Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I Don't Believe In God

I was raised Mormon and I believed it. But there comes a time in everyones life, when they have to stop taking the spoon feeding, and decide for themselves if they truly believe it for themselves. I took a good hard look at the Mormon church and weighed it against my own core self. When I did that, Mormonism and Christianity in general began sounding like a fairy tale. A little research then confirmed what I already felt to be the case... and here is the verdict:

Throughout the history of the earth, mankind has had countless different gods and mythologies. Even if one of them was actually the true god, how can we know which one? I know! The one that says, "I am the ONE!"

Belief in a god just doesn't make sense to me. For arguments sake, we'll talk about the Christian god since this god is the subject of many current debates. The earth exists. A fact we all agree upon. But does the existence of the earth prove the existence of the Christian god? Christians claim that their god is responsible for it and that he is the one and only true god. But just because the earth exists, that does not prove the Christian god is responsible. It's like me claiming to have built a certain house... just because the house is there does not prove that I actually built it, even if I claim that I did. I might have built it... but it's mere existance does not 100% guarantee that I am responsible. So it is with the god of the Bible.

Face it. The Bible is an old book. It's got a lot of rather silly teachings in it. Many of them outright contradict each other. How do you account for that seeing as how your god is perfect? Many people like to say stuff like, "We believe the Bible is true because there are actual places and events described in it." That is true and I don't doubt that the Bible has some historical accuracy. But that means nothing as far as it's divinity. Let me explain.

The Work and the Glory is a popular LDS fiction series of novels. We all know that. Even the LDS know that. However, The Work and the Glory is written around real events and real people in LDS history. So someone could argue, however irrational it may be, that because The Work and the Glory describes real people, places, and events, then it must be true.

The Bible is no different. Yes, it can be verified that Jericho and Jerusalem were real places. I don't doubt at all that they were. In fact, Jerusalem still exists today. But how do you know that someone living in Biblical times didn't just sit down and write a fictional story about a real city? Possibly around certain events that might have happened? How can you know with 100% assurance that Moses really was a prophet and not just a creative author? Unless you have a time machine, you really don't.

Now take this seemingly credible story and throw in some really bizarre things... talking donkeys, walking on water, etc. Now throw in some conflicting commandments. All of a sudden, your precious Bible is not as pure and simple as you thought it was. And although it is indeed based upon real places and real events, it just isn't reliable anymore.

IF there is a god, which I highly doubt, I would bet my life that it's not the Christian god. The story is just too bizarre and self-contradicting to make any real sense.

Now, I'm no expert, but let's take a brief look at Roman mythology. We have Zeus the king of the gods. If you've ever read any mythology, the stories exist to explain our world. Why does the sun rise and set? What happens when we die? Roman mythology was actually an ancient religion that was designed to explain our world.

What is the purpose of the Christian god? To explain our world. Where did the earth come from? Where did man come from? Why does evil exist? What happens when we die? Modern religion performs the same function that ancient religion performed: explain our world.

There is only one problem with that now. Science can explain our world WITHOUT the need for a god to be involved. We know why the sun rises and sets (it doesn't involve some dude pulling the sun through the sky behind his chariot). It involves the rotation of the earth. The seasons can be explains by the earth's tilt and it's path around the sun.

The problem for Christians is that our world no longer needs god. We need science.

The very fact that I can write these words and have them read instantly by millions of people around the world is made possible by science. That is a miracle. I could give out my phone number and someone living thousands of miles away could call me and we could have a real-time conversation, again made possible by science. Another miracle. If I wanted to meet that person, I could fly on an airplane and usually, within 48 hours, I could be knocking on that person's front door. In Biblical times, such a journey would have taken months. The credit again goes to science which performed the miracle.

I could pray to god all day long but without a phone I'll never be able to talk to someone a thousand miles away. The real miracles are provided by science EVERY SINGLE DAY and yet no one sees them. They want to give credit to some god for some coincidence that would have happened anyway. Then they turn around and say that science is evil.

In the Bible it was a huge miracle when Moses tapped the rock and water came out. While a fictional story, people don't realize that that happens every single day in our modern world. Water literally comes out of the walls in our homes and yet no one recognizes that as a miracle, which sadly (for Christians at least) is again a product of science.

Miracles happen around us hundreds of times a day! Think of the automobile, fax machines, digital cameras, DVD players, computers, Internet, ex-ray, etc. We are literally surrounded by miracles and, because they are common place, we don't even notice. Yet, if I could take a cell phone back in time 1000 years, I would be remembered through history as nearly a god! The things we can do now, all thanks to science, would have been considered miracles in Biblical times and a normal, average person today can do things that even the most creative author could not even comprehend a thousand years ago.

By Biblical standards, every person living today with even minimal access to any type of technology would be revered as a prophet, if not a god!

So there you have it! That's why I can't believe in god. The Bible is unreliable, not to mention ancient! It has nothing to do with our modern way of living. Nothing. Science performs more miracles than god ever has or ever could. Sorry, god, you're only second best. Now if the Bible contained detailed instructions on how to build a light bulb, then that would be something to investigate. But the Bible has nothing. In fact, science has proven that many Biblical stories are totally untrue.

Now a Christian could argue that all of this technology was inspired by god. That could be the case, I'll admit that. But how does that explain that science works everywhere, not just in Christian nations? In fact, a large majority of modern technology comes from Japan, a non-Christian country. Why would the Christian god inspire all those Buddhist "heathens" with all the secrets of technology? Since you can't answer that question, I'll rest my case. If you can answer it, I would surely like to hear it.

And the most abhorrent thing about Christianity that I can barely stomach is all these fanatical idiots who threaten me with damnation simply for not believing in their version of Jesus. Why are they so worried about what everyone else believes? Why can't they live their lives, believe their beliefs, and leave everyone else alone? As a former colleague of mine used to say, why do they spread their "blanket condemnation" over everyone who doesn't believe EXACTLY what they believe? That doesn't sound like a loving god anyway! It sounds like an angry, jealous, vengeful god. Even if the god of Christianity was real, why would I want to worship him? He is a tyrant and a dictator!

That's why I believe in science, not god. As soon as god comes down from the sky and takes credit for everything, then I'll be a staunch believer. But until then, all bets are off. The bottom line is ultimately this: if god did create the world, then a study of that world (science) should only more clearly reveal the nature of god. But since the opposite is in fact the case, then the god of the Bible could not have created this world.

And that's why I don't believe in god!

Why I Don't Believe In God (Continued)

20 comments:

Jessicasheley said...

Hi there!

Thanks for sharing your reasons for not believing in the God of the Bible. I just posted a response over on my blog and would love to hear your thoughts on the questions I posed.

Have a great night!

Jessica

Mormon411 said...

Jessica,

First of all, having been Mormon all my life, if you have any questions in your studies of the LDS faith, I'll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Secondly, did you ever get to view that video of Daniel Peterson? I left a comment in response and included the direct URL to the video.

Now to the heart of the discussion... these are my thoughts:

Your position assumes that Jesus actually was born in exactly the time and place as OT prophets predicted. If that is true, then you have a very valid argument. So the logical question that follows is: Was Jesus actually born when and where the Bible says he was? Or was he even born at all?

I believe that there is not significant evidence that he was. To my knowledge, and I could be mistaken, the only record we have of Jesus' life is in the NT.

Now the origins of the NT are iffy. The first historical mention of the NT occurs at least 100 years after the fact. No one knows for sure who wrote the originals and no one even knows where the originals are... if they even still exist. It is clear from the gospels that the authors were not personally familiar with Jesus. Their writings indicate that they are re-telling the story.

Now, just for arguments sake, please assume for a moment that Jesus did not exist. How hard would it be for an author in the first century AD to sit down and write a story about Jesus and in that story all of the OT prophesies are fulfilled? Someone then finds this document and the story becomes popular.

It might be a far fetched idea, but you can't rule it out as a possibility.

There is an article online entitled
"Did Jesus Really Live?". This article was very influential in my discovery of the Jesus Myth as I'll call it. I believe it provides significant arguments that He did not. I highly suggest that you read it.

Looking forward to your response.

Mormon411 said...

"Finally, if it was all just made-up, what motivated the early followers of Christianity to endure horrible Roman persecutions and death for a fictional story?"

They didn't know it was fictional. Just as the early Mormons suffered extreme circumstances and death in crossing the country to come to Utah. They endured it because they believed it. It's sad that it happened, just as it's sad that early Christians also suffered.

One could argue that because the early Mormons suffered then their cause must be true, but you and I both know that is not the case.

Jessicasheley said...

Hi again!

Thanks for being willing to answer my questions on Mormonism. I'm sure I will take you up on that! Sometimes I am just scratching my head...

Also, yes, I was able to view the Daniel Peterson video, but I'm afraid it was a yawner for me.

Thanks for the article written in 1922? Is that right? The author did not appear to have all of his facts straight or maybe the article is just behind on some of the more recent scholarship or he didn’t have access to Wikipedia, I’m not sure. I started to do a paragraph by paragraph refute, but realized it would take too long, but I may decide to do that later. Anyway, it definitely got me thinking. A few thoughts for now –

Some of his claims reminded me of an unreferenced handout given to me by an LDS visiting teacher recently. It was called “Challenges to the Book of Mormon” and contained outlandishly false statements implying that the Book of Mormon had been reviewed by the best scholars and archaeologists and had been totally vindicated in every way. I asked her for the sources that backed up these shocking assertions that I could not verify anywhere on the internet and she told me she would have to do some research and get back with me. Two follow up emails, a phone call, and a month later and I am still waiting for those sources…

Anyway, some of the statements in this article reminded me of that handout for some reason. Maybe it was the lack of reference to any source materials, I’m not sure. (BTW, do you know what his credentials are in ancient Greco-Roman history? From the research I have done, the Jesus-myth proponents are not qualified historians)

Okay, I’ll try to hit on a couple of main points:

His claim that the gospels are the only sources of authority as to the existence of Christ is false. Josephus, the most well known Jewish historian, referred to Jesus in these sources outside the Bible:

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant18.html (chapter 3.3)

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant20.html (chapter 9.1)

More extra-biblical sources here: http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm

More evidence from history here: http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html

See especially the notes on the conversations between Justin Martyr and Trypho and the notes at the bottom regarding the scant historical information available from this time period. The fact that we have so much historical evidence for Jesus is remarkable considering the very limited documents from antiquity for this time period. A few paragraphs might be ample proof for some to say that a person existed, but when it comes to the historical evidence for Jesus no amount of proof is sufficient for some apparently.

I suppose someone could allege that the original NT writings weren’t written until the date of the earliest copies we have (130 AD), but it feels a little biased to me when we don’t do this with other works of antiquity. The earliest copy we have of Homer’s writings is 400 BC, yet scholars date the originals (which we don’t have) at 900 BC. That’s a 500 year gap whereas with the NT we have less than a 100 year gap between the earliest copy and the originals.

It also feels a little biased to me also to hear allegations that the people who claimed to write the NT actually didn’t. We don’t have original copies of many writings from antiquity, but I don’t hear people making the claim that someone else wrote Plato or Aristotle’s writings. The article also implied that the writers of the NT didn’t claim to be eye-witnesses. Yes, they did (John 1:24, 1 John 1:1-2, II Peter 1:16).

The attacks on the Bible’s authenticity and reliability are not new, they’re thousands of years old. Considering the tremendous opposition and scrutiny imposed on the Bible by hard-core skeptics over the past 2000 years, the fact that anyone still believes it is indeed phenomenal (supernatural?) or, perhaps it’s because, upon further investigation of the evidence, it stands up against the alleged “evidence” against it.

Of course I am not going to argue that faith doesn’t come into the equation though. The Bible does have one unified theme throughout its pages from OT to NT – justification is only possible through faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The disciple John, who claimed to be an eye-witness, said he wrote his book (the gospel of John) so that we would believe “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). Jesus said “when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

As we near the close of the first decade in the new millennium, I often consider the Biblical prophecies related to the end times and I see so many things lining up for the end and I believe Jesus could return at any time, but I suppose it’s possible I am just one of many being swept along by some gigantic myth that is headed nowhere… Or, it could be that the Bible is true and I will be happily satisfied to have given my heart to the Man that some are now saying never even existed…

Jessicasheley said...

Uh-oh, I see that my "non-techie" side is shining through.

I don't know why my links didn't post correctly. I will try again:

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant18.html (see chapter 3.3)

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant20.html (in chapter 9.1)

More extra-biblical sources here: http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm

More evidence from history here: http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html

Jessica said...

Oh my... I guess I will post them over on my blog. You can click on them over there...

I highly suggest that you read them and I look forward to your response.

Mormon411 said...

Jessica,

You know, I did not realize that the article was that old. I checked the website and the author was born in the 1880's. So I need to get myself a little more updated information. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

The last link you gave provided the best arguments for the existance of Jesus. None of them address the divinity of Christ, but they do give compelling arguments that he was, at very least, a real person, which I could buy, given a little more research.

I then found a good article (a much more current one) on an atheist website which also provides good arguments against the NT and it's authors. "Did Jesus Exist?"

I didn't read it all, but the author seems to think that his arguments prove the non-existance of Jesus. I didn't necessarially see it that way. He does have good arguments, but they seem to indicate, again, authors who were not present during the so-called events, and seemed to not be aware of Jerusalem-area geography.

It appears that there are many atheists who do agree that Jesus was a real person. While his divinity is still in question, I could concede, with a little more research, that he was at least a real person.

However, given the uncertainty of the NT authors, I would still doubt if he was born when and where they say, although I will not deny that the possibility exists that he could have been.

You see, there might be historic references to Jesus as you have pointed out. However, they only mention him very briefly and say absolutely nothing about the circumstances of his birth.

Thanks, Jessia, I am finding this discussion most stimulating.

Mormon411 said...

BTW, if you ever do write a response to that original article, I would very much like to see it.

You said one other thing that I'd like to comment on as well...

"As we near the close of the first decade in the new millennium, I often consider the Biblical prophecies related to the end times and I see so many things lining up for the end and I believe Jesus could return at any time, but I suppose it’s possible I am just one of many being swept along by some gigantic myth that is headed nowhere… Or, it could be that the Bible is true and I will be happily satisfied to have given my heart to the Man that some are now saying never even existed…"

Seeing as how there are so many different Christian sects and beliefs, only one can be the right one, if Christianity is true at all. What about all the people that belong to the wrong ones? Will Jesus damn them even though they too have given their hearts to Christ and have been genuine believers? There just seems to be too many ways to get it wrong and a very slim chance of getting it right. That's not fair, especially since god is supposed to be loving, caring, and forgiving.

Even if it is proven that Jesus was a real man, I just can't buy into the "believe or be damned" stuff. I just goes against my better judgement. I'm currently writing a part-2 of "Why I Don't Believe In God" and I'll elaborate there.

Jessicasheley said...

I don't have a lot of time as it's getting late and I need to catch some zzz's before a busy day tomorrow, but I wanted to comment briefly on what you said here:

"Seeing as how there are so many different Christian sects and beliefs, only one can be the right one, if Christianity is true at all. What about all the people that belong to the wrong ones? Will Jesus damn them even though they too have given their hearts to Christ and have been genuine believers?"

The LDS, JW's, and a variety of other cult groups are the only ones I know of that claim to be "the only true church." Orthodox Christians of a variety of different denominations do not claim to be "the only true church." Christians of various denominations agree on the basics of who Jesus is and how people are saved (by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for our sin). The Scriptures are very clear and leave little room for doubt on these matters so those who read and believe it tend to agree with each other. Other theological matters of secondary importance are not essential to salvation but can be very interesting discussions and debates among Christians. I have always enjoyed fellowship with Christians of various denominations and I believe that anyone who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior is a true Christian no matter what church they attend or whether they attend one at all. There are people coming out of every religion on the planet testifying that they have come to have this personal relationship with Christ.

"There just seems to be too many ways to get it wrong and a very slim chance of getting it right. That's not fair, especially since god is supposed to be loving, caring, and forgiving."

I don't think it's as hard as you make it sound, but a person has to be seeking. If we are resisting Him or don't want Him in our lives, He will not force Himself on us. In the Old Testament God said "you will seek me and find me when you will search for me with all your heart." There are stories of tribal people in villages that had never even heard of Jesus or the Bible, but they looked at the world around them and saw evidence of a Creator and they knew they were sinners so they began to pray and seek God to help them. Christian missionaries that have come upon these kind of villages or tribes have found ripe spiritual fruit ready to be picked. I believe God will graciously respond to any seeking heart, but just as you are offended by pride when you find it in others, God also says that pride is an offense to Him.

EriK said...

>>>>Even if one of them was actually the true god, how can we know which one? I know! The one that says, "I am the ONE!"

Interestingly, the only faiths that claim exclusivity are the Abrahamic faiths. All others ignore, accept, or adopt competing deities, philosophies, and faiths, contradictory or not. Not so with the above 3. So by your above criteria, you've already narrowed the field down to 3 workable candidates. Good job! :)

>>>>Christians claim that their god is responsible for it and that he is the one and only true god. But just because the earth exists, that does not prove the Christian god is responsible

Of course not. But something is responsible, and God fits the criteria. The existence of the earth is not a proof, it is one of many pieces of evidence, which, taken cumulatively, point to Jesus Christ as Creator God.

>>>>>but it's mere existance does not 100% guarantee that I am responsible.

On the other hand, if there was a blueprint floating around with your name on it, that matched your handwriting and was different from all other blueprints of other architects, then the evidence would start adding up in your favor. So it is with YHWH.

EriK said...

>>>>>>The Bible is an old book. It's got a lot of rather silly teachings in it.

It is old, which means it should be taken seriously, considering people have been believing it for so long. It's not a recent cult and can't be as easily dismissed as one would Scientology or Mormonism. And the teachings are only silly if you don't understand them :)

>>>>But how do you know that someone living in Biblical times didn't just sit down and write a fictional story about a real city?

You apply the grammatical-historical method. Some of the languages, cultures, customs, and even cities were long gone by the time of some writings, and would by that or some other way be unknown to a person who wasn't there at the time when it was written. What it all means is that you can easily determine that someone did write prose history about a real event at the time and in the place when it is claimed. The only alternative to the skeptic is to claim that it's all a lie or that the person was incredibly deluded, which doesn't fit with the rest of their writing which is confirmably true. Neither does it read like fiction in any place. It stretches the imagination to think of such excuses.

>>>>>How can you know with 100% assurance that Moses really was a prophet and not just a creative author?

Because everyone else in the Bible refers to the Law of Moses, including Jesus Christ Himself. When God Himself puts His stamp of authenticity upon the books of Moses, that means that what is contained therein is real historical fact.

EriK said...

>>>>>Unless you have a time machine, you really don't.

I sincerely hope you apply this same level of scrutiny to the doctrine of evolutionism.

>>>>>Now take this seemingly credible story and throw in some really bizarre things... talking donkeys, walking on water, etc.

The question is, with all the other clearly credible things, and the seriousness of the writing, what basis is there for rejecting the few things that seem out of our ordinary experience?

>>>>I would bet my life that it's not the Christian god. The story is just too bizarre and self-contradicting to make any real sense.

What other god presents a better alternative to you? Just curious.

>>>>What is the purpose of the Christian god? To explain our world

You need to realize that this is entirely your own speculative interpretation.

>>>>>Where did the earth come from? Where did man come from? Why does evil exist? What happens when we die? ....Science can explain our world WITHOUT the need for a god to be involved.

Actually, with regard to your questions, materialistic science has been demonstrably incapable of answering any of those questions.

>>>>>We know why the sun rises and sets (it doesn't involve some dude pulling the sun through the sky behind his chariot).

What amuses me is how often you, and other atheists, apply bait-and-switch to mock other religions and then lump Christianity in with them, when it exhibits none of the ludicrous things that you mock about other religions.

>>>>>The problem for Christians is that our world no longer needs god. We need science

Your next paragraph implies that the two are mutually exclusive, but they are not.

EriK said...

>>>>>The Bible is unreliable

You proved this exactly 0 times in your entire diatribe.

Just helping you out, here. Don't want you to think you're right when you're not, y'know?

>>>>>Now if the Bible contained detailed instructions on how to build a light bulb, then that would be something to investigate.

You know as well as I that you would explain that by claiming that ancient man developed high levels of technology (which they did--they actually invented batteries thousands of years ago in Iraq), which was then forgotten until modern day. Because they'd rather believe that they were totally wrong about everything else EXCEPT that God doesn't exist. Paradigm conflict.

>>>>>Now a Christian could argue that all of this technology was inspired by god.

It was -made possible- by God. And yes, Christians throughout history have made the most and the most dramatic improvements in technology, society, etc. This is highly documented if you look for it.

>>>>>But how does that explain that science works everywhere, not just in Christian nations?

Wouldn't that be suspicious? Moreover, God loves everyone and doesn't esteem any one person or group of persons as better than others--this deeply irritated the arrogantly patriotic Jews when Jesus indicated that He loved and wanted to save the Gentiles. "He sends rain on the wicked and righteous alike." -- Ecclesiastes.

>>>>In fact, a large majority of modern technology comes from Japan, a non-Christian country.

Which was entirely built up by the US, a Christian nation. They wouldn't have made it anywhere without Western interference--that goes for the entire East in general, and Africa. Science came from Europe.

EriK said...

>>>>Why would the Christian god inspire all those Buddhist "heathens" with all the secrets of technology?

What "secrets of technology?" Please explain.

>>>>>And the most abhorrent thing about Christianity that I can barely stomach is all these fanatical idiots who threaten me with damnation simply for not believing in their version of Jesus.

They're not threatening you. They're just informing you as to what the consequences of your choices will be. The choice is yours entirely.

>>>>> Why can't they live their lives, believe their beliefs, and leave everyone else alone?

The following quote is from an atheist.

"If you believe that there’s a Heaven and Hell, and people could be going to Hell, or not getting eternal life, or whatever, and you think that, well it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward . . . How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you -- there is a certain point where I tackle you -- and this is more important than that." Penn Jillette (atheist -- Penn and Teller).

>>>>> As soon as god comes down from the sky and takes credit for everything, then I'll be a staunch believer.

He already has, but you didn't believe. He did what you demanded. Your move.

>>>>>The bottom line is ultimately this: if god did create the world, then a study of that world (science) should only more clearly reveal the nature of god.

It does. :)

Richard Bushey said...

I do not think that this page has really offered any reason to think that atheism is true. Let's take a look at some of your arguments.

"Throughout the history of the earth, mankind has had countless different gods and mythologies."
From this, it does not follow logically that all belief systems are false. There is a very easy process of distinguishing mythology from truth.

First, we would offer the Kalam Cosmological argument (the argument from the beginning of the universe), and put the possible solutions through what is know as Ockham's Razor. This principle dictates that the most complex solutions get tossed out. So polythestic faiths do not work, nor do pantheistic faiths.

So we are left with the three great monotheistic faiths, namely, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

But, you say, "I believe that there is not significant evidence that Jesus was born at all. To my knowledge, and I could be mistaken, the only record we have of Jesus' life is in the NT."

Well you are mistaken. The New Testament is merely one long book. It is twenty-seven independently written books. On the basis of it, contemporary scholarship has concluded that Jesus of Nazareth absolutely did exist. In fact, there are three facts accepted by the historical community.
1: Three days after his dead, Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his female followers.
2: The disciples, enemies, and skeptics had experiences in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.
3: The original disciples came to believe in the resurrection so strongly, despite being given every reason not to.

Now, you say "The existence of the earth does not prove that the Christian God created it." That is true, I concede that much. Mine is a cumulative case. The existence of the universe proves that there must be a transcending cause of the universe, which, after appealing to Ockham's Razor, leaves you with the three monotheistic faiths.

"The Bible is an old book, and many of the teachings are silly and contradictory." That is true. This is because there was the Old Covenant that God used to govern people of ancient Israel, and the New Covenant, that was placed when Jesus came to earth.

I recommend the book "Is God A Moral Monster?" by Paul Copan. It tackles the issue of Old Testament ethics and the silly rules that you mentioned.

"How do you know that someone living in Biblical times didn't just sit down and write a fictional story about a real city?"
Well for several reasons. The New Testament is a collection of books, not just one man. Further, to go against Judaism in that time warranted death. I will send you the argument from a solitary life to explain this point.

Richard Bushey said...

"He was born in an obscure village; the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years, he was a preacher. He never wrote a book, he never held an office, he never had a family or owned a home, he never an army, he never traveled 200 miles from where he lived and he never did any of the things that are usually required to achieve greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away, one denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and nailed to a cross between two theives. While he was dying, the executioners gambled for his garmets; the only property that he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in the borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

20 centuries have come and gone, and today, he is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parlaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, have not affected humanity as much as that one solitary life.

If there was no resurretion, how could this one life be so impactful? Is it just because a few pious Jews from Jerusalem inexplicably decided to chuck Judaism, and fabricate a ressurection story, so they could fulfill their dream of being beaten, tortured, and killed?

I don't have enough faith to believe that."

Now, you do raise a lot of questions, like the problem of evil and such. But it seems that many of your objections are based on misunderstandings. Let me visit something that you said at the end of your article.

"That's why I believe in science, not god."
Science can support a premise in a philosophical argument that has a theological conclusion. That is to say that I actually appeal to science when talking about the existence of God.

I invite you to visit my website.
http://thereforegodexists.com/therefore-god-exists/

Mormon411 said...

Sir, do you believe in the Book of Mormon? It too, was supposedly written by many different authors over a period of 1000 years. And yet it is a fraud. Just because there are several books in the NT, does not prove it's true. Since I wrote this post, I have conceded that there MIGHT have been an actual man named Jesus. However, through time, the stories of him became embellished until he was a god... a god with several characteristics of earlier gods and dieties.

Ockham's Razor... Which is more simple, that a dead man came back to life (and performed several other impossible feats) or that the entire story of Jesus is made up?

As far as historians documenting the "facts" that you shared, I am extremely skeptical.

1: Three days after his dead, Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his female followers.

References?

2: The disciples, enemies, and skeptics had experiences in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.

How can historians verify this?References?

3: The original disciples came to believe in the resurrection so strongly, despite being given every reason not to.

How does anyone know what they believed? Or that they were even real?

Sorry, but all of these points are not convincing in the least. Again, I could use most of your arguments to claim the Book of Mormon was true, from multiple authors to witnesses. But in the end, it's just a fraud.

The problem is that your beliefs require a ton of justification. If it really were the unquestioned truth, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

It's truth if it's YOUR belief, and myth if it's someone else's belief. How convenient. How about accept reality. Accept that there is no such thing as dead people coming back to life, walking on water, and virgins having babies. You believe in stuff that is physically impossible; therefore, Ockham's Razor actually works against you.

BTW, I solved the problem of evil as a sophomore in college. My professor didn't accept it, however. And while it does disprove god, it's not in the way you might think...

Richard Bushey said...

"Sir, do you believe in the Book of Mormon? It too, was supposedly written by many different authors over a period of 1000 years. And yet it is a fraud. Just because there are several books in the NT, does not prove it's true."
That was not my argument.

"Since I wrote this post, I have conceded that there MIGHT have been an actual man named Jesus. However, through time, the stories of him became embellished until he was a god... a god with several characteristics of earlier gods and dieties."

I am surprised that you brought that up. The 'legend' evasion was abandoned hundreds of years ago. There were writing about Jesus' crucifixion and the fullness of the Christian doctrine within two years after his death. That is not enough time for a legend.

Ockham's Razor... Which is more simple, that a dead man came back to life (and performed several other impossible feats) or that the entire story of Jesus is made up?

I did not raise the Ockham's Razor point for this issue. But to answer your question, a miracle does not entail complexity. If it has more explanatory power and is simpler than naturalistic explanation, the miracle succeeds precisely where a naturalistic explanation fails. (Namely, Ockham's Razor)

As far as historians documenting the "facts" that you shared, I am extremely skeptical.

1: Three days after his dead, Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his female followers.
References?


Well after the disciples claimed that Jesus had risen, Jewish authorities began a rumor that the disciples stole the body.

But that entails that the tomb was empty.

Agnostic historian Bart Ehrman has spent his career attempting to explain away this fact. So that he even has to explain it indicates that it is a historical fact. I am surprised that you are questioning it.

2: The disciples, enemies, and skeptics had experiences in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.

"That the disciples had experiences of Jesus as the risen Christ can be taken as historically certain." - Atheist New Testament scholar, Gerd Ludemann

3: The original disciples came to believe in the resurrection so strongly, despite being given every reason not to.

Richard Bushey said...

How does anyone know what they believed? Or that they were even real?

That is just to be completely naive of history. You could raise that point about any historical figure. But even atheist historical scholars concur that the disciples absolutely did write their books. Your model, if adopted, would close the history department in every university.

If the alternative to Christianity is to reject historically grounded truths, then I proudly proclaim myself a Christian theist.

Here is (agnostic) Bart Ehrman video explaining why it is that the disciples really existed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRx0N4GF0AY

Here is a debate between a Christian apologist and an atheist titled, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac&feature=related


Sorry, but all of these points are not convincing in the least.

That's okay. There is a difference between proof and persuasion.

Again, I could use most of your arguments to claim the Book of Mormon was true, from multiple authors to witnesses. But in the end, it's just a fraud.

You absolutely could not. Mormonism is based on theology that is inconsistent with the New and Old Testament.

Further, if by "your arguments," you mean arguments from history, then that is simply false. Most Mormon apologists acknowledge that there is insufficient historical data to historically grounded Mormonism, and therefore must ground it in faith alone.

The problem is that your beliefs require a ton of justification. If it really were the unquestioned truth, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Every belief requires justification. Atheism requires just as much justification.

In fact, I think I have a knock-down argument in demonstration of this point. http://thereforegodexists.com/2012/05/the-burden-of-proof/


It's truth if it's YOUR belief, and myth if it's someone else's belief. How convenient

That is what is known as the Genetic Fallacy. That is to say that you are trying to debunk a belief by indicating the origins of it.

So that argument does not work. Further, I came to faith by Christian apologetics.


How about accept reality. Accept that there is no such thing as dead people coming back to life, walking on water, and virgins having babies.

I will accept historical data, scientific evidence, and philosophical arguments. You seem to accept blind assertions, faith, and complete ignorance of the issues that I have mentioned. (Not meant to be offensive.)

You believe in stuff that is physically impossible; therefore, Ockham's Razor actually works against you.

Not at all. I assume you are referring to the central fallacy of the God Delusion. That the God hypothesis is insufficient in explaining the origin and design of the universe, because it immediately raises another question, namely, 'who designed the designer?'

That is just a lack of critical thinking. Even atheist scholars such as Michael Ruse have separated themselves from this point. "This shames atheism," writes Ruse.

Here is why. http://thereforegodexists.com/2012/05/who-designed-the-designer/



BTW, I solved the problem of evil as a sophomore in college. My professor didn't accept it, however. And while it does disprove god, it's not in the way you might think.

Well if you send it to me, I would be happy to indicate where it is that you went wrong.

Richard Bushey said...

How does anyone know what they believed? Or that they were even real?

That is just to be completely naive of history. You could raise that point about any historical figure. But even atheist historical scholars concur that the disciples absolutely did write their books. Your model, if adopted, would close the history department in every university.

If the alternative to Christianity is to reject historically grounded truths, then I proudly proclaim myself a Christian theist.

Here is (agnostic) Bart Ehrman video explaining why it is that the disciples really existed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRx0N4GF0AY

Here is a debate between a Christian apologist and an atheist titled, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac&feature=related


Sorry, but all of these points are not convincing in the least.
That's okay. There is a difference between proof and persuasion.

Again, I could use most of your arguments to claim the Book of Mormon was true, from multiple authors to witnesses. But in the end, it's just a fraud.

You absolutely could not. Mormonism is based on theology that is inconsistent with the New and Old Testament.

Further, if by "your arguments," you mean arguments from history, then that is simply false. Most Mormon apologists acknowledge that there is insufficient historical data to historically grounded Mormonism, and therefore must ground it in faith alone.

The problem is that your beliefs require a ton of justification. If it really were the unquestioned truth, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
Every belief requires justification. Atheism requires just as much justification.

In fact, I think I have a knock-down argument in demonstration of this point. http://thereforegodexists.com/2012/05/the-burden-of-proof/


It's truth if it's YOUR belief, and myth if it's someone else's belief. How convenient
That is what is known as the Genetic Fallacy. That is to say that you are trying to debunk a belief by indicating the origins of it.

So that argument does not work. Further, I came to faith by Christian apologetics.


How about accept reality. Accept that there is no such thing as dead people coming back to life, walking on water, and virgins having babies.
I will accept historical data, scientific evidence, and philosophical arguments. You seem to accept blind assertions, faith, and complete ignorance of the issues that I have mentioned. (Not meant to be offensive.)

You believe in stuff that is physically impossible; therefore, Ockham's Razor actually works against you.

Not at all. I assume you are referring to the central fallacy of the God Delusion. That the God hypothesis is insufficient in explaining the origin and design of the universe, because it immediately raises another question, namely, 'who designed the designer?'

That is just a lack of critical thinking. Even atheist scholars such as Michael Ruse have separated themselves from this point. "This shames atheism," writes Ruse.

Here is why. http://thereforegodexists.com/2012/05/who-designed-the-designer/



BTW, I solved the problem of evil as a sophomore in college. My professor didn't accept it, however. And while it does disprove god, it's not in the way you might think.

Well if you send it to me, I would be happy to indicate where it is that you went wrong.