon enough they will not be able to mate with each other without help from humans, their genetic material changing increasingly as each generation goes by. Given enough time, wouldn’t it just be logical to assume that this continues to a point where mating isn’t possible even with the help of humans? Or is this where god comes down and finally creates a miracle that people can notice?

    Assuming that micro-evolution stops by the verge of macro-evolution isn’t logical at all. But I’d love to hear how you rationalize this.

    God as an Imperfect Designer
    (me) “If he isn’t a perfect designer then it does indeed mean imperfection. That much is obvious. But besides, the OT is swimming with failures on his part, especially when it comes to morals.”

    “We’re talking about God’s design in genetics, not His perfection on a moral scale. ”

    I guess my point stands then. He’s not a perfect designer which means he’s not perfect.

    “Biblically, He says He’s perfect, so I’d have to assume that our morals are imperfect so we see God’s morals as different and thus imperfect. It’s a matter of perspective. Care to site any examples of His moral imperfection?”

    So you unquestioningly assume that particular part of the bible to be true, throwing your own judgment out of the window. While it is a matter of perspective, this is also an excellent example of blind faith. If your bible teaches you morals, and you can’t use those lessons to judge what is in the bible, what have you learned?

    Let’s see, I can quote half of the OT at you to mention his monstrosities, but I’ll start off with a few.

    He created hell.
    He created Satan.
    He ordered genocide.
    He killed lots of first-born babies.
    He killed every living being on earth (except thousands that somehow fit on a boat).

    It’s nice how you can avoid the whole free will problem when you kill someone. Or the loop-hole of saying “you can do whatever you want, but I’ll turn you into a pillar of salt (for example) if you disobey”.

    Human Genetic Perfection
    (me)“No, that’s not yet possible. Besides, the implications of such an experiment brings the mind back to Hitler and his übermench ideas. It might not be moral to “perfect” a human. Besides, what do we mean by perfect? I understand you don’t have a clear grasp of what ‘perfect’ means, but would that person be white? Black? Man or woman? As far as I understand it, no being can be immune to all maladies as genes that enable the ‘cures’ might add weaknesses in other areas.
    Would it have a bigger and smarter brain? When would it stop being human? And if we could genetically modify a human to become post-human, why wouldn’t nature be able to accomplish that on its own? What is the mechanism that stops micro-evolution to become macro-evolution, by the way?”

    “I think the implications of creating the “perfect human” would simply prove that God is either an idiot or He does not exist. Sure, it brings up bad historical memories, but according to the theory of evolution, specifically in natural selection, it’s only the strong who survive – certainly we would want to preserve humanity for as long as possible, and the better able (genetic perfection?) humanity will be.”

    Actually it is the most fit in their local environment who survive. I’m not quite sure how natural selection works on humans now when there’s so many complications (medicine, prostethics, abundance of food and water, shelter, etc, etc). I’m not sure at all that humans will be more perfect in the future, especially when we still have not established what this perfection would entail.

    By the way, this proves that your god is either an idiot designer or non-existent (A giraffe is the example here, but it’s such a clear example of natural selection that it’s too good not to share): http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/the_laryngeal_nerve_of_the_gir.php

    But I could easily think of sci-fi ways of making “god’s creation” better in several areas. If I were to install a calculator in a human’s brain it is an example of how humans could be improved.

    “there are no documented cases of animals mating with other animals of different species”

    Wait a moment. Is this how you think evolution works? Is this what you think macro-evolution is? Wow. No wonder you don’t believe in it. Macro-evolution is simply micro-evolution over a longer span of time, where small changes within a species grow so different from the starting point that speciation occur.

    Science Theory or Science Opinion

    “In the stages of hypothesizing, I would give my opinion on how a process works, and test to see if I am right or wrong. When I say evolution is a theory, I don’t mean it is completely wrong or that there is no basis for it. In fact, I do go as far as agreeing with micro-evolution, which is more than what you would get out of most Christians.”

    Actually creationists have to use micro-evolution to explain what happens after the flood, and often do.

    My Understanding of Science
    (me)“Yet you claim to know better than all the biologists on earth. You must read quite a lot, even if you don’t understand the theory, or even what the word “theory” means in the context of science.”

    “I never said I knew more than any biologist – I simply disagree with some of them. You have no reason to take my opinion, yet you keep coming back for it, so by that standard, you trust me more than you trust those various biologists.”

    What kind of logic is that? Since when does discussing with someone equal trusting them or their opinion?

    “I have demonstrated a great understanding of the concept of what a theory is. Sounds like you’re just setting up some troll bait, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”

    Perhaps you just expressed yourself in a way that made it hard for me to understand it.

    Destroy My Faith in Jesus
    (me)“What do you want me to say? Jesus doesn’t impress me in the least; he was just another doomsday ‘prophet’ that claimed to be a god/son of a god like so many before (and after) him. First of all, there’s no evidence that he existed, so why should I be concerned? Secondly, if there were such evidence, it would hardly include extrabiblical claims of his magical powers. He wasn’t more moral than you or I, his preachings weren’t especially original, or ethical (some were, but anyone could have come up with them), and even if you take his alleged miracles as truth, they wouldn’t have to mean he was of divine descent. Heck, it wouldn’t even mean it was the Judeo-Christian god at all.
    Besides, the third-hand (I’m being generous) accounts that were written down about his life decades after his death bear both the marks of made-up myths and the rose-colored memories of ignorant and gullible peasants.
    If I were a Christian and I cared about evidence, I’d be nervous about defending the bible. Luckily most Christians don’t want proof as long as they have a warm fuzzy feeling in their heart, just like Muslims, Mormons ancient Greeks and every other religious person through history. They were all as sure about their god as you are (if not more so), but I’m sure their metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven were much weaker than your metaphysical evidence that can’t be proven.
    Believing whatever you want is your right, of course, but it’s hard for others to be impressed by that if you can’t defend your beliefs.
    “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”
    — Friedrich Nietzsche (I had to look that name up, I could never remember how to spell it).”

    “Well, with all your interest in trying to convert me away from creationism, I figured you’d want to destroy the core of my beliefs, which would effectively either make me agnostic or atheist.”

    Or both. I’m an agnostic atheist. I don’t need to destroy anyone’s beliefs, I just want to see if they can defend them. Sadly, no Christian has ever been able to. Do well and this is your chance to save a soul from your god’s eternal punishment!

    “Jesus was absolutely not original in His teaching/morals – they all came from the Old Testament. He was, however, original in His claim to being God in human form. Other religions followed this afterward, but before, deity was either embodied as a King/Leader (Pharaohs comes to mind), or as a spiritual being (non-tangible).”

    For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s true that he was the first to claim to be a god in human form. So what? This is like saying “Oh sure, those other abducting aliens were green and from Mars, but Orgalf was the first to be red and from Venus!”. I don’t see how this makes any difference at all. Also, I’m not quite sure how big a difference there’s between “god in human form” and “the embodiment of a god”.

    “even though His blood line could be traced to King David (this is somewhat insignificant, however, due to the non-existent throne in Jerusalem or in Juda)”

    Except that he wasn’t related to his earthly daddy, so not to David either.

    “Jesus did not present Himself as a King, even though His blood line could be traced to King David (this is somewhat insignificant, however, due to the non-existent throne in Jerusalem or in Juda), which many did. Jesus didn’t even assert “His divinity for His own sake -> He only stated it as a response to a person asking. In that, He is absolutely unique.”

    I’m sorry, but telling people that you’re a king or a god is actually presenting yourself as a king or a god. Acting humble is not new or unique, especially when you say you’re the creator of the universe in the next breath.

    “He’s also documented by Jewish historians (Most Jewish people hated Jesus, so at least we know He did exist)”

    So someone called Jesus existed ~2000 years ago. Did any of those historians tell of his magic powers? Did the Jewish historians that documented his existence hate him? Did they also mention that he was the Messiah? If they only said something along the lines of “A guy named Jesus had a bunch of followers that call themselves Christians” while not mentioning that he’s the fulfullment of some Jewish prophecy then there wouldn’t have been a problem, right?

    “and I believe through common social accounts – if it weren’t true, then by the nature of circulation (via personal accounts and eventually the gospel narratives), Jesus’ hype would have died down very quickly.”

    I’m sorry, but that is utter BS. If he did exist and was the leader of a cult, wouldn’t his followers have passed on stories about him? Is this not how thousands of (true or not true) religions spread throughout the world? We know for a fact that ancient people (and the people of today) love to spread around fantastical and untrue stories. *Especially* fantastical and untrue stories.

    “People are gullible, but all people want to know the truth. Sadly, most people are satisfied with just hearing the truth instead of exploring it.”

    Like you and the theory of evolution? Wasn’t it you that wanted to set an example?

    I don’t think people want to know the truth at all, or religions wouldn’t be as common as they are. I think people want to believe what makes them feel good. Wishful thinking about a life after death comes to mind, or that a man in the sky loves you no matter what you do, or that you can be forgiven anything. This is not a very strong point of mine, however, if you are of the mind that dogma and truth are one and the same.

    “Likewise, faith does not prove anything, but in theory, a lack of faith should prove something, at least according to Nietzsche and modern science.”

    Any lack of faith or just the lack of faith in ghosts, witches and trolls?

    I’m sorry in advance if the formatting is messed up again. Notepad doesn’t translate well to comment boxes, it seems. This time I’m removing word wrap to see if that helps.

  8. Well, I’m at the point where I think I can accurately judge your motives for continual posts here. At first, I thought you were just an Atheist troll. Well, you’re not that bad, but you have stated that it’s your goal to test my defense of Christianity, which means you are simply posting as a method of attack. That being said, where are we expecting this whole conversation to go? If it is a true attack/defense situation, then there is no real attainable goal other than someone wins and the other loses. This is against how I roll, but up until now, I haven’t had a clear picture of your motivations. My philosophy is build relationships and have meaningful discussions. There is no meaning in a fruitless battle that results in “bragging rights.” This doesn’t mean I won’t continue this conversation, but I do want you to know what I hope to achieve through this: friendship/respect (both ways). I will openly admit that I cannot convert you away from your own beliefs; people choose what they want to believe, whether it be from presented data or what they’ve been taught. With that in mind, I’m going to respond to your post in a bit of a different format, so I’m explaining more of my beliefs rather than responding to individual statements. Hopefully that works, but if not, just reply with objections and I can catch up on whatever I’ve missed or perhaps badly explained.

    Before I get started, the format is fine, so no worries, and if it wasn’t, I can edit it and fix it up. :)

    So, I’ve been trying to explain my position on micro-evolution, which I’ll admit has been badly established and not as detailed as you’d prefer, so I apologize for not directly dealing with that. My main beef with macro-evolution is the classic argument of some (parts) organisms are irreducibly complex. This is not a full argument, of course, because it can be integrated into the evolution system (which I am willing to go into as far as micro-evolution for the time being), so I don’t have a major problem with it. Most references to this theory are from a book called “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael J. Behe which I have read. This book has clear roots in Intelligent Design (the fact is that if I want information that is an alternative to evolution, I’ll have to look at alternative sources). This could be explained as an evolutionary mechanism, but the likelihood of having two organisms in the same state of evolution that can reproduce is a number so small that it is essentially 0. Of course, evolution can explain this and just make the blanket statement that “evolution happens over a very large amount of time.” Of course, this doesn’t take into account the idea of random mutation, but this seems very unscientific because there is nothing that is truly random – everything should be predictable with enough information about how it works. In random mutation, my understanding is a random chunk of DNA from person A is spliced onto a chunk DNA from person B (and depending on the organism, maybe there are more specimen for DNA sampling?), and the size and position of the chunk is different on most occasions (I’d assume, otherwise it wouldn’t be random mutation), which creates a totally new strand of DNA (as missing pieces are filled in through biological process, I assume, and those would appear to be somewhat random?). If it’s not repeatable, science itself says that it cannot be sufficiently tested. Yes we can say that the repeatable aspect is that it is random, but in my opinion, this is just an answer to say that they don’t understand the random process (and I don’t either). Even scientists say it would be impossible to perform an absolute experiment to test macro-evolution – it would take a millions of years with millions of organisms, which doesn’t negate it’s possibility of truth, I suppose, but does give it the same judgment as creationism/intelligent design: it’s not provable through a thorough investigation. The alternative, however, is to see what’s happened in the past through archeology/anthropology (which Science does do indeed, I don’t deny that). At that point, it boils down to a basis of what is allowed to be used as evidence, and what is not. I believe that all evidence, to some degree, holds it’s own bias (whether or not that is true, I don’t know – that’s just my opinion right now, and it is apt to change, I’m sure), so as much as I am hesitant about macro-evolution, I am also hesitant about Intelligent Design (and it’s motives).

    I know I have mentioned that many of the things you state are not foundational to Christianity. The only real foundational idea of the Bible is Jesus. From the beginning of the Bible, there is an overbearing theme that we need someone to fix us because we’re not capable. There is are prophesies about Jesus scattered all over the place in the Old Testament; some could argue that a portion of these prophesies are misquoted, but I suppose Biblical prophesy is in the eye of the fulfiller: in some instances, a prophesy about Jesus was only known after Jesus quoted/taught it. This, of course, leaves a lot of questions about validity of prophesy concerning Jesus, and if you want to make specific objections about that, I can check those out on an individual basis.
    As far as historical account goes, Josephus noted that Jesus did some “wonderful works”, but didn’t call them miracles, and also reported that the disciples claimed he was resurrected the third day. This is important because he was Jewish, and didn’t follow Christianity. As a historian, it is his job to seek out notable facts and trustworthy sources, so for him to write what he did about Jesus does give Jesus’ account a bit of credibility, even if we just go as far as being a good moral teacher.
    You say that common social account wouldn’t work. I beg to differ. Just as I am aware of the Mormon cults, I can be assured that their cult-beliefs are wrong (such as the multiple failed predictions of Jesus’ return), even though I can have repeat encounters from Mormon believers trying to convert me. Likewise, people around Jesus’ time would be able to verify whether or not He actually existed, and if He did some things that seemed out of the ordinary. On the flip side, I can understand the skepticism from your point of view, that people in that day weren’t as socially connected as we are today with our availability of information. However, this was a fairly local phenomena, so I suspect the information that was passed around was relatively accurate. As an example, it is completely possible for me to put up posters in my community saying a Celebrity is in town, it wouldn’t take long for the rumor to be defeated, even if I had, say, 100 people that could advance the rumor.
    To address the overall theme that there is a very different God in the Old Testament, which you refer to in separate ideas, there are a few things to mention. First, what is perceived as different may be from a span of a few thousand years (Old Testament) versus 60 years (New Testament). To answer your individual objects, you note that God just seems like a bit of an asshole (for lack of a better term) in the Old Testament. He seems to contradict Himself (thou shall not kill VS. “go and kill off these people”). A simplistic argument for this is simply saying that the Hebrew word that we translate as kill actually means to murder. I have heard arguments for and against this, and I don’t have any formal Hebrew training, so I can’t answer this objection on my own. I can, however, say that in all instances where Israel was told to wipe out a civilization/city/culture, there was usually a reason behind it. For a two-sided example, there is Nineveh. In the book of Jonah, Jonah is instructed to preach to the people of Nineveh so God doesn’t destroy them. The message is accepted, and Nineveh is spared. Unfortunately, a few generations later, Nahum (in the book of Nahum) is sent to prophesy their destruction because they have once again went against God. I can argue the validity of Jonah another time, but my point is that God offered a way for them not to be destroyed if they just did what God wanted them to do. After a (few?) generation(s) of doing what God wanted them to do, they decided their way was better, and it caused judgment on them. So, in this case, it’s not like God just decided they would be a good target. Even in the example in Exodus with the killing of the first born children in Egypt, it was not secret, and God even stated how that wrath could be avoided. In Exodus 11, Moses speaks to the Pharaoh about this judgment, and the Pharaoh could have just let Moses and the Israelites go, and wrath could have been averted. Instead, even with knowledge of the previous plagues, the Pharaoh persisted in not letting the Israelite people leave. Even in the case of the flood in Genesis chapters 5 to 7, there isn’t enough information to defend it, but it is sufficient to say that all people have a general moral compass (whether you want to believe it’s a natural mechanism or not), and people stopped following it and did their own thing.
    The creation of Satan can be no larger fault than the birth of a serial killer. People are able to choose how they live, and even Angels are described in the Bible has having some sort of free will. I don’t have enough information about why Satan is as he is (the Bible doesn’t really say exactly what happened, nor does it give much information about him). In fact, I’d say as much that the information on Satan is obscure and not always accurate – many people quote a verse about the King of Tyrus, and say that it is directly Satan. The only real references to him are in Job and the New Testament; Genesis 3 doesn’t specifically talk about Satan (even though most readers infer it). For more information on the Job account, Dr Bill Long has written an interesting article on the subject that you would probably find interesting ( http://www.drbilllong.com/MoreJobEssays/TheSatan.html ). In the New Testament, the Satan that is being referenced is essentially doing the same task in Job (even though Dr Long seems to disagree) – this Satan is testing the faith of Jesus, but this time, we don’t see a direct dialogue between God and Satan (one could infer that the conversation between Jesus and Satan hold some similarities in content). For more references to Satan, they become a little more obscure. Ezekiel 28, which is where the King of Tyrus is mentioned, talks about a lot of things that we can obviously say this King is not, but seems to refer to the same Satan of the New Testament. I don’t know what to think of this yet, but this is how I was taught who Satan was, and I’m still working on examining that to have a better idea of who Satan is.
    Hell is best described in the most obscure book of the bible, Revelation. In Revelation 20, hell is depicted as a place for everyone who has gone against/disobeyed God. We can go into all sorts of arguments about how fair it is/isn’t, but that is a pointless discussion, because neither you or I have enough information to make a fruitful debate.

    I know I skipped over a bunch of stuff that you wrote, and it’s because I am trying to give a “big picture” view of where I stand on some of the issues you have brought up. Just raise objections again if you think there are things I didn’t answer well, or didn’t at all that you feel are important enough to discuss. I hope this format of answering was maybe a little more efficient than the quote/answer method we’ve been using.

    Take care,
    -Alex

  9. Sorry for the late reply, the notification got buried in my inbox.

    “where are we expecting this whole conversation to go? If it is a true attack/defense situation, then there is no real attainable goal other than someone wins and the other loses. This is against how I roll, but up until now, I haven’t had a clear picture of your motivations. My philosophy is build relationships and have meaningful discussions.”

    I thought your goal was to explore Christianity. Is this not what we’re doing? As for me, I’m looking for just one Christian that can defend their beliefs. I do this for educational purposes, and it does have some entertainment value as well.

    “I’m going to respond to your post in a bit of a different format, so I’m explaining more of my beliefs rather than responding to individual statements”

    Uh oh, this sounds a whole lot like backing out, but I will continue reading to find if this is the case. Fingers crossed.

    “My main beef with macro-evolution is the classic argument of some (parts) organisms are irreducibly complex.”

    Well, if you had done the right thing and looked at the myriad of explanations to this problem you wouldn’t have much of a beef left. Just do a short search (heck, just go to wikipedia and check out the stuff the judge says about Behe in the Dover trial) and you will soon get explanations of why irreducible complexity is a dogmatist’s argument that all biologists can explain (if you care about what biologists say, which I’m not sure that you do).

    I can give you links if your googling skills fail, however the short version is this: component parts of an organ can have uses even if Behe and other proponents of the argument from ignorance can’t think of them. Note, though, that those components do not need to have the same use in earlier stages of the evolutionary process as they end up having later (nature adapts). This is the case in the now famous flagellum (this was demonstrated in the previously mentioned trial), while not so much in the human eye.

    “This book has clear roots in Intelligent Design (the fact is that if I want information that is an alternative to evolution, I’ll have to look at alternative sources).”

    That’s admirable. However, taking it seriously is another matter. People have commented that this is like looking at alchemy as a viable alternative to chemistry. ID is not science, as you well know, so in other words: the stuff you get from Behe is basically just his biased opinion. I’d think twice before passing things like that on, as it reflects poorly on you and tells people like me that you don’t do your research.

    “Even scientists say it would be impossible to perform an absolute experiment to test macro-evolution”

    I guess those are the scientists that have not actually tested macro-evolution already? Let me guess, the scientists you were referring to here were not biologists. I’ve already supplied you with a link regarding this in my last reply. It’s been tested.

    “it would take a millions of years with millions of organisms, which doesn’t negate it’s possibility of truth, I suppose, but does give it the same judgment as creationism/intelligent design: it’s not provable through a thorough investigation”

    Didn’t I already explain this? All we need are organisms with a very short lifespan. Did you read my last reply, or did you just ignore chunks of it? And then you equate ID with macro-evolution. It’s one thing to say that you don’t believe in the evidence put forth (that’s fine, you don’t think science works), but don’t go about saying things like “there’s no evidence” and “this is not provable” when you haven’t looked for evidence and you haven’t got the backing to proclaim anything unprovable.

    ####

    “From the beginning of the Bible, there is an overbearing theme that we need someone to fix us because we’re not capable”

    This book is in other words telling us that we are ill, and then it sells us the cure? Wait, do we pay for it now and get the reward after we are dead? How can you not see that this is an obvious sham? I don’t think you fall for the pleadings of Nigerian princes, so why do you buy into this?

    “This, of course, leaves a lot of questions about validity of prophesy concerning Jesus, and if you want to make specific objections about that, I can check those out on an individual basis.”

    I’m not sure I see the point. Let’s say all the prophecies regarding the messiah in the OT were fulfilled in the NT, for the sake of argument. What is most likely: that the authors of the NT had read the OT and made the sequel match up with the prequel; OR: that prophets back then had powers to foretell the future?. If you were talking about any religion other than your own, you would have the exact same opinion as me on that matter. You make special pleadings because you think your book is special.

    “As far as historical account goes, Josephus noted that Jesus did some “wonderful works”, but didn’t call them miracles, and also reported that the disciples claimed he was resurrected the third day. This is important because he was Jewish, and didn’t follow Christianity. As a historian, it is his job to seek out notable facts and trustworthy sources, so for him to write what he did about Jesus does give Jesus’ account a bit of credibility, even if we just go as far as being a good moral teacher.”

    So a man born after Jesus’ death is relaying hearsay from the followers of a cult. There are plenty of problems with the quote you’re referring to: ( http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Josephus ). I’m no Christian scholar, but the guy who wrote what’s in the link is pretty knowledgable and he makes some good points.

    “You say that common social account wouldn’t work. I beg to differ.”

    I believe I have utterly defeated this argument already. We both know that lies lives on (through other religions), and that long-lived hype does nothing for whether something is actually true. You say those other cults are false, but that goes along with what I’m saying here. This is not how you decide what is true on any other subject, so why would you even argue along these lines?

    “I beg to differ. Just as I am aware of the Mormon cults, I can be assured that their cult-beliefs are wrong (such as the multiple failed predictions of Jesus’ return), even though I can have repeat encounters from Mormon believers trying to convert me.”

    The bible makes failed predictions of Jesus’ return/the end of the world. Granted, your beliefs are not as whacky as Mormonism, but your beliefs are still full of holes. Want to bet that any Mormon would answer that criticism with something along the lines of “Oh, sure, maybe that prediction failed, but that doesn’t even touch the foundation of my Mormonism”.

    I’m glad you realize why I’m skeptical, though.

    “He seems to contradict Himself (thou shall not kill VS. “go and kill off these people”). A simplistic argument for this is simply saying that the Hebrew word that we translate as kill actually means to murder”

    Please clarify what murder means (as I assume you don’t mean his definition back then matched that of today’s). What it means now, and what it means then. Is it ever murder if your god does it, or if someone does it because your lord commanded it? Why would your god not make things clear? Why has he not still?

    “I can, however, say that in all instances where Israel was told to wipe out a civilization/city/culture, there was usually a reason behind it.”

    There always is. Usually poor, barbaric reasons that strangely seem to match that of what you’d expect from a conquering Jewish warband. Weird, isn’t it? Do you think these reasons were good? Or do you think these reasons were good because everything your god does it automatically good, no matter if we’re talking about killing babies or raping?

    “but my point is that God offered a way for them not to be destroyed if they just did what God wanted them to do.”

    So in other words: not always does god just go around killing, sometimes he threatens people first? How does this not go against your concept of free will?

    “In Exodus 11, Moses speaks to the Pharaoh about this judgment, and the Pharaoh could have just let Moses and the Israelites go”

    Are we ignoring the part where your god hardened the Pharao’s heart? In any case, none of this is an excuse for killing children for something their parents’ leader does, is it? I hope you don’t take any moral lessons from Exodus.

    “Even in the case of the flood in Genesis chapters 5 to 7, there isn’t enough information to defend it, but it is sufficient to say that all people have a general moral compass (whether you want to believe it’s a natural mechanism or not), and people stopped following it and did their own thing.”

    This doesn’t make sense to me. If people stopped following their own moral compass, what compass did they follow? But that’s really besides the point, god decided to kill all life on earth. That makes him evil, even if he had just decided to kill all the cute bunnies in the world.

    If you can come up with excuses for this kind of behavior, what kind of behavior *won’t* you tolerate?

    “The creation of Satan can be no larger fault than the birth of a serial killer. People are able to choose how they live, ”

    So your god just didn’t know better than to create Satan? How does your god’s ability to see the future work in conjunction with choosing how to live? If your god knows in advance how things will turn out, can you deviate from his plan?

    If you answer nothing else, please answer this: Is your god in control of his actions or not?

    “hell is best described in the most obscure book of the bible, Revelation. In Revelation 20, hell is depicted as a place for everyone who has gone against/disobeyed God. We can go into all sorts of arguments about how fair it is/isn’t, but that is a pointless discussion, because neither you or I have enough information to make a fruitful debate.”

    Can we agree that there will be much suffering for those that go there? If we can, we’re still very much on track and you’ve still got to defend why it’s okay to get punished for not believing in a guy that is invisible to all non-Christians.

    —-

    Now to some old (that I didn’t think you answered) and new questions.

    1. Does your departure of the subject of your religion clashing with science mean that we finally agree on that issue?

    2. Is it moral to punish someone for his parents’ sins?

    3. Can anything be moral if your god commands it? (Euthyphro’s dilemma, I know)

    4. Did Jesus believe that the things in the OT actually happened (esp, the creation, Exodus)?

    5. Would the sin of lying be worth it if doing so would bring a soul to Christ?

    6. Why can’t god express himself in a better way than through people (and texts) that you have no way of knowing is speaking the truth? (In other words: why should faith be required if you’ve got tangible evidence?)

    7. Can you acknowledge that your free will argument for why god stays invisible doesn’t hold water?

    8. I’m still not sure how you can claim an imperfect designer is perfect, perhaps you could expound on that? Or did we come to the conclusion that you believe he is perfect because the bible says he is?

    That wall of text is it for now. Can’t say I’m a fan of your new format of answering questions, by the way.

  10. Sorry for the super lateness – I got a new job, then there was the holidays, then I was busy with work, to the extent that I didn’t have to time to give a good response to you. My sincerest apologies.
    I’ll have to admit that some of my statements were written in haste, and even reading back, I would disagree on some.
    I’ve done some research, albeit, I don’t have many resources (such is the life of a poor college student), and have maybe come up with some better conclusions, but I’ll save those to the end, as you did post a number of things you want me to address.

    “Can’t say I’m a fan of your new format of answering questions, by the way.”
    Noted :)

    1. You were right, we are exploring Christianity, and I think I misjudged you, so apologies. You want the truth just like I do, and I can respect that (or at least I’ll try my best, with our so-far contrary thoughts).

    2. I’m still somewhat shy of subscribing to macro-evolution, but I have read some online articles and am more-so open to the idea, from both a scientific and Biblical stand-point (I’ll get more into that near the bottom). Irreducible complexity, I think, still has some merit, but I’m also still researching that from both perspectives (ID cv. Creationism). Maybe I’ll change my mind on it, I don’t know yet.

    3. I don’t know if ID is quite comparable to alchemy, but I do understand what you’re saying, that it is more pseudo-science than actual science.

    4. “This book is in other words telling us that we are ill, and then it sells us the cure? Wait, do we pay for it now and get the reward after we are dead? How can you not see that this is an obvious sham? I don’t think you fall for the pleadings of Nigerian princes, so why do you buy into this?”
    If it were an issue of “buying a cure” I wouldn’t be interested. I can’t think of a good analogy that would do the Bible justice, but it’s more like making cookies with a 5 year old. This analogy is breakable, but the main idea is that we’re the 5 year old, and although we think we know what’s best, on occasion, we make a huge mess, and because we’re 5, we aren’t able to really understand the idea of cleaning up. Again, you could probably break that analogy in a second, but I lack a better statement without using the statement “a perfect third party is making cookies with a human 5 year old.”

    5. “What is most likely: that the authors of the NT had read the OT and made the sequel match up with the prequel; OR: that prophets back then had powers to foretell the future?. If you were talking about any religion other than your own, you would have the exact same opinion as me on that matter. You make special pleadings because you think your book is special.”
    I see your point, so that’s probably not something worth continuing in this discussion. Over the last few months, I’ve started to take on the mindset of “Occam’s Razor,” so I’m completely following your logic on this one.

    6. I read the article you linked to about Josephus, and it seems to make sense, so we’ll strike that from the list of evidences – there is enough against that quotation that I don’t think it can be used as a definitive piece of evidence. Thanks for the link.

    7. “The bible makes failed predictions of Jesus’ return/the end of the world. Granted, your beliefs are not as whacky as Mormonism, but your beliefs are still full of holes.”
    I’m actually a semi-preterist, so it’s better to say that people have made some failed predictions of Jesus’ return and the end of the world. For me, the world does not end (there are no direct Biblical statements saying the Earth will explode or vanish or anything like that), and in fact, I’m not particularly waiting for Jesus’ return. As a semi-preterist, I still believe Jesus will return, but I would never waste my time trying to predict it, and I certainly don’t believe in some sort of a “rapture.” Since there has been multiple failed predictions, there are a few possibilities, some ridiculous, and others that make sense:
    – Jesus isn’t returning, because:
    a. the Bible lies
    b. the Bible was misinterpreted
    c. Jesus came back and we somehow missed it.
    – Jesus is returning, but
    a. it’s going to be at some unknown date.
    b. it’s going to be at a predictable date.
    The route of least resistance would be that the Bible lies, which is probably close, if not definitively where you stand. I also would strike out that Jesus is returning at a predictable date, and that Jesus returned, but we missed it. That still leaves some options for me, and that’s how I view that system of thought. Some people argue that it’s unpredictable based on Matthew 24:44, but there isn’t enough textual-context to say whether or not that is refering to Jesus’ return after His resurrection (At pentecost), or about Jesus’ prophesied return sometime later.
    I didn’t want this answer to be as long as it is, but I figured it was all relevant (sorry if it wasn’t).

    8. “Please clarify what murder means (as I assume you don’t mean his definition back then matched that of today’s). What it means now, and what it means then. Is it ever murder if your god does it, or if someone does it because your lord commanded it? Why would your god not make things clear? Why has he not still?”
    The 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) states, “thou shall not murder.” This is based on the word ratsach ( http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/ratsach.html ) which is to intentionally kill or predetermine who you will kill and follow through with it. This is presumably only a commandment for people, which you could automatically say, “then your god is a hypocrite,” which may or may not be true, but I think the reason is because we aren’t able to objectively right a wrong by killing another person. If God truly desired “eye for an eye,” then I’d have to say people want that, plus a pound of flesh for compensation. Maybe that’s a bad way to interpret it, I don’t know. That’s my take on it, anyway.

    9. (in regards to Israel being commanded to wipe out other cities/cultures) “There always is. Usually poor, barbaric reasons that strangely seem to match that of what you’d expect from a conquering Jewish warband. Weird, isn’t it? Do you think these reasons were good? Or do you think these reasons were good because everything your god does it automatically good, no matter if we’re talking about killing babies or raping?”
    I see what you’re saying. I can’t say that I always agree with all the reasonings, but I don’t think the Bible ever talks about Israel being commanded to rape people. It does, however, talk about killing babies; I definitely couldn’t do that, myself, but I suppose a (poor) solution is that the children would either be left to their own devices, or raised by people that killed their parents. Again, I don’t agree with it, but it’s really a negative any way you think about it, once their parents have been killed.

    10. (in regards to God giving people/cities/cultures options before they are killed) “So in other words: not always does god just go around killing, sometimes he threatens people first? How does this not go against your concept of free will?”
    As you noted, God didn’t do any of the killing, it was the Jewish people. It was done through the command of God, though, so I suppose He’s still involved in the killing situation. However, I don’t think it’s an issue of threatening or freewill. Just like if you don’t pay your landlord and (s)he sends an eviction notice, it’s not a threat, it’s stating that you’ve decided to not follow the payment rules, and either you fix that immediately, or you get kicked out. There’s still freewill, although your options are somewhat limited. People could have fled their cities, or repented, or even prepared for battle. A God who limits decisions doesn’t necessarily take away from the idea of free-will (if there is such a thing).

    11. (regards to my flood point) “This doesn’t make sense to me. If people stopped following their own moral compass, what compass did they follow? But that’s really besides the point, god decided to kill all life on earth. That makes him evil, even if he had just decided to kill all the cute bunnies in the world.”
    I’ll admit, I have no idea where I was going with that point (with an extreme lack of evidence, too) – my apologies. However, I don’t think it’s evil to destroy something you’ve made to try and make it better. For instance, have you ever played sim-city and build this huge city, then were unhappy with it and destroyed 99% of it to start over? Or built something huge out of lego, but it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, so you rip it apart and start fresh? Is that evil? I don’t know if that’s the same sort of idea, but it’s the closest parallel I can get that we can (probably) both relate to.

    12. “So your god just didn’t know better than to create Satan? How does your god’s ability to see the future work in conjunction with choosing how to live? If your god knows in advance how things will turn out, can you deviate from his plan?”
    People often think of Satan as some sort of god-like person who God has difficulty defeating. Biblically, Satan is extremely limited, and has no ability to overthrow God at any time. To be completely honest, there isn’t even a whole lot of information on Satan in the Bible to justify many Christian’s claims about him.
    I don’t have the answer to how God sees the future; there are many theories, but personally, I believe it’s more like God is the master chess player, and can see every possible move that could ever be, and each move, the number of options becomes more limited, and thus He can make predictions and even prophesies that will be absolutely accurate. But that’s just my stance, which is close to the Christian “middle ground” – the two extremes are Open Theism (God doesn’t know until it happens, He can change His mind, etc.), and Classical Theism (God predestined everything, and the idea of freewill is relative, God cannot change His mind). There are a lot of ideas that are degrees of each, most of which can be supported by the Bible.

    13. “If you answer nothing else, please answer this: Is your god in control of his actions or not?”
    Yes. Hopefully I’ve conveyed that, but like I’ve said, I don’t know everything there is to know about God, but I can’t see why He wouldn’t be. Of course, the counter would be that if He is not in control, then maybe He doesn’t actually exist, and He is just how we describe things we cannot explain. In my current state, I can’t agree that there is no God, if that is the point you are trying to make. The whole idea of existence is fairly ambiguous, especially in the case where we cannot physically see or touch the thing we are trying to prove. It’s a fruitless argument.

    14. “1. Does your departure of the subject of your religion clashing with science mean that we finally agree on that issue?”
    I think we can agree that religion and science should be on their own path, and I think science should influence religion, and not the other way around. I try very hard to justify science in my beliefs, and even though from your perspective it probably doesn’t look like I’ve gone very far with that, my beliefs and scientific stand-point have insulted many of my Christian brothers and sisters, and would be considered renegade to many other Christians I don’t know. As a Christian, I am forced to try and filter out all the propaganda that I am given about Creationism and what I’m supposed to believe about Evolution, and I try and make sense of it. That’s probably not what you want to hear, but that’s my reality. The more information I have about both sides, the better I can filter things.

    15. “2. Is it moral to punish someone for his parents’ sins?”
    Nope. I’m assuming you’re making a reference to Exodus 20:5-6. This is often misunderstood. It says up to the third and fourth generation, God will revisit their father’s iniquity on their children. This that any person within those generations still has the ability to change (their father’s iniquity will be revisted to show them error), but after that, it’s more of a family habit than it is something that is someone’s fault. However, it also says that God will show loving kindness to any person in thousands of generations that love Him. To revisit someone’s iniquity is to simply remind them where they went wrong. It isn’t beating them over the head, or causing some sort of physical judgement. And, at the immediate moment when someone begins loving God, it says there will be thousands of generations that will have God’s loving kindness on them, because they love God.

    16. “3. Can anything be moral if your god commands it? (Euthyphro’s dilemma, I know)”
    Theoretically, yes. I don’t know that there is an absolute right answer to this, at least in humanistic terms.

    17. “4. Did Jesus believe that the things in the OT actually happened (esp, the creation, Exodus)?”
    I’d assume so, but the Bible doesn’t really talk about that, so I can’t officially say one way or another.

    18. “5. Would the sin of lying be worth it if doing so would bring a soul to Christ?”
    No, I don’t think so. But sin is sin, and people do it everyday, myself included. I don’t think it would be justifiable, but that’s just my opinion.

    19. “6. Why can’t god express himself in a better way than through people (and texts) that you have no way of knowing is speaking the truth? (In other words: why should faith be required if you’ve got tangible evidence?)”
    My personal belief in this is that God expresses Himself in many ways, and most of which we probably don’t think about. For a second, let’s pretend that God created things through the process of evolution (which is Biblically possible) – would He not be expressing Himself through our act of discovering it? We could say also that God expressed Himself during His incarnation, but that isn’t so much relevant to today’s desire for Him to express Himself.

    20. “7. Can you acknowledge that your free will argument for why god stays invisible doesn’t hold water?”
    I don’t know what you mean, but maybe I can describe my view of God’s “invisibility.” Outside of the incarnation of Jesus, God is really big – God would have to be so big that He could monitor and control the entire universe. Now, let’s compare that to the earth for a second, and humanity’s exploration of it. We started thinking the Earth was the center of the whole universe, and that it was flat, but the more we discovered, the more we saw that the Earth is round, and certainly not anywhere near the middle of the universe. It’s something that had to be explored and examined, because the Earth is too big for a human to sit on it and without seeing the earth as a whole, make statements about how it looks and functions. Likewise, God is quite a bit bigger. How can we know God when we can only see such a small percentage that it doesn’t even register to us as being God. Like looking at one molecule of a shirt – it would be impossible to identify what it is. That’s my take on it, anyway. I don’t know exactly how you mean that to tie into free will, but I would interpret that as a desire to explore.

    21. “8. I’m still not sure how you can claim an imperfect designer is perfect, perhaps you could expound on that? Or did we come to the conclusion that you believe he is perfect because the bible says he is?”
    I suppose what I mean is how can you create something that you want to have the potential to do whatever it wants, while trying to get it to do what you built it to do? Sorry if that’s badly worded. For instance, guns can be made to defend people, but on the flip side, they are also able to attack. That’s the unfortunate flaw for designing an open-ended system. In my expertise, software engineering, this is a huge idea in the gaming world. How do you make a linear plot, but allow the points between the beginning and end to be truly non-linear?

  11. Sorry, I was going to post my conclusions from some of the research I’ve been doing and I clicked post too soon.

    So, the creation account seems to be out of order, so I wanted to see if there was a way of fixing it without changing it.

    Well, planets did seem to be created before stars (in Genesis), so it is possible that it is true. I’m not an astronomer, and currently don’t have access to good material on the subject.
    The creation account itself seems to be Earth-centric, and because this is Moses’ interpretation, maybe it’s not absolutely accurate, I don’t know, but we’ll keep going with it, for the sake of discussion.

    The next thing is the order of creation. The order is not unlike the evolutionary model (water creatures, land creatures, then air creatures), and there is no real statement of time between days. There is a large possibility that God created through this process, and there is a good amount of evidence that could support this. I’m still researching it, because there are many ramifications that will come from that.
    The creation of human beings from dust could be a reference to Carbon, and was just stated as dust because there was a lack of understanding of many of the elements we have discovered up to today. If I were to continue with the model of evolution, it could be that a new intelligent primate species was created to evolve into what we are today. Right now, I am inclined to believe that we were directly created, but that may or may not change.

    I don’t know if that helps you understand my current situation or not, but it’s a start, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s