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Atheist Community of Austin
Anyone have any questions for me? I'm a Christian.

You're probably wondering. Why am I here? Well I used to be an atheist like you guys. But 48982 reasons later I became a Christian. I could spout out a bunch of arguments, but instead i'm curious about you guys.

VCurious

I'll bite.

I'm really not interested in 48982 rationalizations, because I've probably heard them all before. Let's play a different game: Why don't you give me the single best rock solid piece of objective evidence that you have that Christianity is true. We'll have a discussion about why it's most likely nonsense and you will refrain from changing the subject because by giving your next response, you will be agreeing a priori that all the other evidence is less compelling.

How does that sound?

By the way, I doubt ever were an atheist like us, but I'm not particularly interested in discussing that topic.

*scratches head* ... *laugh* You definitely meant it when you said "game". I'll give a quick & dirty answer to that obvious trap of question. (Are you a lawyer or studying law?)

The single most important thing that makes Christianity true are the miracles of Jesus Christ. He blatantly healed people (miracle) without the use of medicine/surgery. This cannot be proven with "objective evidence". If the type of evidence you are looking for is the actual scientific means in which he healed people (God's power) then that will NEVER be available.

There are widely accepted forms of evidence that historians have come to use like the "historical method", "peer review", "primary source", etc. These are legitimate forms of evidence when dealing with history. In the case of Jesus performing miracles, I am trusting the "human testimony" of all the people who witnessed what he did. Obviously his miracles were so blatant that it changed peoples lives overnight and caused them to risk their lives to spread his word. This is something I cannot ignore. What I call human testimony you will probably call hearsay.

Mr. Baker doubt is healthy but don't let it jeopardize or take away your relationship with God. Also don't let "MAN" get in the way of your relationship with God. Oh and one last thing, take it easy on Christians who don't know any better. It is better to teach than to belittle.

I'll end with a verse.

"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." John 20:25

VCurious

VCurious,

There are descriptions of miracles in the Bible, but I see no reason to think that the Bible is trustworthy. The Bible was written by an army of people over a vast number of years, all with different agendas and viewpoints. Very few of those people do we have an idea of their identities. By comparison, the Iliad is an ancient book with gods and miracles, real events and places, more logically consistent, and we even know who wrote it. In many ways, it's better than the Bible. Wouldn't you agree? Do you worship the Greek gods, too?

As for Jesus, the best evidence for Jesus is the letters of Paul. This is the only first-hand account of Jesus in existence anywhere. All other evidence for Jesus pales in comparison to Paul's account. But Paul saw a vision of a spirit being in the desert (not of a man). To this day, Christians debate about whether Jesus was a man or a spirit being. Paul is also either a liar or deceived. (Unless you'd like to admit that Jesus has already returned.) He didn't know about any of the miracles which you claim. I'm sorry, but I don't find this at all convincing.

I don't know of any miracle or supernatural aspect attributed to Jesus that wasn't already claimed for the gods of other religions known in the Roman empire at the time Jesus was invented. Look up Mithra, Attis, Isis & Horus, and Apollo. There's nothing new in Jesus land. The best evidence is that Jesus is an amalgam of other religion embellished with lies. Yes, lies. Look up "pious fraud", which is exactly what early Christians did to gain converts. They haven't stopped (look up Chris Rodda's article on House Resolution 888). If Christians are willing to systematically lie about so many things, why would anyone in their right mind believe their supernatural claims? The fact that Christians have no body for Jesus is just confirmation that he never existed in the first place.

You're basing your claim that Christianity is true on the claim that God exists and that God had some handful of whims, such as that he killed himself to appease himself with a rule he made up about the need for blood sacrifice. What an amazing bunch of nonsense. The foundation of your belief in some sort of supernatural Jesus rests on your belief in God, which the best minds in the world for centuries have yet to find a shred of evidence even exists. The response by Christians: "he's playing peek-a-boo". Right.

If you find stories about people dying for Jesus compelling, then you must also believe in Islam. Suicide bombers couldn't possibly be deceived about their religion, right?

I'm glad that you admit that you have no real evidence for your claims. It allows me to stop wasting my time earlier than if you didn't. I'm sorry that you think what you've presented is convincing. As your best evidence for the truth of Christianity, I find it lacking.

Now let me ask you a question. Since you are taken in by the Jesus stuff, are you willing to take your share of responsibility for the harm done in the name of Jesus over the centuries, such as the killing and torture of millions of people? Or does your belief in Jesus confer you a moral blank check (in your mind)?

--Don

You covered so many topics, it took me a while to write this. Sorry it's long! You can read it little by little maybe. Thanks for reading it in advance.

[Don Baker said: There are descriptions of miracles in the Bible, but I see no reason to think that the Bible is trustworthy. The Bible was written by an army of people over a vast number of years, all with different agendas and viewpoints. Very few of those people do we have an idea of their identities.]

I understand completely how you are not trusting. You don't want to trust the eyes of other people 2000 years ago who witnessed Jesus Christ's miracles. Documented Human Testimony is subject to fraud, and we can't be 100% sure. Jesus died and three days later rose back to life. The people who saw him three days later were in complete shock. You mentioned "army of people". It is very important that the miracles of God be witnessed by more than one person, or else people would have a hard time believing. The impacts of these miracles have caused Christianity to bloom across the world.

I STILL understand how you are not trusting. Here is something that helps me believe. If a man walks into a fast food chain and opens fire with a sub machine gun killing 20-30 people and then turns the gun on himself and commits suicide, then something is wrong here. Are you telling me there is no heaven & hell? That he gets off scott free? That 20-30 families out there are going to suffer without justice? The Bible tells us that suicide is a sin for this and other reasons. Hitler did TERRIBLE things and in the end he committed suicide. He did not face human justice. Since you don't believe in Heaven & Hell Hitler was the victor. Why? He caused suffering that I still can't possibly understand and he just took a pill and didn't face any justice? He himself died painlessly while others were tortured/starved/shot? You believe that he will face no justice, that he isn't in Hell right now?

As an Atheist you believe in "power and those without", but as a Christian I believe in "Good & Evil", "Heaven & Hell".

Moving on....

The Iliad had miracles but who actually witnessed them? Obviously no one and that is why no one takes the miracles in the Iliad seriously. What Jesus did was such a miracle and so blatantly powerful that those people who witnessed his miracles began spreading his word. They dropped EVERYTHING they were doing and turned their life over to him. Wouldn't you do the same if you saw such a blatant miracle? My trust is in those people who saw him do it. Why do I trust them? Because if I witnessed a miracle like the one Jesus performed I would want my fellow man to trust and believe me.

[Don Baker said: As for Jesus, the best evidence for Jesus is the letters of Paul. This is the only first-hand account of Jesus in existence anywhere. All other evidence for Jesus pales in comparison to Paul's account. But Paul saw a vision of a spirit being in the desert (not of a man). To this day, Christians debate about whether Jesus was a man or a spirit being. Paul is also either a liar or deceived. (Unless you'd like to admit that Jesus has already returned.) He didn't know about any of the miracles which you claim. I'm sorry, but I don't find this at all convincing.]

Paul went and spread the words of Jesus. All the miracles that the Holy Spirit performed through Paul were absolutely VITAL to convincing people that Jesus was the Son of God and that his word is real.

1- Paul cured of blindness, Vision of Ananias, Acts 9 2- Strikes Elymas (Bar-Jesus) with blindness, Acts 13 3- Heals a cripple, Acts 14 4- Throws out an evil spirit, Acts 16 5- Paul and Silas delivered from jail, Acts 16 6- Paul cures sick people, even touching his handkerchiefs, Acts 19 7- Paul Raises Eutychius to life, Acts 20 8- Paul Shakes a viper off his hand and is unharmed, Acts 28 9- Paul heals the father of Publius of Dysentery, Acts 28 10- Paul heals the sick of Malta, Acts 28 11- The greatest Wonder of Paul

Some of these are VERY hard to believe, but obviously the impact of these miracles were powerful enough to spread the word of Jesus far & fast. Sounds crazy doesn't it? BUT how can I ignore the fact that Christianity has spread so powerfully across the world? The heart of Christianity spreading and becoming as powerful as it is today is BECAUSE of these miracles. When people saw these awesome feats they immediately believed. Word spread fast of the one true God. I trust those people who witnessed these miracles. I'll bring up the Iliad again. Why believe Christianity over the Iliad? Because of the miracles that were witnessed by our fellow man.

[Don Baker said: "I don't know of any miracle or supernatural aspect attributed to Jesus that wasn't already claimed for the gods of other religions known in the Roman empire at the time Jesus was invented. Look up Mithra, Attis, Isis & Horus, and Apollo."]

I can shed some light on Horus. I'm not much of a history buff. I will say this. There have been claims that Horus was baptized, yet there is no record of such an action in the book of the dead or anywhere else. Many so called religions/stories claim miracles but no human has witnessed them. If any human witnessed a powerful miracle of a God they would surely tell everyone and word would spread. But these religions have died out long ago since there were no witnesses to the miracles. The miracles are what make Christianity stand out.

[Don Baker said: "You're basing your claim that Christianity is true on the claim that God exists and that God had some handful of whims, such as that he killed himself to appease himself with a rule he made up about the need for blood sacrifice. What an amazing bunch of nonsense. The foundation of your belief in some sort of supernatural Jesus rests on your belief in God, which the best minds in the world for centuries have yet to find a shred of evidence even exists. The response by Christians: "he's playing peek-a-boo". Right."]

Christianity is true based upon the eye witness accounts of miracles by many people 2000 some years ago. If I witnessed a miracle of God I too would want others to believe me, I would then document what I saw. Also Jesus (Son of God) was sacrificed in a horrific way to show us that he is willing to suffer as much as us. That he too understands what it means to have your pain sensory mechanism exploited by mans evil intent.

You mentioned "he's playing peek-a-boo", but I think of it like this. God is the master scientist, and the object orientated programmer of the universe. No one is going to reverse engineer his compiled application (universe). We can learn how his laws & rules work and we can bend them somewhat (I'm getting a little matrix here) but thermodynamics states that we can't add or take away from what there already is. We can't make energy out of nothing nor can we destroy it and cast it into nothingness. We work with what we are given. Everything is on loan to us.

As a computer programmer I look at the world in an object orientated manner. There are rules & laws that we have identified. Can we prove who arranged the matter/energy of the universe into the particular order we see today to explain the origins of these laws/universe? NO, but it does make me suspect there is a higher intelligent power. A theory you should at least consider. There is nothing wrong with being a deist.

[Don Baker said: "If you find stories about people dying for Jesus compelling, then you must also believe in Islam. Suicide bombers couldn't possibly be deceived about their religion, right?"]

Islam identifies Jesus as a profit who is not the Son of God. I'm not sure what miracles have been witnessed in the name of Allah. I need to do more studying about Islam. Suicide bombing is a very touchy issue. Strapping a bomb to ones self and killing civilians is the most cowardly act and I don't know how these people can justify it in the name of God. But, what if you are being attacked by an enemy that is 50 times more technologically advanced than you, more superior than you in every possible way. Would you strap a bomb to yourself and run into a camp of enemy soldiers OR eventually die to a 5000 pound bomb being dropped on you? War is an ugly thing. There is one thing I will mention. When reading religious writings one must understand the underlying point AND the time/circumstance it was written in. If the rule commands a certain act then make sure you understand the time/circumstance as well. Normally extremists will follow the rule but FAIL to understand the time/circumstance the rule was called for.

I see no difference between the following entities. - Fire: "Can be used to warm us up, or burn a man's flesh on purpose to cause pain." - Windows Operating System: "Used properly can help us organize and work more efficiently, but can also be hacked and filled with virus, worms in order to cause chaos). The windows operating system can be used with "Good" intention or "Evil" intention. - Christianity: Tools and Rules to bring us closer to God. We can follow his rules, understand the time & circumstance they were written in and apply it to our lives to make us better people OR we can twist his words and ideologies to satisfy our evil intent and convince others to do harm in his name. - Muslim: See the explanation I gave for Christianity. - Money: A system of managing how much service/resource we provide to the population. This system can bring the worst out of someone or bring out the best. We can use the money to help people or to hurt people. We can steal or we can give. Just because people exploit this system does not mean we should abolish it. The important thing to note in this quick & dirty explanation is that MAN is the root of evil and not any ideology/tool. We are BORN with both good & evil and are capable of TWISTING ANYTHING to suit our will. If our will is evil then we can wreak havoc, and if our will is good then we can change lives for the better. What system will you exploit for your personal gain at the expense of others? EVERYONE is guilty of this for man falls short before the Glory of God.

[Don Baker said: "I'm glad that you admit that you have no real evidence for your claims. It allows me to stop wasting my time earlier than if you didn't. I'm sorry that you think what you've presented is convincing. As your best evidence for the truth of Christianity, I find it lacking."]

I can't provide objective evidence. I can't present you with evidence of how the miracles scientifically took place. I can only trust my fellow man and what they saw. Those who witnessed the miracles have told their children about it and it carried on from generation to generation while the word spread to new families of Jesus Christ's miracles.

[Don Baker said: "Now let me ask you a question. Since you are taken in by the Jesus stuff, are you willing to take your share of responsibility for the harm done in the name of Jesus over the centuries, such as the killing and torture of millions of people? Or does your belief in Jesus confer you a moral blank check (in your mind)?]

Is Albert Einstein ready to take his share of responsibility for the harm that has been done in his name upon Hiroshima? Albert Einstein provided us with a valuable tool from his discoveries but we turn around and twisted it into a deadly weapon that killed innocent civilians. The United States could've easily dropped the bomb on a remote location on Japan to demonstrate a capable power, but we purposely targeted civilians. Japan with all its foolish pride would of NEVER believed us if we told them we had a weapon of massive power, they had to see it to believe it. But we could've showed them the power instead of using it on their civilians. That was pure cowardice. We had two bombs. Drop the first one in a remote location so the Japanese could understand the raw power we had. Take down a huge jungle of trees before you target civilians.

Let's talk about the first man who discovered fire, Is he ready to take responsibility for all the people who have been burned by it?

What about currency? Man we should hold the person responsible who came up with the concept of money. Sure we can use it wisely but about all the people who use money for the wrong purposes (Everyone is guilty of this).

Is one scientist ready to take the responsibility of all the harm and damage done by corrupt scientists experimenting with live humans?

If man's intent is evil he will twist ANY known method/ideology/tool to suit his needs at the expense of others. It is man's evil intent that you should be concerned with. Notice how an animal will MERELY rip its prey to shred, and possibly even toy with it for a few moments. But a human is cursed with a sickness and twisted mind that TRANSCENDS evolution. We can torture people for years & years if we wanted and for what possible scientific reasoning? Why is it that the human imagination is completely out of proportion to our fragile bodies? We can envision both wonderful AND horrific things in the name of WHATEVER.

Damn this turned out to be very long. I hope I shed some light on a few views and at the very least pushed your limits a tad. Surely atheists have broadened my perspective on my views. One thing I learned about religion is that it SHOULD NOT be forced upon anyone.

Oh one final thing. You mentioned moral blank check. If you are talking about the gift of repentance, then I want to touch up on that. If you commit a sin but then repent, it shows that you care about doing what is right even though you failed to do what was right. Sometimes we do what is wrong and we can't help it. Our body overcomes our mind, and then later we feel guilty. We know we messed up, so we repent of what we did. We think of what Jesus did so we can have that gift of repentance. When we sin something needs to be done, because somewhere out there someone probably got hurt for what we did.

Btw, ultimately you still have your wish. You have your lack of "objective evidence". If you are willing to be a little bit more reasonable you can choose to start trusting your fellow man a bit more. Doubt is healthy but not to the point where you sacrifice all spirituality. Instead of using the word "God" you could call Him the "Master Scientist", the CTO, the supreme Architect. When we discover new laws/rules in the universe we should think, "Whoever designed this is Brilliant", and not "OMG I'm brilliant! Everyone stroke my ego! Me, Me, Me!"

VCurious

If I may jump in:

VC: "Are you telling me there is no heaven & hell? That he gets off scott free?"

How is this in any way, shape, or form a valid argument? Just because you would like for there to be consequences doesn't mean there are. This is a pure appeal to emotion, and a rather unstable one at that (Vindictiveness). What is even worse is the fact that in the face of this blatant appeal to retribution, you believe that if someone murders those 20-30 people, does nothing whatsoever to compensate them to any degree, and tells some bloke who died millenia ago "Oops," that he does and should get off scott free.

VC: "What Jesus did was such a miracle and so blatantly powerful that those people who witnessed his miracles began spreading his word."

You mean like how every other religion gets its start? The fact that people were moved to action cannot count as proof. If it could, half of the gods out there would have been proven. This is one of many examples of your deference to a particular god.

"My trust is in those people who saw him do it."

And not in the people who have laid claims to miracles from any of those other gods. You failed to explain why you only support miracles from one god.

"BUT how can I ignore the fact that Christianity has spread so powerfully across the world?"

Similarly to the way that you ignore the spread of every other religion.

"Word spread fast of the one true God."

Word also spread fast of all those pesky false gods. Why should yours be considered any different? Funny how virtually every monotheist just happens to have support that applies to every god, but only happens to count for theirs.

"The miracles are what make Christianity stand out."

No, they're exactly what makes it blend in. Every miracle in the Bible perfectly mirrors miracles existing in literature beforehand. Especially when if comes to Jesus. The hero archetype was quite prevalent before him. Are you suggesting that he just happened to fit this literary mold? Is your god so unoriginal that he couldn't even come up with his own story? What is your explanation for why a character meant to appeal to a legend-loving culture coincidentally matches every requirement for such a legend? Miraculous birth - check. Fruitless task - check. Death by betrayal - check. Resurrection - check.

"Christianity is true based upon the eye witness accounts of miracles by many people 2000 some years ago."

Again, Christianity and every other religion. They all have claims from "whitenesses." Just because you disregard the claims of other religions does not mean that they aren't there. You will also find first-hand accounts (better than most of your Bible) of people who witnessed sasquatch, leprechauns, fairies, post-77 Elvis, ghosts, UFOs, etc. Exactly why is it that you take one set of beliefs on "witness accounts" but not any of these others?

"If I witnessed a miracle of God I too would want others to believe me, I would then document what I saw"

Immediately, yes? At least within the next couple of years, right? Not so with the gospels. They were all written decades later. Why would they not prioritize chronicling such a miraculous series of events? And why is it that not a single contemporary historian mentions these events? There were plenty of them about at the time. Was it just so unimportant that they had to wait for a slow news day 60 years later?

"Also Jesus (Son of God) was sacrificed in a horrific way to show us that he is willing to suffer as much as us"

Hardly. Death and physical pain are by no means a peak in human suffering. When did Jesus feel guilt? At what point in the New Testament does Jesus come to fully understand this most deplorable example of human suffering? Anyone can get nailed to a plank of wood. This is hardly some great sacrifice. Especially when you consider that he "knew" he would end up in heaven for all eternity. Its a blip in the road. If your god had wanted to make a real sacrifice, your Jesus would be burning in hell for all of eternity. Instead, your hell is populated by the likes of Anne Frank, Albert Einstein, and Charlie Chaplin.

"There are rules & laws that we have identified. Can we prove who arranged the matter/energy of the universe into the particular order we see today to explain the origins of these laws/universe? NO, but it does make me suspect there is a higher intelligent power."

Who? You're starting off with a fallacy. You automatically anthropomorphize the situation. Once you do that, sure, a god is an acceptable answer. But if you look at it objectively, you cannot find a single legitimate reason to assume that the question even involves a "who."

"A theory you should at least consider"

Not a theory. A guess. There is a difference. Learn it.

"Strapping a bomb to ones self and killing civilians is the most cowardly act"

Several adjectives come to mind with suicide bombers. Cowardly not among them. Deplorable, sure. It is anything but cowardly. That association comes from people unwilling to ascribe any generally positive quality to negative action. People can't be selfless and bad. Then we might have to start critically thinking about their actions. If we pretend that these people lack any good quality, then we can sleep easy. Without glasses of rose-tint, one will see that suicide bombers are men of absolute faith and conviction. They are brave in every sense of the word.

"We can follow his rules, understand the time & circumstance they were written in and apply it to our lives to make us better people OR we can twist his words and ideologies to satisfy our evil intent and convince others to do harm in his name"

To translate: "When I interpret my book, I'm looking at things objectively with full frame of mind. When people I disagree with interpret the same book, they're twisting the words around to suit an agenda." Tell me first that this does not sound patently ridiculous. Tell me second how else you expect anybody to interpret your statement.

"EVERYONE is guilty of this for man falls short before the Glory of God."

If your god set up rules that everybody violates regardless of their actions, a reasonable believer would question those rules. Play the card game "I win" with any five year old.

"I can only trust my fellow man and what they saw."

...When my fellow man happens to agree with me." You disregard your fellow man when it comes to every other religion. You disregard your fellow man when it comes to just about everything. But when they agree with you, they're dead on.

"Those who witnessed the miracles have told their children about it and it carried on from generation to generation while the word spread to new families of Jesus Christ's miracles."

Hm. Just like every single legend in human history, no? These wacky coincidences just keep cropping up.

"If man's intent is evil he will twist ANY known method/ideology/tool to suit his needs at the expense of others."

No. This statement is simply wrong. A man can only use for evil an ideology which is either A) evil, or B) extremely fungible. Show me a case where a man has successfully done evil with the mantra of "Do as ye will but harm none."

"Sometimes we do what is wrong and we can't help it."

Presuming sound mind & body, this is never the case. It is a cheap misanthropic jab that lands nowhere. The fact that we can help it is what makes it wrong. With your belief set in particular, if we can't help it, the fault is your god's.

"When we sin something needs to be done, because somewhere out there someone probably got hurt for what we did."

And salvation solves this how? If you wrong Steve and ask Bill to forgive you, what does that do for Steve? Not a damned thing. Your idea of repentance is a pure cop-out. You don't have to worry about making it up to the person who was actually hurt, you can just ask your invisible friend to take that guilt off of your shoulders. Screw Steve, he has to solve his own problems.

"If you are willing to be a little bit more reasonable you can choose to start trusting your fellow man a bit more"

Just as you trust all of those imams, rabbis, priests, ministers, shamans, monks, and your local granthi. Oh wait, you meant trust your fellow Christian man. Sorry, I thought you were being objective for a minute. Far be it for me to suspect consistency.

"Instead of using the word "God" you could call Him the "Master Scientist", the CTO, the supreme Architect."

Sorry to point this out to you, but if we were created by a god, it is anything but supreme, intelligent, or even competent. The human body is riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and just plain stupid aspects. No decent architect, let alone supreme, would make such ridiculous design decisions. Breathing and eating use the same piece of hardware. Most of any given food item cannot be used by the human body. Few of us can focus our eyes without the aid of non-biological lenses. We can die from drinking too much water. Half of us will develop cancer. An array of mental illnesses affect 70% of people with a large subset being disabled. Without modern scientific advancements, less than half of those born will die within two years. How is this supreme in any way? This is a bang-up job not even good enough for government work. But let me guess, those problems are somehow our fault. Certainly not your god's, right? He's a transcendent used car salesman when it comes to problems.

Frankly, VC, your arguments are nothing new in any respect. They are the exact same arguments that virtually any atheist has at least seen debunked dozens of times. Several facts remain. The top two are the most glaring.

1) You have no actual evidence. And by this, I mean real evidence, not hearsay.

2) You cannot account for your bias. You accept claims from one set of people while disregarding claims from another. Just about every argument you make could apply to any number of religions. Your deference to one particular god is something that you must justify.

Until you can address both points, you have absolutely no ground upon which to argue.

It's also really important to note that there are not eye witness accounts of Jesus' life or miracles. There are apocrypha, which even the church recognizes as fraudulent. And there are the four gospels. We don't know who wrote them, but all four writers make no claim whatsoever to seeing any of what they're writing about firsthand. In fact, Luke states specifically that he didn't see any of what he's recording firsthand. He states flat out that the stories he's telling are stories that have been handed down through time, presumedly by eyewitnesses. We're not "calling" it hearsay--Luke calls it hearsay himself. That's what hearsay is--repeating something other people told you that they've heard themselves.

Luke is dated anywhere from 30 to 70 years after Jesus was supposed to have died, plenty of time for stories to develop and legends to sprout.

Meanwhile an account has to be made for the identified forgeries within the Bible, such as John 7:53-8:11. Bible translators (the people who translate these for popular distribution--supporting Xianity) point out that the oldest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain these verses. In other words, someone just added them later. This is called out in very good modern translations, such as the NIV and the NASB. And this verse is not the only place such a marginal note exists. It's just one example. And you need go no further than the marginal notes of your own Bible to see I'm not lying. Open your Bible and look at what the translators say there. If your Bible lacks translators notes, I recommend buying a better version.

The books were written decades after the event _at best_ by people who never even claimed to have seen Jesus firsthand (the gospels and Paul--which make up the vast majority of the Xian Bible). And we know that the people who have devoted their lives to study and translation of these Bibles for mass distribution acknowledge that the texts they are using are not the best texts available, and that they contain forged passages that are still put into Bibles today--even after being identified.

How can you disregard this and not find it relevant to your claims about believing this book?

VCurious,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. This will probably be my last one in this conversation. I was interested whether you could defend Christianity as true. I asked for your best argument and it came up lacking. You even admit yourself that you lack any solid evidence. You've even had to back away from some of your "evidence", including the old chestnut "why would someone die for a lie." In the end, all you have are rationalizations. Your best evidence for Christianity is crap and then you proceeded to spew your 48982 rationalizations, which, by your own admission are less compelling.

Your responses have relied on the assumption that something that is clearly made up is just as good as the truth. I disagree. All of our knowledge, all of our science, and all of our technology are based on a foundation of coming to understand a real physical world. You are welcome to believing nonsense, but when you use a computer to spread that nonsense, consider that you wouldn't have that ability.

I'm going to try to respond to a few of your points in your most recent e-mail.

On trust: Why should anyone trust a religion that is based on lies? With each passing day, the more that is learned about the Bible and its history, the more it looks like pure fable. Here are some recommendations from a friend: "The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology", by Thomas W. Davis or "A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus", by John P. Meier. For a very brief introduction to some of the issues, look at http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/home.htm, scroll down for the 12 easy pieces.

On Hitler: You seem to think it's unjust that a person can go and persecute and kill Jews and others without consequence. I agree. You then go on to say that such a person doesn't belong in heaven. Heaven would be a barren place if such people weren't allowed in. I'm sure that you don't realize that killing and persecuting Jews has been a staple of Christianity ever since it had the power to do so. Read about the crusades, the inquisition, the pogroms, and the holocaust. Hitler was Catholic and the church never excommunicated him. He strongly believed that ridding the world of Jews was sanctioned by God. The Vatican supported him. He loved the writings of Protestant founder Martin Luther (esp. "On the Jews and their Lies") and used it as a recipe for persecution and killing, which began on a horrible day, now called Krystalnacht, which intentionally was launched on Martin Luther's birthday. The Holocaust was an ecumenical faith based initiative and Hitler was a right on Christian. "Gott Mit Uns".

Consider that, by Jesus' own (supposed) words, Hitler could still be in heaven for the relatively minor crime of violating God's commandments, yet still believing in Jesus. For people like me, who deny the existence of the Holy Spirit, we are guaranteed a trip to Hell. Also, according to Christianity, the blessed people of heaven will spend eternity looking down on our supposed torment with great joy, knowing that Divine justice has occurred.

More to the point, Hitler was supported by a whole country of believing Christians who were happy to believe what people told them and without looking into the evidence behind those beliefs. So, I do think Hitler's actions were unjust and I am actively fighting against such injustices. That is exactly why I challenge you to not believe things because you'd like them to be true. That is also why I asked you if you were willing to take responsibility for your beliefs. Christians have traditionally believed that the killing of Jews (and others) was absolutely just because of some made up story about Jesus. At least atomic energy, currency, and fire have had more positive benefits to humanity than negative. The creators of the atom bomb had a pretty good idea of the consequences of its creation and morality of it weighed heavily on their minds. In contrast, Christians have persecuted others with great excitement and fervor throughout history, often doing so with great pageantry.

On witnesses: Fictional witnesses are just as convincing as fictional stories.

Thanks for playing.

--Don

VCurious,

I'm very curious too. What in the world would make you want to come into the ACA website and ask if anybody has a question for you. Do you enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing? You don't really think that you're going to convert any non-believers do you? You should take a moment to let truth wash over you instead of denying rationality. Imagine how much easier conversations about all this would be if you could come into them with a logical view.

So often it seems that for those who do not believe in God say that Christians, or others who follow a religion, are narrow-minded. But what I find astonishing is the sheer unwillingness for those confessing to be atheist to even concede any point. I thought that VC made some excellent points, tried to be thourough, and be as objectice as possilbe - but the remarks seem to attempt to shut him down. Why? What if there is a god, or God? Why does that concept have to be off the table? Questioning VC's attempt to "convert" atheists and mocking him for doing so is very revealing to me. Even if at the end of the day one chooses to believe that there is no god, fine. Then base it upon all thoughts and reasoning. The search for knowledge, I thought, continues daily, until we die. Are you satisfied with the absolute conclusion of "No god"? Or do you keep an open mind and see what new thoughts arise tomorrow, or the day after, or a decade after.

Vcurious - I would think that if you were very curious instead of being (overflowing with superstitions and religious convictions) you would ask questions, and look for answers in more than one place. (Christian apologetics and nothing else.) More to the point, to start this discussion by claiming that you used to be an atheist, but now there are 48982 reasons to become a fanatic. You have no proof, no objective evidence, and no reason to assume anything. Do you want us to believe that you hadn't heard all that crap before? It just doesn't sound like anyone who use to be an atheist. I don't know what you think an atheist is, but it's not someone who has an instance of uncertainty.

There are individuals who are curious and objective. There are researchers who are unbiased and who do delve into ancient history and civilizations in order to find the facts. Some one who doesn't show objectivity probably isn't; unlike those who make unsubstantiated claims with no valid evidence. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found very close to Jerusalem and were written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The scholars were very curious. They knew that the Dead Sea Scrolls were more important than any other near east documents of antiquity. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 at Qumran a region of Palestine. They were the most important archaeological find of the 20th century. They were found in caves on the west coast of the Dead Sea in clay jars, which contained the leather parchments and consist mainly of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. Most of the scrolls came to be deposited at the Catholic controlled institution in Jerusalem know as the Ecole Biblique (French Biblical and Archaeological school in Jerusalem.) The experts at the Ecole Biblique thought that they would do the work of translation, but this never happened. There were years of stalling by the Catholic scholars of the Ecole Biblique. So, when Professor Geza Vernes, a Biblical scholar from Oxford, voiced his frustration (on the 30th anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls first coming to light) he wrote, "the world is entitled to ask the authorities responsible for the publication of the Qumran Scrolls, what they intend to do about this lamentable state of affairs."

After thirty years the world did find out what the Dead Sea Scrolls actually said due to the efforts of Professor Vernes and others. What came out of the scrolls was a look at the original church of Jerusalem that was an extremist Jewish movement violently opposed to the influence and dominance of Roman. The translations of a few of the first scrolls released threatened mainstream Christianity. These scrolls indicated that beliefs and practices supposedly founded by Jesus had in fact existed long before him.

The dates when the Dead Sea Scrolls were being written was ascertained to have started in 150 BCE and continued until 70 CE, a period of 220 years. During those years 872 scrolls were written in Hebrew and Aramaic by the peoples of Qumran. It is important to note that the supposed life of Jesus was between 2 BCE and 36 CE (a period of 38 years) and that the Romans in 70 CE destroyed the Great Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem. These are the important dates to remember for putting together the emerging picture from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The contents of the first scrolls released by the Ecole Biblique created such an uproar in the intellectual world that no further scrolls were available for examination until an unknown defector working inside the Ecole Biblique leaked out photo copies of the remaining texts to Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University. The first photocopies of the Dead Sea Scrolls began arriving at Professor Eisenman's office in September of 1989 and the last photocopy arrived in late autumn in 1990.

Professor Eisenman published a two-volume edition containing photocopies of all the scrolls under the title "A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls." Then the Vatican got involved in the politics of trying to suppress the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls but ultimately failed. Scholars and theologians of integrity soon began the translation of the remaining Dead Sea Scrolls. After the scholars finished the translation work on the Dead Sea Scrolls one very important fact came out, and that was that nowhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls was the name of Jesus mentioned. Also, the popular Christian view of early Christianity had no support in the new translations.

Professor N.S. Rajaram in his book "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Crisis of Christianity" reveals that the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls challenged the two most fundamental beliefs of Christianity. 1. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ. 2. Christianity as the embodiment of the message of Christ. Both these beliefs are put in jeopardy by the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is why the Catholic Church put off making the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the world.

In accordance with the information from the accounts of the times in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus would at best have been one among many "teachers of righteousness" that were part of an ultra conservative messianic Jewish movement based in Qumran going back at least 100 years BCE (before Jesus was a twinkle in anyone's eye.)

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the practices that people regard as Christian innovations are not, for example the Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper, because they can be traced to the Qumrans. They go back at least one century before the birth of Christ. Qumrans concentrated on personal purity, complete obedience, abstinence, prayer, study and communal meals, and made themselves ready for the great battle in which they firmly believed that the forces of evil would die upon the blazing spears held by the hands of the 'Sons of Light.' The Qumrans were intensely religious zealots dedicated to the fight against the Roman rulers, but unfortunately the Qumrans were destroyed and killed in a overwhelming battle with the Romans. This battle took place at Qumran in the year 70 CE shortly before the Roman Legions marched on Jerusalem to destroy the Great Temple. This ended the Jewish revolt. So that future generations might know of them and their beliefs, some of the Qumran community thought it wise, for safe keeping, to hide their records in earthen pots in the mountains.

The Romans did not simply come to Judea in 70 CE to suppress a small uprising; they came to stop political dissidents for good. So, they were very through in what they came to do. What it means is that everything today's Christians think they know about Christianity is false. Their beliefs are layers of numerous popular pagan beliefs of the victorious Graeco-Roman culture and rehashed as the Jesus myth.

The Romans for political reasons persecuted the Jews. Rome was tolerant in the ancient world except in matters of political intrigue. Rome historically had no tolerance for dissenters. The dissent over slavery, and the Jewish uprisings threatened Roman they wanted to end it. Roman aristocrats decided to concoct a region as a solution to the situation. Roman aristocrats came up with a novel idea of creating a new religion by means of the preaching of Paul of Tarsus. Paul's story that the messiah had come and died for their sins (though they failed to recognize him) gave them access to a kingdom in heaven. Paul took his message among the Gentiles where he had some influence, because the Jews hated him. Most of these people had horrible lives, and wanted security and salvation in the after life.

The media has ignored the Dead Sea Scrolls so that they would die. The contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls are known among scholars, but are never preached to enlighten the common man. The average person does not take the trouble of investigating what the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century contains, and their indifference to find the truth is incredibly taken advantage of by the clergy of cheating institutions who are expert in capitalizing on the popularity of myths and binding people with religious superstitions. It is not very convincing that these men who were chosen by God and are gifted with the intelligence to understand spiritual things, and yet they can't provide the facts when they are obtainable.

For the sake of time, I'm going to say "you guys win", proving all religions are false. Let's also say there is no God and now we are accountable for nothing (don't respond just yet). Let's pretend that Atheism dominates 100% of the world population. Have you guys even thought about what kind of world you'd be living in if there was no concept of God? Look past your immediate goal. I'm going to look at the world through the eyes of an atheist.

World without God

Man no longer kills in the name of God, for he has no concept of God. Now he will kill in the name of *INSERT REASON HERE*, since he is an animal with or without the concept of God.

Now we live in a world where those with power impose their will onto those without power, having only to fear man. Just like animals it is survival of the fittest. Since there is no universal truth, no universal right or wrong man can twist an ideology for his own personal gain amassing resources in his favor, at the expense of others. The only thing man has to fear is man and that is a huge relief, since humans are extremely easy to manipulate. I repeat, the only thing man has to fear is man and that is a huge relief, since humans are extremely easy to manipulate.

Now we live in a world where "if you can get away with it, no one will know". If you commit murder and twist the laws to your will, you can get away with it. OJ Simpson can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the good atheists have proven that God doesn't exist. So when OJ finally passes away in his final moments he will say "thank goodness for atheism, if there was God I would be screwed!"

If you decide to order your army to slaughter millions of innocent people and no one has the strength to stop you, you can get away with it, WITHOUT fear of anything stopping you or punishing you. OR let's say someone does eventually stop you and your army, but you don't want to face human justice? Just commit suicide! Now you'll be known as an evil villain throughout history. You caused the death of millions but only had to sacrifice your own life to make an impact in the world. Without the fear of God in us we now have more freedom to act like vicious animals without recourse.

Without the fear of God we can safely commit suicide if we don't want to face something. (Don't stop to respond just yet).

If you walk into a store and steal something and get away with it, you're good to go for it is survival of the fittest. You were more clever than the store owner and it is his fault his store was robbed. Since his store was robbed it must've been a genetic defect in his bloodline that caused him to place items in the store in a vulnerable position. Better that his bloodline dies off thus strengthening humanity. We can't have a society of business owners getting ripped off constantly, we need efficiency.

A police officer dies in the call of duty, to the hands of a thug. The thug was never caught and never had to face any type of justice. The thug openly brags to his friends about how he cut an officer down.

If you want to get an abortion you're good to go, who knows what great things that little baby could of grown up to do, but who cares? You'll be damned if you are going to raise a cursed baby who will take away your freedom. You want to shag like a bunny without the penalty of a mouth to feed.

Eventually we'll harvest human babies so that we can live longer and without the fear of God we're good to go! The babies are not even conscious in the womb so it is ok to harvest them dumb ass.

Now we live in a world where people can freely experiment with human cloning and perform tests without fear. We can now safely sacrifice a few lives for the greater good of humanity. I want to live 50 years longer even if it means someone else must die. They weren't even conscious so that makes it okay!

Thank goodness for human law, because it is so easy to manipulate! If you have money you can buy your way out of trouble. Thank goodness for atheists, *whew* I thought I would have to face a mighty entity in the sky, but instead I only have to worry about all these morons on this planet whom I can easily manipulate, *whew*.

Can you please try and possibly understand what I'm telling you? When someone says "FEAR OF GOD", it is NOT a bad thing.

The above statements are what converted me from atheism to Christianity. Even if atheists win, they still lose lol, you can't get around that. Why Christianity? It teaches me to fear God the most. Yes you heard me right, TO FEAR HIM. TO FEAR GOD and cower before him and say you are Lord and I am NOTHING. Even if Christianity is wrong, God will look down at me and see that I fear him and that I'm at least trying to understand him with my feeble intelligence (fear means respect ultimately). This concept took me 7 years to understand, it is not easy.

I don't know any other way I can possibly reach you guys. All I can say is don't let "MAN" get in the way of your relationship with "GOD". They're two separate things. At least if you guys were "deists" you could say you believe in God but reject man-made religion and your connection to God will remain intact. Don't sacrifice your spirituality over the actions of "Man".

------------------------------------------------------------------------------- POSSIBLE Counter Arguments: "VCurious are you saying that we need the man-made concept of God to be moral? You are weak if you think that! Anyone who needs the fake concept of God to be moral is weak".

My counter argument: "No, read my statements carefully. I'm saying that we need God because without Him people who get away with injustice will never be punished." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So hopefully in about a week here I can respond to all your doubts about Christianity.

VCurious

VCurious,

You're comparing one fantasy with another.

For your case of "God in the driver's seat", you've completely ignored all of the killing for God that has gone on through the centuries and still continues today. I would argue that trying to please God is perhaps the main reason why people kill. See http://www.atheist-community.org/library/articles/read.php?id=747. Fighting over resources would be up there, too, but at least such resources are real. You seem to think that things are just peachy with God in the driver's seat. Consider that your god has contributed nothing to the advancement of science and technology that makes your life as comfortable and long as it is.

For your case of "No god", you've been sold a bunch of fear-based marketing. I sure hope you haven't given them any money because they sold you a bunch of crap. Take a look at http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html. It's an article that compares a wide variety of social ills (murder, suicide, teen pregnancy, infant mortality, STDs, abortion, etc.) between societies and correlating it with religious belief. Guess what? Societies with low rates of religious belief do much better in solving these problems than those with high religious belief. This study completely blows away the idea that belief in god is good or necessary. It also raises the question of why a god, who wants the best for his little servants, would create a world where belief in him leads to more "evil" than not believing. Take that theological question to your minister.

The truth is that humans ability to work together in collaboration and through the construction of societies is an evolutionary adaptation that has allowed us to achieve fantastic successes where we wouldn't have otherwise. Your fear-based scenario completely ignores this fact.

--Don

First off you ignored the case for those who escape justice, but at least keep it in the back of your mind. That article you pointed out to me has so many issues that I will just pick the two most obvious ones from the comic.

Andrea Yates - Twisted view of Christianity threw gasoline on an already raging fire. - Doctors misdiagnosed her. - Social Workers failed to take her children away from her after multiple suicide attempts. - Anti Depressants effexor linked to murder/suicide attempts. - Too many children, not enough resources. - History of mental illness and being admitted.

Should we get rid of Christianity? No. Should we get rid of Doctors? No. Should we get rid of Social Workers? No. Should we get rid of Anti-Depressants? No. Should we limit how many children families can have? No. Should we get rid of psychiatric wards? No.

I've noticed that atheists tend to have a habit of picking one thing to suit their needs to prove their point while discarding other information. Just like atheists tend to grab one verse out of the Bible without reading the entire chapter.

On January 9, 2006, Yates again entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity. On February 1, 2006, she was granted release on bail on the condition that she be admitted to a mental health treatment facility.[11]

Oh look here, exactly what I was talking about. She is manipulating human law and slowly earning her freedom back. Since you don't believe in Heaven & Hell I would say she is getting off pretty easy and will only have to deal with human justice. Man's law is pathetic compared to God's law.

On July 26, 2006, after three days of deliberations, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity, as defined by the state of Texas. She has since been committed to the North Texas State Hospital - Vernon Campus.[12]

She is getting off pretty easy.

Mohamed Atta - Muslim - Hates the United States - Twisted his faith to further justify his actions.

Should we stop meddling in the affairs of the Middle East? Yes. Should we stop ripping off their oil? Yes. Do I want to stop driving my car since it uses oil? No. Should we put a stop to Islam? No.

We should not be surprised that someone from the middle east decided to attack us. I mean let's be realistic here, we're at war with two countries over there, lol. I'm not taking any sides here but just look at the situation with an unbiased opinion. What would you do if your country was under attack by a superpower? We need to fix our foreign policy not eradicate religion.

Ok next issue.

"Consider that your god has contributed nothing to the advancement of science and technology that makes your life as comfortable and long as it is."

Your statement above is hinting that God should come down on this planet and work with us side by side in a lab to contribute to science. That he should come down here as an equal. The idea of God is not that he is our equal but superior to us. He provided us with logic, reason & the tools to get what we need done. This is his mighty contribution. Now we're faced with the task of using the tools he's given us properly and wisely (Which Science has done in both positive & negative ways). I'm so thankful for those scientists that made contributions to our society that makes our lives comfortable, but I will add that the scientists who reject the idea of God want all the glory for themselves. I believe firmly that deep in some scientists heart is not only the desire to reject God but to somehow believe that they are fixing God's mistakes as if they are his equal, (from the ramblings of a scientist I had a few beers with). In actuality problems help define our personalities.

God is NOT the main reason people kill, but a reason nonetheless. The main reason people kill is because they are animals and it is in the nature of an animal to kill. I'm sure you knew this already though. Get rid of religion and the killing will still remain unless somehow you experiment on the human brain and attempt to remove the part that makes us capable to kill.

You really believe Christians provide no good to the world?

Next time there is a major fire resulting in the loss of people's homes I challenge you to open up Google maps and begin looking over all the safe haven's for people who have lost their home. Church, Church, Church, Church, Church, Government building, Church, Church, Church, government building.

You say I shouldn't give money to church, since it's all a bunch of crap. I will agree that there are corrupt Churches. The easiest way to find out if a church is corrupt is to simply ask the pastor for lots of proof of their good works with the tithe money. In the Bible the Lord says to give money so that his house can be filled with food. The money is supposed to be used to help the needy. As you can see the intentions are pure and good coming right out of the Bible but man can twist this around for evil intent and trick people into giving money that will go to nothing but himself.

But not every church is corrupt. Most churches are very honorable. Once again you take a handful of negative events and stamp the entire system as being flawed. A church you can trust is Saddleback Church in Southern California, led by Pastor Rick Warren. He is a really good guy. Two of my most favorite people to look up to are Pastor Rick Warren & Bill Gates (Atheist).

Let's talk about fearing God.

Fear.... Even the animals fear. Animals follow a natural order and follow their alpha leader. The fear makes them respect the alpha master. If they challenge the alpha master they can try to win or lose. Fear ultimately leads to respect. Fear & respect go hand in hand. I fear God because he is my alpha leader, for he made me in his own image. Making man your alpha leader is not a good idea because the possibility is there for you to overcome that man either intellectually or by brute force, thus leaving you to impose your will onto others if you are the strongest (example take a corrupt leader who causes suffering amongst millions).

If everyone made God their alpha leader humans would follow their true natural and intended order. But we'll NEVER achieve this since we fall short before the glory of God.

Ok moving on.

This link http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html mentions the following.

"it is not the purpose of this initial study to definitively demonstrate a causal link between religion and social conditions"

It does not completely blow away anything, but it still has some validity. Another problem with these kinds of studies they ALWAYS leave out race/immigration. In Japan there are a very small percentage of immigrants and the same with Sweden for example. The United States is a huge melting pot of immigration, which is always left out of the equation in these types of studies.

The article notes that countries that believe in Evolution have less social degradation than those with theistic belief. If the article was truly honest it would say the following, "when in actuality countries with a stronger public education system that teach evolution as one of its many subjects experience less social degradation than those countries with a poor education system teaching evolution as one of its many subjects." In other words, if your public education system sucks you're going to have a bunch of ignorant fools on the street, *cough USA*.

We don't teach religion in schools in the United States and it is learned at home and by going to church. The problem here is not the religious belief but the poor public education system that exists in the United States. The combination of ignorance & improper understanding of religious belief is dangerous.

Let's take the Japanese for example, who are also mentioned in the article by Gregory. S. Paul. Japan rates very high in education. 50.4 percent are Shinto in Japan, 43.5 percent Buddhist, .7 are Christian and 5.4 percent other based from this source here. http://books.google.com/books?id=2vS3zjt6yTQC&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=%22percent+are+shinto%22&source=web&ots=qVlVxw1sgz&sig=q6XC5XKwxU3WSPaoFNdubhk5zZ4&hl=en

Shinto is a belief in a higher power.

Japan has also been around for a LONG time. Sweden has been around for a long time! These articles almost never mention the fact that the United States is still a young country compared to others.

In my opinion the United States is not experiencing social degradation over religion but because of a huge lack of emphasis on public education.

Don Baker said: "It also raises the question of why a god, who wants the best for his little servants, would create a world where belief in him leads to more "evil" than not believing. Take that theological question to your minister."

Before I answer that let's determine if you have a belief in good & evil.

It seems you believe that good & evil are taught and that you believe in a form of Tabula Rasa in which we are all born with absolutely NO knowledge of anything. It is interesting to note feral children, who were born amongst animals without any knowledge of humans. There was a feral child raised by animals who showed no sign of human quality. But even in the case of feral children there hasn't been an account of a male & female child raised amongst animals without the presence of humans. This raises the question of how important is it for a man to visually see a woman in order for his free will to emerge.

I also find it interesting how remote African tribes that have never come into contact with civilized society also have knowledge of good & evil. In my opinion it should be safe to assume we have this built in knowledge of good & evil.

To answer your question, it is one word you probably don't want to hear. Satan. Satan does not want us to believe in God. To turn us away from God is his ultimate goal. Now you're probably thinking, "Wow Vcurious you truly are ignorant and believe in fairy tales". Am I really? How else do you explain the horrific acts of man? Why do people enjoy watching movies that revolve around human torture? Have you ever watched something real on video that is so horrific that you can't explain and sit there in total shock? I watched a video of a soldier being shot. I thought to myself man that is 30 something years of knowledge and insight gone in an instant. A human's knowledge and insight is too valuable to be lost to the Earth's dirt. A human is too valuable. The human imagination is not in proportion to the human body. We can imagine things occurring that are bodies could never help us achieve. Think about this for a while.

How can you possibly explain a young girl walking into an abortion clinic with the intent of casually killing her first unborn child? This is the ugly side of science. It's not hard to believe in Heaven & Hell when time and time again you witness the evil man is capable of.

Don Baker said: "The truth is that humans ability to work together in collaboration and through the construction of societies is an evolutionary adaptation that has allowed us to achieve fantastic successes where we wouldn't have otherwise. Your fear-based scenario completely ignores this fact."

Are you talking about ignorant religious leaders inhibiting science for the greater good of humanity? There have been many cases where religious figures have WRONGLY held back science. But there are times when it was justified like for abortion & stem cell research. Science can be a Jekyll and Hyde.

I'll close to say that out of everything I've read so far on this site, I can meet you halfway on saying that there needs to be more education to prevent acts of violence from twisted religious origin, but there aren't enough counts of bad vs. the good to justify its entire removal.

The reason I'm here is to hopefully in some small possible way crack open a door to deism in your life. Don't let man get in the way of your connection to God. It seems that is the case here although I could be wrong and would like to hear why you just don't believe. You don't think its possible for God to exist or is it because of man's actions that you don't believe?

VCurious

"First off you ignored the case for those who escape justice..."

You provided no evidence for the existence of your Divine Judge. That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (I've applied this to a few of your claims, below, also.) Just because you'd like something to be true, doesn't make it true. Sorry.

If you're in the business of making up fantasies, surely you can do better than Christianity. "Andrea Yates - Twisted view of Christianity... [other failures of the system]"

You Christians really ought to figure out what "True Christianity" means. None of you agrees on it. I know this from my experience on the Atheist Experience show. In fact, there are thousands of sects of Christianity that all differ on what they teach. The simplest explanation is that Christianity isn't grounded in an objective reality, but it's just a free floating fantasy-a bunch of lies that people have made up and they can't get their story straight. If you guys can't get your story straight, why should anyone take you seriously?

Furthermore, if Yates practiced a twisted form of Christianity, shouldn't she, her husband, and their pastor be put to death for being false prophets? That's what your Bible says. But Christians only believe the parts of parts of the Bible they want. Again, if you guys don't believe your own Bible why should anyone else?

It seems to me that Andrea Yates was a devout and serious Christian who was given good medical advice, but trusted God instead. Look what God did in return. If your God is going to trash the faithful, then why should anyone trust him? (Of course, there is no god, so she just trusted her delusions. Either way, it was a bad bet on her part.) Had the "system" worked as you claim it should have, her family and the entire religious right would have claimed religious persecution (for her having her children taken away). Religious delusions have a special status in our society for some unknown reason. You reap what you sow.

"Man's law is pathetic compared to God's law."

Please explain to me exactly how that works (has worked) in the case of the pedophile priests. It seems to me to be another example of your just God asleep at the wheel. God failed, the Bible failed, the Catholic hierarchy failed, the priests failed, the laity failed (the money's still flowing), and the non-Catholic Christians have allowed the Church to escape justice. (It should be shut down under racketeering laws.) What has brought some measure of justice to those molested kids? The US legal system. A few 12-member secular juries did more for those people than all of Christendom, God included. Christianity is too interested in marketing its morality (rather than living it) and God doesn't exist. Your statement, above is false.

"She is getting off pretty easy."

Doesn't the Bible say that killing you kids for God is just fine? Read the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is considered a great patriarch because he loved God over his own child. Who are you to say that the same God didn't ask the same thing of her? Shouldn't you be holding her in the same esteem as Abraham? After all, she had the guts to go through with it.

"Mohamed Atta - Muslim - Hates the United States - Twisted his faith to further justify his actions."

Read the Quran sometime. Muslims are ordered to kill non-believers many, many times. Christians and Jews are to be subjugated.

I made the claim, "Consider that your god has contributed nothing to the advancement of science and technology that makes your life as comfortable and long as it is." You provided no evidence to the contrary. If you can't demonstrate that your god even exists, how can you demonstrate that he has made any positive contribution to anything?

"God is NOT the main reason people kill, but a reason nonetheless."

Killing for god is a time-honored tradition. Learn your history One of the systematic problems with religion is that people who believe in God want to suck up to it to get all the benefits, such as a perpetual orgasm in heaven. If killing a Jew, keeping gays from marrying, or burning a witch at the stake helps in that cause, so be it. If God doesn't hold some sort of carrot, then there's no point in worshiping it. If the carrot is really good, then it might be worth killing for it.

"You really believe Christians provide no good to the world?"

No, but I do believe that all of the good that Christians do can be done better without the baggage of Christianity. None of your examples addressed this. On a related topic, can you give me an example of Christians doing good that doesn't help their chances of getting into heaven? It raises the question of whether it's really altruism. When atheists contribute their time and money, it really is charity, and not using the person for a hedonistic end.

"I fear God because he is my alpha leader, for he made me in his own image."

Then you are following something that doesn't exist. Furthermore, I'll bet you don't feel any responsibility for the actions you do for your god. Christians are good at that.

"This link http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html mentions the following. ... It does not completely blow away anything, but it still has some validity."

It does blow away the claim that religious belief is beneficial to societies. If such a thing were true, there wouldn't be this correlation. There's a later study in the same journal that focuses only on murder and controls for many more variables. They did confirm the belief claim and added some nuance to it.

" In other words, if your public education system sucks you're going to have a bunch of ignorant fools on the street, *cough USA*."

Agreed. The move to suppress the teaching of evolution is 99.99% religiously motivated. Christians have infiltrated many of the school board positions throughout the US. I believe they are actively sabotaging the education system. I can tell you volumes about my personal interactions with the Texas State Board of Education, just on the textbook adoption process and how it has been sabotaged by Christians.

Much of your other evidence is grasping at straws. If you have evidence that Shintoism is better than Christianity, why are you a Christian?

"Before I answer that let's determine if you have a belief in good & evil."

Evil is not at thing, but the ability of humans to do harm to other humans. Because humans have the potential to harm others, therefore we have the potential to do evil. We have evolved to feel empathy and to reason, both of which are our basis for morality (no blank slate). These things act as a buttress to us doing harm to each other. It's no surprise that all humanity has these capabilities (good and bad) because we all share an evolutionary history. Note that there is lots of variation between people and various sorts of impediments to reason and empathy, so it's not surprising that there is a lot of variation in the harm actually done by people.

"Satan."

Yet another addition for the pile of made up nonsense. You can always tell a lie because it gets embellished over time.

"Are you talking about ignorant religious leaders inhibiting science for the greater good of humanity?"

No, I'm talking about your faith-based position that ignores our 4 billion year old evolutionary history.

"The reason I'm here is to hopefully in some small possible way crack open a door to deism in your life."

Deism and Christianity are two different things. Shintoism is yet another. It'd be good for you to decide what you're promoting before promoting it.

"You don't think its possible for God to exist or is it because of man's actions that you don't believe?"

I haven't seen any evidence to believe in a god. Perhaps you could provide the evidence instead of making nonsense claims and presenting wishful thinking. I'm getting tired of the run-around that you and so many other Christians give us.

Thanks for writing.

--Don

Vcurious - Quote - "For the sake of time, I'm going to say "you guys win", proving all religions are false.

Answer - You didn't dispute any of the facts that were presented; instead you inserted "button pushing" issues that do not address any facts.

Vcurious - "Let's also say there is no God and now we are accountable for nothing (don't respond just yet)."

Answer - Sorry, but I'm responding. Anyone who believes in an (omnipotent God, who creates defective humans, and then castigates them for their mistakes) is not going to be swayed by a rational argument they've already abandoned logic. The removal of superstition, bigotry, intolerance, will not make the world a worse place. "Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something." Henry David Thoreau Vcurious - Quote - "Let's pretend that Atheism dominates 100% of the world population. Have you guys even thought about what kind of world you'd be living in if there was no concept of God? Look past your immediate goal. I'm going to look at the world through the eyes of an atheist."

Answer - What immediate goals? What could anyone's goals possibly have to do with what is true. You seem to have a keen interest in keeping people in the dark, and you show a complete disregard for the extraordinary things that people can do without being threatened or bullied. There are plenty of organizations that in order to protect their own interests don't want anyone to know the truth. Along with people who really are afraid to face the truth (because of their conditioning.) You're not looking at the world through the eyes of an atheist. It's not possible for an arrogant, ignorant, fanatic to see the world any other way. Those who see the world the way you do are not like us.

Vcurious - Quote "Man no longer kills in the name of God, for he has no concept of God. Now he will kill in the name of *INSERT REASON HERE*, since he is an animal with or without the concept of God."

Answer - Religion has never stopped war or killing or physical violence, but instead has actually promoted genocide.

Vcurious - Quote - "Now we live in a world where those with power impose their will onto those without power, having only to fear man."

Answer - You have got to be kidding! Power hungry religious zealots is one of the biggest problems in the world. Ever heard of divine rule. It was a system by which rulers used cleric, and vice versa to stay in power, and they were immoral contemptible jerks full of drivel (just like they are doing today.) It was used for the purpose of spreading an empire, imperialism. Religious wars, trampling down of nations, slaughtering, burning, polluting, and are still doing this day. Religion is useless in preventing men from doing evil or stopping injustices, and perhaps causes a great deal of damage because it promotes apathy. Also, the explanation for injustice or suffering (justice will be in the next life) is not a solution to any problem. Vcurious - Quote - "Now we live in a world where "if you can get away with it, no one will know". If you commit murder and twist the laws to your will, you can get away with it."

Answer - What about the innocent being wrongfully convicted while murders go free. The likelihood that the innocent are being executed was enough to compel Illinois Governor George Ryan, a onetime supporter of the death penalty to suspend executions two years ago. Simple arithmetic convinced him the system was broken: of 25 people put on death row in Illinois since 1987, 12 were executed, 13 were falsely accused and eventually freed, including Anthony Porter, a retarded man who came within a few days of execution for a murder he didn't commit. There are two sides to everything. I'm sure that innocent people have been convicted while the guilty went free. However, that is the nature of things when nobody does anything to stop corruption, and it starts at the top. It really has nothing to do with a belief system it's about a corrupt system.

Vcurious - "If you decide to order your army to slaughter millions of innocent people and no one has the strength to stop you, you can get away with it, WITHOUT fear of anything stopping you or punishing you."

Answer - In 313 A.D., Constantine the emperor of Roman was supposed to have embraced Christianity. In 321 A.D. Constantine declared the "Sun's day" it was probably never called Sunday. Constantine deceptively claimed Apollo, the Sun God as his patron and stamped Apollo's image on one side of his coin and the initials Jesus Christ (Julius Caesar) on the other. Apollo the Sun God is the true ancient Egyptian Deity, Heru, the Son of Ausar and Aset who was renamed Apollo by the Greeks and Romans. In the beginning of Constantine's rule the biggest question was whether or not the empire would worship both the Hindu Krishna and the Druidic Hesus or should they unite them into one God. Constantine started a campaign to accept both Gods. This idea failed and became so hostile that Constantine called the leading Bishops of the sects to meet in the Council at Nicea to deliberate this matter. The Council of Nicea met in what is today Turkey in 325 A.D. Only 300 Bishops supported Constantine's dim-witted scheme and Constantine became enraged. So great was the opposition of Bishop Arius and 1,500 supporters that Constantine was forced to call on his Roman guards to restore order. Roman guards excommunicated Arius and the dissenters, and they were taken from the Holy Chamber and sent into exile by the edict of Constantine. After Arius and his 1,500 supporters had been driven and expelled from the Council of Nicea, Constantine's nasty little scheme was presented to the 300 Bishops who unanimously approved it. The 300 Bishops who finally voted "to unite the names of the two chief Gods were a set of illiterate men who understood nothing significant. Also, these ignorant men were afraid of being accused of heretics. Their votes decided that the world would accept and receive the name of the New God who would lead the New Religious System known as "Christianity." This is when they came up with name "Jesus Christ" who became the redeemer of the whole world who died on the cross for everyone's sins. The birth date of Jesus was agreed on by the Bishops who attended the Nicean Conference in 332 A.D. because it commemorated the birth of the Sun God (the original Deity, Amun-Ra), thousands of years before Jesus the Christ. Constantine decreed Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 333 A.D. This started the systematic purge of any and all competing religious systems. As such, the original Trinity of Ausar, Aset and Heru (renamed Osiris, Isis and Horus by the Greeks) which existed before circa 4,100 years, and was replaced with a Christian religious Trinity consisting of The Father, Son And Holy Ghost. Emperor Constantine's legacy is that under his imperial religious supremacy, Rome functioned as the most potent outpost of religious tyranny; he decreed Christianity as the supreme religion. Christianity is and always has been a political instrument. All Christianity was ever about (from the beginning with the Romans) was a way to acquire political power and control over the people. It has always been a political tool to for their global, imperialist expansion, and enslavement.

Vcurious - Quote- "Without the fear of God we can safely commit suicide if we don't want to face something. (Don't stop to respond just yet)."

Answer - Visit a lunatic asylum and you will discover that people commit suicide and they don't care what god thinks about it. It shows that faith does not prevent anything, medical treatment and science is a lot better.

I'm not going to continue to answer all of your absurd examples of how bad the world would be without god (most of them are going on right now). Or there would be no right and wrong unless God existed. Suffice to say I don't agree. An educated literate public with opportunities would only produce far less wrongdoing. This has been proven.

Vcurious - Quote - "Can you please try and possibly understand what I'm telling you? When someone says "FEAR OF GOD", it is NOT a bad thing."

Answer - Christianity uses fear to control and run over people, it teaches nothing.

Vcurious - Quote - "I don't know any other way I can possibly reach you guys. All I can say is don't let "MAN" get in the way of your relationship with "GOD". They're two separate things. At least if you guys were "deists" you could say you believe in God but reject man-made religion and your connection to God will remain intact. Don't sacrifice your spirituality over the actions of "Man"."

Answer - You say that the existence of God is necessary to bring justice into the world. When we know there is a great injustice, and that the good people go through terrible things while the wicked flourish. The only reason people will tolerate this is if they believe that they are going to have justice in the next world. That's why people must believe that there is a god, heaven and hell; it's to prevent them from going after justice in this world.

I will not answer the typical tirade about needing god because without him people get away with crap and are never punished.

Vcurious- Quote - "So hopefully in about a week here I can respond to all your doubts about Christianity."

Answer - You may think that you have the answers, but all you have is the same old worn out line with nothing new. You have not addressed one fact that anyone has presented about the authenticity of religion. Why don't you address this? Jesus said: "Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." That is not a new precept or a new principle. Lao-Tse and Buddha some 500 or 600 years before Christ. The whole concept of a God is a derivative of the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a concept that is contemptible to free men. When you hear preachers humiliating the people and saying that they are miserable sinners it is disgraceful and no self-respecting person should tolerate this kind of abuse.

Ok I understand what you guys are saying. I'm not stupid. I see ALL your doubt. I see every part that makes sense and the parts that don't make sense. I understand where you guys are coming from. Ultimately the reason I believe in God is simple.

I don't want to live in a world where those with power impose their evil intent on the masses and not face any type of consequence. Without God people can easily escape human justice. I can't buy into that. That is what you are selling as atheists, directly or indirectly. I used to be an atheist but for this simple reason I switched. I can't be an atheist and say "well if your lawyer is good then you can get away with it".

People get away with evil everyday because it is easy to escape human justice. What then? Do they get away with it? Do you see the problem here? In case you guys speed read I don't want you to miss this sentence:

- People get away with evil everyday. What then? Do they get away with it? Do you see the problem here? This is a MAJOR hole in atheism like you've found minor holes in Christianity.

- People get away with evil everyday. What then? Do they get away with it? Do you see the problem here? This is a MAJOR hole in atheism like you've found minor holes in Christianity.

The Pedophile Priest - It's funny you mention the pedophile priest when in actuality it just hurts your case for atheism. Under atheism the pedophile priest has only to fear man's pathetic law. Do you realize there are pedophiles out there who have escaped our flawed justice system? They are free and on the streets. What of the pedophile priests who get away with their evil act? What if there is a pedophile priest out there who has not been caught yet? What if he never gets caught? WHAT THEN?! Under the rules of atheism he will get away with it and take his evil acts to his grave where no one will know and the foul priest will never face any justice.

Sorry I can't buy into that. A man can say he is a Christian but his actions are louder than his true belief. And if his pathetic actions are pedophilia then:

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

Pedophilia is sexually immoral.

"You didn't dispute any of the facts that were presented; instead you inserted "button pushing" issues that do not address any facts. " Answer - You win. Let's say I'm wrong about Christianity and I chose the wrong religion. At least God sees my good works & my good intentions. He sees that I submit to Him, which is the most important issue of all. "Sorry, but I'm responding. Anyone who believes in an (omnipotent God, who creates defective humans, and then castigates them for their mistakes) is not going to be swayed by a rational argument they've already abandoned logic. "

Answer - It is better to have a relationship with someone who has gone through the good & bad times. God wants a relationship with us but he wants us to develop personality & character. This is the only reason I can find for our existence. The only explanation for all the defects present in us. Overcoming defects lead to personality & character.

"The removal of superstition, bigotry, intolerance, will not make the world a worse place. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

Answer - Under man's logic that is brilliant. Compared to God's logic it falls short. Christianity teaches us no matter how good we are we fall short before the glory of God. God wants to see if we'll swallow our foolish pride (which took me 7 years to do). I don't' expect anyone to understand this overnight because once you do it's a life changing event.

"What immediate goals? What could anyone's goals possibly have to do with what is true. You seem to have a keen interest in keeping people in the dark, and you show a complete disregard for the extraordinary things that people can do without being threatened or bullied. There are plenty of organizations that in order to protect their own interests don't want anyone to know the truth. Along with people who really are afraid to face the truth (because of their conditioning.) You're not looking at the world through the eyes of an atheist. It's not possible for an arrogant, ignorant, fanatic to see the world any other way. Those who see the world the way you do are not like us. "

Answer - Maybe you guys should write an article of what it is like to see the world as an atheist. I'd like to read it.

"Religion has never stopped war or killing or physical violence, but instead has actually promoted genocide."

Answer - Correction, if I may. Man & religion have never stopped war or killing or physical violence but instead has actually promoted genocide. But what does this have to do with your personal relationship with God? There are those who will do wrong in the name of God but why let them distort your relationship with God?

"You have got to be kidding! Power hungry religious zealots is one of the biggest problems in the world. "

Answer - I agree. In every system or ideology there are deviants. But I'll ask once again what does this have to do with your personal relationship with God? You are letting man ruin something special between you & your maker. Why are you putting man & God in the same category?

"Ever heard of divine rule. It was a system by which rulers used cleric, and vice versa to stay in power, and they were immoral contemptible jerks full of drivel (just like they are doing today.) "

Answer - If there is no God then they successfully get away with their evil acts assuming they escaped human justice.

"It was used for the purpose of spreading an empire, imperialism. Religious wars, trampling down of nations, slaughtering, burning, polluting, and are still doing this day. Religion is useless in preventing men from doing evil or stopping injustices, and perhaps causes a great deal of damage because it promotes apathy. Also, the explanation for injustice or suffering (justice will be in the next life) is not a solution to any problem.

Answer - I agree there needs to be proper solutions. But you say religion is useless in preventing men from doing evil? Religion itself can't prevent men from doing evil. You are right. However it can convict them of their evil, so that in the afterlife they will receive punishment. However man can use what he has learned from religion to stop men from doing evil. Ultimately I still see your point; man falls short before the glory of God. Under atheism if he can get away with it he's good to go, but under Christianity we believe God will still bring punishment to those who can escape human law.

"What about the innocent being wrongfully convicted while murders go free. The likelihood that the innocent are being executed was enough to compel Illinois Governor George Ryan, a onetime supporter of the death penalty to suspend executions two years ago. Simple arithmetic convinced him the system was broken: of 25 people put on death row in Illinois since 1987, 12 were executed, 13 were falsely accused and eventually freed, including Anthony Porter, a retarded man who came within a few days of execution for a murder he didn't commit. There are two sides to everything. I'm sure that innocent people have been convicted while the guilty went free. However, that is the nature of things when nobody does anything to stop corruption, and it starts at the top. It really has nothing to do with a belief system it's about a corrupt system.

Answer - Good point.

"In 313 A.D., Constantine the emperor of Roman was supposed to have embraced Christianity. In 321 A.D. Constantine declared the "Sun's day" it was probably never called Sunday. Constantine deceptively claimed Apollo, the Sun God as his patron and stamped Apollo's image on one side of his coin and the initials Jesus Christ (Julius Caesar) on the other. Apollo the Sun God is the true ancient Egyptian Deity, Heru, the Son of Ausar and Aset who was renamed Apollo by the Greeks and Romans. In the beginning of Constantine's rule the biggest question was whether or not the empire would worship both the Hindu Krishna and the Druidic Hesus or should they unite them into one God. Constantine started a campaign to accept both Gods. This idea failed and became so hostile that Constantine called the leading Bishops of the sects to meet in the Council at Nicea to deliberate this matter. The Council of Nicea met in what is today Turkey in 325 A.D. Only 300 Bishops supported Constantine's dim-witted scheme and Constantine became enraged. So great was the opposition of Bishop Arius and 1,500 supporters that Constantine was forced to call on his Roman guards to restore order. Roman guards excommunicated Arius and the dissenters, and they were taken from the Holy Chamber and sent into exile by the edict of Constantine. After Arius and his 1,500 supporters had been driven and expelled from the Council of Nicea, Constantine's nasty little scheme was presented to the 300 Bishops who unanimously approved it. The 300 Bishops who finally voted "to unite the names of the two chief Gods were a set of illiterate men who understood nothing significant. Also, these ignorant men were afraid of being accused of heretics. Their votes decided that the world would accept and receive the name of the New God who would lead the New Religious System known as "Christianity." This is when they came up with name "Jesus Christ" who became the redeemer of the whole world who died on the cross for everyone's sins. The birth date of Jesus was agreed on by the Bishops who attended the Nicean Conference in 332 A.D. because it commemorated the birth of the Sun God (the original Deity, Amun-Ra), thousands of years before Jesus the Christ. Constantine decreed Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 333 A.D. This started the systematic purge of any and all competing religious systems. As such, the original Trinity of Ausar, Aset and Heru (renamed Osiris, Isis and Horus by the Greeks) which existed before circa 4,100 years, and was replaced with a Christian religious Trinity consisting of The Father, Son And Holy Ghost. Emperor Constantine's legacy is that under his imperial religious supremacy, Rome functioned as the most potent outpost of religious tyranny; he decreed Christianity as the supreme religion. Christianity is and always has been a political instrument. All Christianity was ever about (from the beginning with the Romans) was a way to acquire political power and control over the people. It has always been a political tool to for their global, imperialist expansion, and enslavement.

I'm not a historian so I can't even begin to research a counter to this, unless I change my profession. But I can say this. Man is born with knowledge of good, evil & God. I don't believe in Tabula Rasa. Every human questions if there is a higher power and NOT because one person invented the idea 10,000 years ago. It is built into us. If Christianity is indeed created by man to control the masses well at least God sees that I'm trying to seek him. Let's say once again that all religions are false and are systems of control. I don't care. I want God to see that I've submitted to Him. That I'm on my knees to HIM and NOT Man. I don't put my trust entirely in man. I see your point so at least try to see mine. My goal is for God to see my good intentions towards him & my fellow man, without rejecting Him.

"Visit a lunatic asylum and you will discover that people commit suicide and they don't care what god thinks about it. It shows that faith does not prevent anything, medical treatment and science is a lot better. This is a one sided view you need to add some balance. There are those who will not commit suicide because they feel convicted by scripture. Then like you said there are those who don't care what God thinks about it. It shows that faith can prevent suicide in some cases (which is good!) and that a mixture of medical treatment & science will lead to a good balance, although some anti-depressant medication is highly questionable and has been linked to people feeling braver to commit suicide. Does this mean science should be discarded? No. "I'm not going to continue to answer all of your absurd examples of how bad the world would be without god (most of them are going on right now). Or there would be no right and wrong unless God existed. Suffice to say I don't agree. An educated literate public with opportunities would only produce far less wrongdoing. This has been proven. "

Answer - I understand it's a lot of typing lol.

"Christianity uses fear to control and run over people, it teaches nothing. " It teaches nothing? Now you are speaking out of anger instead of reason. A one sided view that isn't balanced. "You say that the existence of God is necessary to bring justice into the world."

Answer - Necessary to bring justice into the current world and the afterlife. To show us that no matter what we do we can't escape God's love/wrath.

"When we know there is a great injustice, and that the good people go through terrible things while the wicked flourish. The only reason people will tolerate this is if they believe that they are going to have justice in the next world. That's why people must believe that there is a god, heaven and hell; it's to prevent them from going after justice in this world. "

Answer - Well said, many Christians are guilty of this, but also many non-christians. I'm also guilty of this, but I try to do as much as I can.

"I will not answer the typical tirade about needing god because without him people get away with crap and are never punished. "

Answer - This is a major hole in Atheism. But this doesn't discount your good intentions.

"You may think that you have the answers, but all you have is the same old worn out line with nothing new. You have not addressed one fact that anyone has presented about the authenticity of religion. Why don't you address this? Jesus said: "Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." That is not a new precept or a new principle. Lao-Tse and Buddha some 500 or 600 years before Christ.

Answer - You wouldn't happen to know the phrase of lao-tse/Buddha that matches the turn the cheek concept would you?

"The whole concept of a God is a derivative of the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a concept that is contemptible to free men. "

Answer - Do you really believe this? I'm free yet I still believe thus your statement is somewhat flawed (keyword somewhat). Concept of God is built into man from birth along with the knowledge of good & evil. Every human on this planet knows of good & evil unless they are mentally retarded or a vegetable.

"When you hear preachers humiliating the people and saying that they are miserable sinners it is disgraceful and no self-respecting person should tolerate this kind of abuse."

Answer - Preachers are not humiliating they are convicting first, and if you feel humiliated afterwards then that means the preacher is right. You don't like the concept of hell do you? Where do you think corrupt religious leaders are going to go then? Will they just die and get away with all the suffering they caused and face nothing in the afterlife since you think an afterlife doesn't exist? That is a pretty crappy outlook. Man will try to bring justice and will succeed often but there are times where we don't succeed. Man falls short before the glory of God. Most Christians agree with you. We don't' like corrupt religious figures either, because they make us look bad just because we want to believe in God and show him our good intentions and submit to Him.

VCurious: "I don't want to live in a world where those with power impose their evil intent on the masses and not face any type of consequence. Without God people can easily escape human justice. I can't buy into that."

I'm late to the party, and everyone else has done a good job of covering the points...so I'll just hit this one point.

The kind of world you *want* to live in has no bearing on what kind of world you *do* live in. If this is your principle objection to world-views that don't include some cosmic justice then, if you'll forgive the condescending remark, you really don't understand what you're talking about.

Life isn't fair and the desire for justice that you express is one of the key foundations of most every religion. We're all aware that sometimes good goes unrewarded and evil goes unpunished, so some justice-seekers invent a security blanket to ensure that they aren't mired in depression. It allows them to avoid facing the harshness of an indifferent reality. Whether it's heaven & hell or karma dictating infinite rebirths, it serves the same purpose.

Some of us prefer to actually face reality. Some of us realize that there is no good reason to believe that the universe is anything other than indifferent to our existence and our perceptions of good and evil. Some of us realize that dealing with reality on reality's terms is the only way to make any real improvement in the situation.

Life isn't fair and that's actually comforting, if you think about it. If life *were* fair that would imply that you actually deserve the bad things that happen to you and that those who benefit from evil deeds are similarly deserving.

The realization that there's no reason to expect justice is what ensures that we take steps to impose justice. The realization that good isn't always rewarded is what drives us to reward it when we see it. The realization that evil isn't always punished is what drives us to work together, as a cooperative society, to deal with our problems, collectively and individually, in a way that encourages real change and that, hopefully, minimizes harmful actions. Realizing that justice isn't guaranteed allows us to appreciate it when it happens and work toward ensuring it on a more regular basis.

Your particular god-concept view of justice represents the height of irresponsibility and injustice. Your chosen religion has us born as reprobates, guilty before we've taken a single breath, responsible for things we've never done. It offers instant, undeserved, forgiveness for the most horrible of crimes and punishes people whose only "crime" is disbelief - forever. It advocates slavery, denigrates women, curses homosexuals, orders the stoning of unruly children, sanctions wars of extermination, condones human sacrifice and poisons every mind it touches. It includes only one unforgivable crime: disbelief. Is that just?

This "justice" you so admire, is no such thing. It is divine edict, arbitrary, capricious and ultimately unjust and immoral.

Yes, I realize that there "are pedophiles out there who have escaped our flawed justice system?" Do you realize that your system says that they're all eligible for an eternal paradise? How does that address your objection? Under the rules of Christianity, the pedophile who escapes justice here can also escape your ultimate justice. Under the rules of Christianity, he may live forever in paradise while someone who spent their entire life doing good, helping others and contributing in a generally positive way to the one-and-only life we're sure to get, is ultimately judged unworthy of that reward.

Don't kid yourself. You haven't accepted a cosmic sense of justice that alleviates the problem - you've accepted one that you believe alleviates the problem FOR YOU. It is a selfish justification that shows no regard for real matters of justice. It is the height of arrogance and your desire to feel special because "someone up there" thinks you're special. Well, according to the paradigm you advocate, he thinks that *anyone* willing to worship him is special - with no regard for justice or character.

Go, read Romans. No one makes this point clearer than Paul. The "law" was established with full knowledge that no one would be able to fulfill it, it was established to demonstrate this inability and damn us further - and then a loophole was established to let some people through, regardless of their standing with the law.

Your religion has made you a slave. It has made you uncaring. It has made you support immorality and injustice while claiming that arbitrary edicts and loopholes count as either. It is a reprehensible lie that poisons the mind and prevents you from understanding reality.

When the scales drop away from your eyes, as they have for many of us...we'll be here, and you'll realize that you're not alone and not to blame.

>The main reason people kill is because they are animals and it is in the nature of an animal to kill.

I'm picking this one claim, but it's one of many claims you put forward that are flat out wrong and unsupported. I've never been in fear of being attacked by a rabbit. Can a rabbit injure a person? Yes. Is it an aggressive animal? No. What are you talking about when you say it's in the nature of animals to "kill"? Some animals kill for some _good_ reasons. Few animals kills for reasons that seem mysterious. Most predators will kill for resources/territory or food. Only a couple animals I can think of just go around killing willy nilly. I think badgers have been known to leave dead carcasses? I'd have to look it up.

But most ESPECIALLY primates are not prone to predation or "murder" in general. They can aggress, again for reasons, generally. And some do hunt meat, but by and large they are vegetarian--not even hunting for food purposes.

What makes you think that people are natural killers? Most people aren't interested in killing other people until some leader gets ahold of them and convinces them that killing other people is a good idea. Again, it's generally resources as people aren't known to kill one another as a food staple.

Claiming animals kill because they're animals is a ridiculous claim. Read slowly through you posts and you'll see many others just like it. They're far too numerous to address. I saw one or two and thought to respond, then saw so many I got, literally, overwhelmed and almost didn't even post this for thinking, "What's the point?"

You throw out claims off the top of your head without really investigating first whether or not their true. It makes for a waste of everyone's time. Most of what you're claiming has been rebutted and the rest is just claims pulled out of thin air without any support whatsoever. Don't just assume that whatever is your first thought is necessarily original or even correct. Look some things up before you post and save everyone a lot of time having conversations that have already been had elsewhere and pointing out errors that even you should be able to recognize if you give your own posts a good scrutinizing read before you submit them.

"I'm picking this one claim, but it's one of many claims you put forward that are flat out wrong and unsupported. I've never been in fear of being attacked by a rabbit. "

Answer - Both you & the rabbit are animals. In this case the rabbit fears you. There was a time when man hunted rabbit for food. We would kill the rabbit because it is in our nature.

"Can a rabbit injure a person? Yes. Is it an aggressive animal? No. What are you talking about when you say it's in the nature of animals to "kill"? Some animals kill for some _good_ reasons. Few animals kills for reasons that seem mysterious. Most predators will kill for resources/territory or food. Only a couple animals I can think of just go around killing willy nilly. I think badgers have been known to leave dead carcasses? I'd have to look it up."

Answer - You know my original point was even if you take away religion man will still find an excuse to kill because we simply can. It is in our nature. Like you said when we are threatened or in a fight it can lead to murder unfortunately.

"But most ESPECIALLY primates are not prone to predation or "murder" in general. They can aggress, again for reasons, generally. And some do hunt meat, but by and large they are vegetarian--not even hunting for food purposes."

Answer - Agreed.

"What makes you think that people are natural killers? Most people aren't interested in killing other people until some leader gets ahold of them and convinces them that killing other people is a good idea. Again, it's generally resources as people aren't known to kill one another as a food staple."

Agreed.

"Claiming animals kill because they're animals is a ridiculous claim. Read slowly through you posts and you'll see many others just like it. They're far too numerous to address. I saw one or two and thought to respond, then saw so many I got, literally, overwhelmed and almost didn't even post this for thinking, "What's the point?"

Answer - Do you think if we remove religion man will stop killing?

"You throw out claims off the top of your head without really investigating first whether or not their true. It makes for a waste of everyone's time. Most of what you're claiming has been rebutted and the rest is just claims pulled out of thin air without any support whatsoever. Don't just assume that whatever is your first thought is necessarily original or even correct. Look some things up before you post and save everyone a lot of time having conversations that have already been had elsewhere and pointing out errors that even you should be able to recognize if you give your own posts a good scrutinizing read before you submit them."

I was saying that if you remove religion man will still kill for "insert reason here".

I am only answering things that pertain to issues I addressed or that are new:

QUOTE - Ok I understand what you guys are saying. I'm not stupid. I see ALL your doubt. I see every part that makes sense and the parts that don't make sense. I understand where you guys are coming from. Ultimately the reason I believe in God is simple.

ANSWER - From what you have written I don't think you do get it. It's not doubt that we have it's knowledge and the facts. It's not any particular religion that we do not accept; it's all religion. You do not address anything that is fact based. I know that you are saying that you don't depend on a man made religion, but all of your arguments are based on a man made religion.

QUOTE - "I don't want to live in a world where those with power impose their evil intent on the masses and not face any type of consequence. Without God people can easily escape human justice. I can't buy into that. That is what you are selling as atheists, directly or indirectly. I used to be an atheist but for this simple reason I switched. I can't be an atheist and say "well if your lawyer is good then you can get away with it".

ANSWER - Sure! Atheists are not selling anything especially not pie-in-the-sky justice. What is the truth of the matter? Many historical injustices have been well documented for posterity and the most evil people in history were never punished, and many of them were so-called Christians. So much for the god justice system. Many things in the Bible that are considered justice would choke a goat. Most (but not all) atheists are people who see things the way they really are. Things will only be better on earth until people no longer "believe" in superstitious B.S. Your idea that atheists are in support of wrongdoing being ignored is just something going on in your head, because nobody said that. What most of us have been saying is ( all the horrible things you are describing that would be happening without god) are going on right now.

QUOTE "- People get away with evil everyday. What then? Do they get away with it? Do you see the problem here? This is a MAJOR hole in atheism like you've found minor holes in Christianity."

ANSWER - I see that you have a very big problem with someone telling you that things are not the way you think they are. There will always people who are more interested in the next life than they are in real life. It's easier to flee from reality than it is to work for change. No ordinary person who has been accused of a crime has a very good chance of even defending themselves because of the amount of money required for a proper defense. That's what you call "capital" punishment. Wealthy people can in most cases and usually go free. This has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Most people know this. There was a documentary on PBS about a case in New York that a woman prosecutor tried. She said she knew that the boy was insane and should never have been tried. This kid was so delusional that it was not believable that he ever was put on trial. The boy on trial was clearly too crazy to assist in his own defense. He choose not to be in the courtroom during the trial, and did not testify. He had shot some people because he was mentally ill (he didn't kill anyone) and was sentenced to life in prison. He killed himself in prison. The woman prosecutor said that they had celebrated the conviction because they had never thought they would win the case. Now she regrets trying the case. She said she knew he was not fit to stand trial, but the state ruled that he was, and it was her job to convict him. She said that if a person knows the difference between an apple and an orange they are allegedly sane enough to stand trial. The woman prosecutor did this documentary to demonstrate how bad things are. She said that after her daughter committed suicide it really hit her how wrong all this was. This is just one in a million of stories about how warped the justice system is in this country.

QUOTE - "Answer - You win. Let's say I'm wrong about Christianity and I chose the wrong religion. At least God sees my good works & my good intentions. He sees that I submit to Him, which is the most important issue of all." ANSWER - Any intelligent being would know what a person's intentions are without them graveling. I also know that this sort of trash is drummed into people from the day they are born. All religion is false and is a tool to keep the masses in their place. If your only purpose in life is to please a god who is playing peek-a-boo in the clouds that's your business, but don't even think that people who choose to think for themselves are beneath anyone who is involved in the gaggle of geese that you hold in such esteem.

QUOTE - "It is better to have a relationship with someone who has gone through the good & bad times. God wants a relationship with us but he wants us to develop personality & character. This is the only reason I can find for our existence. The only explanation for all the defects present in us. Overcoming defects lead to personality & character." ANSWER - The reason that is the only explanation you have is because of your limited knowledge. If you never look for any other answers you sure won't find them. There are many reasons for things that happen to people. It's very typical for Christians to say that they are being tested if bad things happen them, and when something bad happens to others they are being punished. These things are not being controlled by anyone anywhere. Bad things can happen to anyone face that facts. The explanation for defects in humans are scientific reasons. Man can have many kinds genetic defects, and it doesn't serve any purpose it just happens.

QUOTE - "Under man's logic that is brilliant. Compared to God's logic it falls short. Christianity teaches us no matter how good we are we fall short before the glory of God. God wants to see if we'll swallow our foolish pride (which took me 7 years to do). I don't' expect anyone to understand this overnight because once you do it's a life changing event."

ANSWER - Science tells us the facts. The Christian religion first came into direct conflict with science when Copernicus (1473-1543) proposed the heliocentric view of the Universe. According to this view, the Earth revolves about the Sun, and not vice versa. Both the ancient Hebrews and the Medieval theologians, however, had always believed in a stationary Earth and a moving Sun. Joshua 10:12-13 recounts Joshua as commanding the Sun to stand still in Gibeon, and that "the Sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day." He did not tell the earth to stand still, because whoever wrote this didn't know it was turning. The Genesis version of the birth of the Sun: On the Fourth Day the sun was created, after the Creation of the plants. We all know that plants depend upon sunlight and hence the process called photosynthesis for the sustenance of life. How then could life be possible for them if they were created before and not after the Sun, as Genesis has it? Geologists discovered that our planet was infinitely older than the four thousand to six thousand years deduced from the Book of Genesis. Shortly thereafter, Charles Darwin proposed his Theory of Evolution and suggested that the various species then dwelling on the Globe actually evolved from a common ancestor. The earth is, and the universe is possibly fifteen billion years old. The universe may have existed ten billion years before the earth, but according to the biblical description of creation the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars were all created at the same time. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, the earth itself existed from the beginning, whereas the stars, sun, and moon were created on the fourth day. The Bible is very uncertain about seeing or not see god: John 1:18 and (John 6:46) No one has ever seen God; But Exodus 24:9-11: Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. Well did anyone see god are not - too many discrepancy!

QUOTE - "Maybe you guys should write an article of what it is like to see the world as an atheist. I'd like to read it."

ANSWER - There a many books that have been written by brilliant people on this subject. Anyone who really wants to understand why people are atheist would have already read them.

QUOTE - "Correction, if I may. Man & religion have never stopped war or killing or physical violence but instead has actually promoted genocide. But what does this have to do with your personal relationship with God? There are those who will do wrong in the name of God but why let them distort your relationship with God?

ANSWER - Well, the word of god hasn't stopped violence either, and let's face it your believe is based on the bible. That is where your concept of god comes from. I have heard all of the same old clichés before from fanatics.

OUOTE - "I agree. In every system or ideology there are deviants. But I'll ask once again what does this have to do with your personal relationship with God? You are letting man ruin something special between you & your maker. Why are you putting man & God in the same category?"

ANSWER - That's not why we don't have a relationship with someone who is invisible and never talks (except to schizophrenics.) I don't have a relationship with invisible gods who created the whole world, but they can't do math. I know you will want to know about this and believe me I have an answer.

QUOTE - "If there is no God then they successfully get away with their evil acts assuming they escaped human justice."

ANSWER - An excellent justice system should be what every person demands. If you think that the bible represents a civilized justice system (you have got to be kidding)

QUOTE - "I agree there needs to be proper solutions. But you say religion is useless in preventing men from doing evil? Religion itself can't prevent men from doing evil. You are right. However it can convict them of their evil, so that in the afterlife they will receive punishment. However man can use what he has learned from religion to stop men from doing evil. Ultimately I still see your point; man falls short before the glory of God. Under atheism if he can get away with it he's good to go, but under Christianity we believe God will still bring punishment to those who can escape human law."

ANSWER - Man knows right from wrong because of his parents who are his main teachers. Teaching ethics would also be beneficial in this area. Some people grow up seeing good and some unfortunately experience bad things. This is the major reason for what people become. People who are truly mentally ill are not helped by religion. And some of the better doctors believe it is harmful. Linda - "What about the innocent being wrongfully convicted while murders go free. The likelihood that the innocent are being executed was enough to compel Illinois Governor George Ryan, a onetime supporter of the death penalty to suspend executions two years ago. Simple arithmetic convinced him the system was broken: of 25 people put on death row in Illinois since 1987, 12 were executed, 13 were falsely accused and eventually freed, including Anthony Porter, a retarded man who came within a few days of execution for a murder he didn't commit. There are two sides to everything. I'm sure that innocent people have been convicted while the guilty went free. However, that is the nature of things when nobody does anything to stop corruption, and it starts at the top. It really has nothing to do with a belief system it's about a corrupt system."

QUOTE - "Good point."

ANSWER - All the answers are good it's the questions that are bad. You just want to hang on to your "beliefs" no matter what (and that's fine) but we don't have to accept superstitious nonsense.

QUOTE - "I'm not a historian so I can't even begin to research a counter to this, unless I change my profession. But I can say this. Man is born with knowledge of good, evil & God. I don't believe in Tabula Rasa. Every human questions if there is a higher power and NOT because one person invented the idea 10,000 years ago. It is built into us. If Christianity is indeed created by man to control the masses well at least God sees that I'm trying to seek him. Let's say once again that all religions are false and are systems of control. I don't care. I want God to see that I've submitted to Him. That I'm on my knees to HIM and NOT Man. I don't put my trust entirely in man. I see your point so at least try to see mine. My goal is for God to see my good intentions towards him & my fellow man, without rejecting Him."

ANSWER - No, it is drummed into you from birth. That's why you can't listen to anyone who disputes the scriptures. Your point is you believe in god. So (nobody is trying to convert you) isn't it you who can't accept that there are people who don't believe as you do?

QUOTE - "This is a one sided view you need to add some balance. There are those who will not commit suicide because they feel convicted by scripture. Then like you said there are those who don't care what God thinks about it. It shows that faith can prevent suicide in some cases (which is good!) and that a mixture of medical treatment & science will lead to a good balance, although some anti-depressant medication is highly questionable and has been linked to people feeling braver to commit suicide. Does this mean science should be discarded? No. "I'm not going to continue to answer all of your absurd examples of how bad the world would be without god (most of them are going on right now). Or there would be no right and wrong unless God existed. Suffice to say I don't agree. An educated literate public with opportunities would only produce far less wrongdoing. This has been proven. "

ANSWER - No, it proves that if a person is very mentally ill they will commit suicide and murder. It has nothing to do with any deities existence. "Belief" has nothing to do with "fixing" mental illness. It is very difficult for a person who has thought about things in only one way to ever accept reality. Most issues that deal with knowledge or facts that conflict with their mindset are rejected.

QUOTE - "Necessary to bring justice into the current world and the afterlife. To show us that no matter what we do we can't escape God's love/wrath."

ANSWER - This is a method that abusive animal trainers use on circus animals. So, if you are a baboon or an elephant I guess it works.

QUOTE - "Well said, many Christians are guilty of this, but also many non-christians. I'm also guilty of this, but I try to do as much as I can."

ANSWER - The subject was about people being apathetic over corruption in high places. This has nothing to do with being Christian or non-Christian it has to do with being part of the get-along-gang. Which by the way most atheists are not.

QUOTE - "This is a major hole in Atheism. But this doesn't discount your good intentions."

ANSWER - People do get by with stealing and murder. There is no god so that's not a factor. Some people are greedy and nasty that's the answer. Look at the American Indians who are still suffering. And don't give me we brought Christianity to them (that's what the pope said about the extinct Indians of South America). The same thing happened to the Hawaiians when the Methodist invaded their island. The bad people have seized power and people have to get it back. It started with the invention of Christianity by the Romans to spread an empire and continue slavery.

Linda - "You may think that you have the answers, but all you have is the same old worn out line with nothing new. You have not addressed one fact that anyone has presented about the authenticity of religion. Why don't you address this? Jesus said: "Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." That is not a new precept or a new principle. Lao-Tse and Buddha some 500 or 600 years before Christ."

QUOTE - "You wouldn't happen to know the phrase of lao-tse/Buddha that matches the turn the cheek concept would you?"

ANSWER - Taoism was founded by Lao-Tse, a contemporary of Confucius in China. Among his best known sayings are to "love thy neighbor" and "turn the other cheek.

Linda - "The whole concept of a God is a derivative of the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a concept that is contemptible to free men. "

QUOTE - "Do you really believe this? I'm free yet I still believe thus your statement is somewhat flawed (keyword somewhat). Concept of God is built into man from birth along with the knowledge of good & evil. Every human on this planet knows of good & evil unless they are mentally retarded or a vegetable."

ANSWER - Everyone is born an Atheist until they are taught (brainwashed) to be otherwise. I don't intend to continue to argue about things that are so obvious.

Linda - "When you hear preachers humiliating the people and saying that they are miserable sinners it is disgraceful and no self-respecting person should tolerate this kind of abuse."

QUOTE - "Preachers are not humiliating they are convicting first, and if you feel humiliated afterwards then that means the preacher is right. You don't like the concept of hell do you? Where do you think corrupt religious leaders are going to go then? Will they just die and get away with all the suffering they caused and face nothing in the afterlife since you think an afterlife doesn't exist? That is a pretty crappy outlook. Man will try to bring justice and will succeed often but there are times where we don't succeed. Man falls short before the glory of God. Most Christians agree with you. We don't' like corrupt religious figures either, because they make us look bad just because we want to believe in God and show him our good intentions and submit to Him."

ANSWER - There was a PBS documentary that was done by an Englishman titled "Thy Kingdom Come" they have only shown this about twice. It shows many things about the religious leaders, but one thing that pertains to this is that they showed the difference in the same preacher talking to a poor congregation and a very wealthy one. The poor congregation was talked to and treated like dogs, but the wealthy one was greeted and spoken to like they were wonderful in every possible way. It might be a real eye opener if you visit a church in a very affluent neighborhood. Also John Rockefeller had his own church built just for him. I bet he never heard a sermon he didn't love. I have said all that needs to be said on this subject. I don't think you will find anyone has been converted.

Man was religious from the start, but religion became more civilized as man evolved. Therefore, it is a fact that man and his religion evolved together. Religion didn't make man better man made religion better. Study ancient history and their religions. Or just study the Bible for some horrific deeds that most of us would not allow in any civilized country. It is a fact that the more rational we are, the more civilized we become. Certainly, there will always be crazy people who do things that are horrible, and science will find out why. Believe me they are not demon possessed. The more progress we make the better off everyone will be. The reason we are not making progress in every field is the desire on the part of some to regress.

I only hope that people start to awaken from the madness of it all, the vanity of a civilization that would give even one person's life over religion.

Everyone did a great job in this discussion. Unfortunately the atheists were confined to presenting reality, facts, and substance. It's hard to argue with fantasy. You will never be able to successfully present information to right wing Evangelical Christian robots because anything outside of what they already believe is wrong. Their thinking is the opposite of yours. Their reality is in the realm phenomenon not information, and their goal is to impose Christianity on the world.

The only thing that has come out of this debate on the xian side is stereotypical views and the same old blabber.

The right wing thugs have been in power for decades and control the mainstream media; we have heard all of their blabber and right wing crazy-talk. A growing number of people think that they have had a choke hold on our country for too long.

@VCurious I don't know where you live/lived/grew up, but assuming that you live(d) in a society with lots of Christianity-information around I wonder if you ever asked yourself if you would have turned from atheism to Islam in a muslim society.

To see in faith is to shut the eye of reason- Benjamin Franklin

Here is my basic problem with christianity, and really all religion. You base your belief in god and jesus on a book written over 2000 years ago by humans who were barely litterate, sheep herders. Most of the new testament is written by people who lived hundreds of years after jesus supposedly lived. They never saw his "miracles" and never knew the man. Then the bible goes through thousands of revisions, omissions, and translations, until we have the bible of today. And yet christians base their entire belief system only on this book of fairy tales and contradictions.

Anyone who looks at this book objectively and rationally cannot believe a single word of it becasue it sounds like nonsense, and yet every argument for christianity is based on this book? Do you really expect free thinking people to believe this crap?

Vcurious, I totally agree with you! I really wanted to abort each of my five kids, but I didn't because I don't want to have to answer to God! I also have the urge, stronly, frequently, to kill all the people on my street. There are about 15 families in all. But I won't do it, because I don't want to go to hell. We need God not just to keep me from doing these things, but also so that we can feel better about the people who do bad things and don't get punished in this life. Like Hitler. He committed suicide, but he was never punished by other people for what he did. It makes me feel so much better that he is in hell. Also, I volunteered at the homeless shelter near my house even though I hate homeless people. But I did it just to make sure I'll go to heaven.

Dear Christians: First of all, you guys are doing pretty well putting up with a lot of abuse from my fellow freethinkers. For that you deserve some credit. I like it when the Jehovah's Witnesses come down my street, because how rare is it to get into a discussion of fundamental questions?

From: ChristianMamaof5 "We need God not just to keep me from doing these things, but also so that we can feel better about the people who do bad things and don't get punished in this life. Like Hitler. He committed suicide, but he was never punished by other people for what he did. It makes me feel so much better that he is in hell. Also, I volunteered at the homeless shelter near my house even though I hate homeless people. But I did it just to make sure I'll go to heaven."

While some atheists would enjoy berating you for admitting that you "hate" the homeless, Adam the Arch-Atheist will never ever do that. You have real honesty to reveal these things to us. (I'm am actually a complete scumbag too, so don't feel embarrassed.)

Enough small talk. Here are a few things to consider: What in the world would make you think that Hitler is in hell? Based on the historical record and Christian orthodoxy, we should assume that Hitler would have a good chance of being in heaven, if there were one. Why? 1) He was born in the right place and time: modern Europe. 2) He was raised a Christian. 3) He did not die suddenly, but rather had time and motivation (due to his upbringing) to engage in "begging forgiveness" and "being saved" before death. 4) If he is in hell, it is not due to genocide and slavery but merely due to suicide. 5) Genocide and slavery are not even really sins at all, biblically speaking. Look them up in the online Skeptic's Annotated Bible. God is rather ambivalent about them; genocide is occasionally commanded by God (Deuteronomy ~28, the whole book of Joshua, etc.), but He never goes so far as to make it everyone's duty for all time, thank God. However, if you look at the situations when God does command it, they are rather similar to conditions in the USA and Nazi Germany. There was a non-Christian people in the land "given" to God's people. As you can well imagine, interacting with the infidel in any way (even online) can endanger your eternal soul. Likewise with Leviticus on slavery, non-miscgenation, racial segragation, etc. 6) Hitler made Christianity the official religion of Germany in 1933, and he was pro-life, which seems to be more important than being pro-war. Surely that's got to be worth something! By the way, if you get killed suddenly after sinning but before repenting, you could be in hell while Hitler praises God in heaven for all eternity! It's hopeless using reason to persuade the religious; better to simply read the bible critically. Get Bishop Spong's "The sins of scripture" from your public library or read the Skeptic's Annotated Bible online. Peace, Adam.

I'm also opposed to abortion! I'm glad abortion is illegal in other countries so lots of people can be born, like Pol Pot and Hitler and Stalin. It's okay they killed so many people, because they're in hell and the victims are in Heaven. And all the Japanese that were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped, I'm glad that they're in heaven, too. Oh wait, they're not Christians, are they? So they're not in heaven. Oh dear. And Americans are the ones that dropped the bombs, but those men aren't in hell, are they? That was justified! God would understand, right?

"Christian mama of 5" wrote: "I'm also opposed to abortion! I'm glad abortion is illegal in other countries so lots of people can be born, like Pol Pot and Hitler and Stalin. It's okay they killed so many people, because they're in hell and the victims are in Heaven. And all the Japanese that were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped, I'm glad that they're in heaven, too. Oh wait, they're not Christians, are they? So they're not in heaven. Oh dear. And Americans are the ones that dropped the bombs, but those men aren't in hell, are they? That was justified! God would understand, right?"

Is this message for real? I think that "Christian mama of 5" must be a alias for some atheist who is trying to make fun of theists. PLease, only real talk on this message board. Still, much of the atheist talk on this boards is so shrill and bitter, perhaps there are some theists who are making fun of atheists. Except for all the thought that goes into each message, such as the great stuff on the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. Thanks for such great content. Peace, Adam. Is abortion really a significant limit on population growth?

I'm really sick of hearing about what God wants all the time.

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