Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to persuade an atheist

WikiHow has a lot of different how to lists on their site. But when I saw one titled 'How to persuade an atheist to become a Christian', you know it caught me eye. But it also left me wondering what advice it contained. So lets take a look.
First, they don't have your concept of salvation, as "to be saved from The Law of Sin and Death", or that "all have sinned and deserve judgment".
Actually, we usually do have a good understanding. We just don't believe it. Most atheists were once
Christians, or have been surrounded by Christianity our whole lives. The idea that we don't have the same concept of salvation, reduces to the claim that we don't believe simply because we don't know about salvation. The problem isn't that I don't know about salvation, it's that I've not seen the slightest evidence that the claim of salvation is in any way true.
You might get confronted with well-formulated factual arguments. Many atheists who are interested in Christianity will be able to explain Evolution, the Big Bang or other scientific theories in their stories and opinions. They might refer to certain scientific evidence and people to support these theories. Before starting a discussion, you must expect that they have a non-religious orthodoxy with their evidence aligned in their favor, as they see it, regarding origins from the vacuum of space, universe and life from a black hole, from nothing but (mindless) energy changing to matter by no plan, yet results so astonishing, with no design
True, most atheists do know their science. Something that the author of this how to doesn't know if they think  'universe and life from a black hole' has anything to do with the Big Bang... Also, the results we see are not quite so astonishing without design if you actually know the science at play.
Understand that the Bible presents "infallible" logic in Genesis 1, by presenting creation in several phases, clearly, understandable as simple to complex! Science has not added so very much to the ancient understandings in the Biblical revelation of simple to complex creation, except science is struggling for a cause of this creation.
Huh... How is the Bible infallible and how has science added little when science has shown that Biblical creation is just plain incorrect. Six days is nowhere near enough time, no Big Bang, light created before light sources, many parts of creation made in very much the wrong order (land plants before sea life, plants before Sun). Not to mention that the order of creation in Genesis 2 also seams to contradict the order in Genesis 1.
Verify that the Bible is scientifically correct every time it mentions science, even though it isn't a science text. In perspective, 3000 years ago, before Greek geometry or Arabic algebra, the writer of the oldest Bible texts said correctly, before science existed, that the universe was dark and void "in the beginning" (Genesis 1). The Bible prophet Isaiah stated that the Earth was round 2500 years before Columbus sailed westward, for the East Indies, speaking of "the circle of the Earth"
Actually, the Bible gets it's science wrong quite a bit...

•It says that bats are birds.
•Calls a whale a fish.
•It makes a mess of creation.
•It says that stars are small lights in the sky that can fall to the ground rather than that massive spheres of plasma light-years away that they are.
•It talks about insects having four legs rather than six.
•Claims Pi = 3.
•There is no firmament.
•There was no global flood.

Those are but a few examples, but the Bible is hardly a guide for science. Maybe you can find a few vague statements that can be made to fit, but that doesn't make it a reliable science text by any stretch. And so what if the Bible refers to the 'circle of the Earth' in the poetic way that is does? Circle does not necessarily mean sphere after-all. But it wouldn't really matter if that was what they meant. The possibility of a spherical earth dates back to the 4th century BCE. In the 2nd century BCE Eratosthenes ran an experiment where he not only showed the Earth to be round, but calculated a pretty accurate measurement of the Earths circumference as well. But the Bible wasn't compiled as we know it today until about 382CE. But why an I sitting here expecting the author of this list to know any history if they still believe the old myth that Columbus was setting sail to prove the Earth was round...
Be prepared to have a genuine conversation with them. Show interest in what they are saying. If you are going to convince him or her of anything one-on-one, you have to first take a genuine interest in that person's point of view. If you find yourself pushing to talk much more than patiently listening, this is probably not the case. Keep in mind that it should not be harsh argument, not a lecture on Christianity, nor going directly at them (not a war).
I can get behind this one, even if I've met plenty of Christians that don't follow this example.
Be knowledgeable about Christianity. If you are a Christian and you believe that the Bible is the direct word of God, then have you read most of it and the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? If not, you may find the person you are trying to convert is better versed in the Bible than you. Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They may have hardened their beliefs more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society.
 Yes, while Christians might have read some of the Bible most atheists have read more. I've read all of it in fact. Studies have also shown that atheists actually tend to know religion more than the religious actually do. So believers should be prepared to learn something if they plan to try and convert an atheist.

But what the hell does that last sentence mean?  'Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They may have hardened their beliefs more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society.' Why the distinction between religious and Christian? Also, atheists don't tend to 'harden' their beliefs. We simply ask for proof, and it has yet to be given. Meanwhile, I find that believers tend to be more 'hardened' in their beliefs when they tell me there is no chance they could be wrong or that nothing could ever make them change their mind.
Familiarize yourself with some atheist arguments. If you're going to present an argument for your beliefs, research how Christians answer what atheists have said about your arguments in the past. This will help meet the interest in the other person's thoughts and time. You might see some atheist opinion, and hardened views online.
They aren't hardened views! We just want proof, or at the very least a logical explanation.  While the idea of looking up atheist arguments is a good idea, I don't see how looking up Christian answers to those arguments will help any since they are always lacking the evidence and logic we require.
Have an open discussion. Be open and honest at all times. You could end up doing irreparable damage to your friendship if you let emotions underneath the conversation direct the conversation. It should always be civil, positive and cordial. Never cut them off, accuse them of lying or say malicious things to make a point.
 Sounds good to me.
Establish a common language. You will not convince an atheist that your belief has merit, if you use assumptions that the atheist does not agree are valid. You have to establish a common definition for terms and try to play with semantics to gloss over a point. When you have a discussion, it is best to speak the same language. This means that you will have to back up and use secular reasoning to establish your theological ideas.
Another decent point. You have no idea how many times I've talked with a believer that didn't understand the scientific meaning of 'theory' or assumed that it was fine to expect me to agree that unsubstantiated Biblical concepts should simply be accepted without any proof (threatening Hell or sin are pointless if you can't actually show they exist).
Ask why your friend is Atheist. Has your friend always felt that there is no (caring) creator? Has something happened to cause this person pain in life, or feel that religious leaders are hypocritical? Or does he or she simply choose to base a belief system on scientific proof? Whatever the reason is, you need to get to the core of your friend's beliefs.
Fair enough, even if the majority of the reasons they give are not ones that typically lead to atheism. The most common would be closer to the science reason they gave. We want proof, or have seen no reason to believe in God. Others may simply say that religion just doesn't make any logical sense.
 Quoting the Bible at every possible opportunity isn't counterproductive and saying "I thank God for [something]" is fine. Remember, an atheist does not agree, by default, that the Bible is a valid source of information. You will have to establish that, first.
Quoting the Bible left and right can be annoying depending on the tone. But they are right, I have no reason to believe the Bible until it is shown to be factually true about it's chief message. But this is something that has never been done...
Explain why Christianity helps people to live better lives. It may also be useful to tell your friend about people you've met at church. When listing their good qualities, include that they are "religious, devout, etc. Their religious fervor is going to impress an atheist.
Too bad that religion has also led people to do terrible things or lead lesser lives as well.While the believer wants to focus on the good points, that's only half the story. Also, the good of religion can easily be had with many different religions or no religion at all.
Create reasons for your faith that have everything to do with personal experience. An atheist may want definite evidence, not just a rehearsal of your faith. You'll have to provide concrete facts and scientifically thought out arguments. Your beliefs based on faith, God's love and joy of worship (all immaterial things) are not evidence to the unbeliever. In fact, a reliance on faith is evidence that you aren't relying on facts. However, this will work in your favor as faith is, by its nature, non-corporeal (not material matters).
What a waste of time. How is reliance on testimony that can't be backed up or verified an efficient use of anyone's time. If you rely on personal experience, all you will be doing is showing the atheist that you have no factual basis for your belief.
Use logic and research to your advantage.
Good luck with that! I'd love to see how a Christian can use logic to prove an illogical premise or research to prove events that were never recorded in history...
Realize that scientific theories are not evidence whether God exists or not.
Ah, but science has disproven certain 'acts of God', which brings the reliability of the Bible  very much into question.
Not listening to their views on science may cause an atheist to shut down to anything else you might say.
True, if the believer is just going to ignore everything I say, what's the point of continuing the conversation?
Be prepared to use reliable counter evidence. Their evidence is from respected scientists who portray their results in ways specifically conceived to disprove the existence of God, so use research from Christian "scientists" to rebut their arguments.
This is a joke, right? We don't sift through evidence that confirms what we already believe... that's what Christians do (though 'evidence' takes on a much more loose definition at that point). We follow that evidence where it leads. We have a question and see what the evidence tells us and then form an opinion. But this list would suggest that we start with the opinion and then plug in evidence that we like and then discard the rest. If this claim was true, then the whole fact that we say that evidence will change our mind wouldn't make any sense. So they are either failing to understand what is going on here or are openly calling us liars.

But on the Christian 'scientist' bit... Don't, just don't. Citing someone that hides behind a title while offering up bad science or unsubstantiated claims will not help your argument any. Actually, it may shatter any facade of credibility that he believer has left.
If you don't know the answer to something, simply say that God is responsible for it. "I don't know" is many more times preferable than crediting the creator.
Which is it? 'God did it' and 'I don't know' are two very different answers. The former is no more than an argument from ignorance, while the latter is honest and accurate.
Give practical advice from the Holy Book, such as from the book of Proverbs. Keep in mind that this may not be effective since arguing from the Bible expects him or her to acknowledge it. Don't forget to point out the Scripture itself; that way, he or she will know that it's not your own thinking.
What about the ridiculous advice and commands in the Bible? You can't just pick and choose what
you like and forget the rest. Sure, telling me to love my neighbor is all well and good, but that doesn't get rid of God ordering that a rape victim must marry their rapist. And as the author said, the atheist likely doesn't accept the Bible as true. So what is the point of this? Did I miss the bullet point that proves that the Bible is true?
Go slowly. Do not rush your friend until he is completely comfortable, accepts your inputs, and thinks of you as a "real friend" who happens to be religious.
That sounds nice enough, as long as you really are just that. But if the believer is just trying to weasel their way in just for the purpose of this conversion attempt, than that is just contemptible, dishonest and deceptive.
Let your friend try to convert you. He or she is likely curious about your beliefs, especially if they were raised as Christians. And if this person feels comfortable with you, this will lead to questioning and challenging you. Like a curious child, do you argue? Are you angry? Why? The less defensive you are, the more reasonable you seem. If you're having fun, the other person will, too. Just don't give in. After their arguments about any advantages of being atheist, say that their arguments are perfectly good points, but not enough to convert you to atheism.
Wow... So much for any possibility there was sincerity in the author's actions! They compare an atheist asking questions to a curious child. Talk about condescending. Then they suggest faking interest and to not give in to the atheist arguments no matter what. What if the arguments are convincing? What if they show that the Christian's claims are incorrect? If the goal here isn't convincing someone honestly toward the truth, than there are no good intentions involved. This list becomes instructions for a deceptive and dishonest recruitment drive and nothing more.
Invite the atheist to your place of worship. You shouldn't outright ask them to attend Sunday church, but a church-funded charity or meeting would be a more neutral place. If you invite an atheist to a religious function, tell him or her that it is a religious function. Don't try to trick someone into attending by pretending that it is not. Do this every so often and introduce your friend to other people who attend your church. Make him or her comfortable with the individuals who make up the church and religion.
When I was a believer I attended church plenty. And since I lost faith, I've been invited to church as well. Sometimes I accept, other times I decline. The closeness of the relationship and details of the function are the factors that I use to decide whether to attend or not. But what is the point of this exercise? Most atheist have been to church. Attending a service has never shaken my non-belief any, so this just seems futile.
Wait. See if this person develops any interest in attending your place of worship.
Um... Unless they are attending out of friendly courtesy because they think this fake friendship is real, they likely won't. But there's another thing to consider. Attending service does not mean they are a believer. There are atheists that are married to Christians who attend service as a family, yet retain their lack of belief.
Be persistent. Display patience and forgiveness when presented with new perspectives of beliefs. However, be understanding that your world view may not be foreign to an atheist.
So, basically pester them then? What could go wrong?
Even if your friend feels uncomfortable with it, pray to the Father in Jesus' name or pray to Jesus aloud. As your friend listens (or just allows you to pray), pray that God will bless your friend and draw closer. Remember, it is God's work to draw people in as they learn the Gospel, the Holy Spirit who cleanses them -- and Jesus who saves by grace, through faith, not of yourself, not by working, so no one may boast; it is the gift of God... as you are created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared for us to do..
Oh, and don't forget to be annoying about it! Look, I don't care if people pray for me. I don't care if they pray at all. But this sounds like it's just getting desperate. Additionally, if God draws people in as they learn the gospel, why is it that atheists tend to know it better that Christians and still don't
believe?
Don't try to prove the unprovable. A lot of atheistic arguments seem to be about creation and evolution, involving theories which nobody can prove because people were not around at the time to witness these things.
And the Christian  wasn't there when God supposedly created the universe or when Jesus supposedly rose from the dead. Here's the thing... You can prove that something happened without having to be present. The way you do that is through evidence. If you have the right evidence and enough of it, you can prove that something happened in the past. Evolution and the Big Bang have that evidence. The claims of Christianity do not.
Focus instead on what is known. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence about Jesus Christ:
Focus on what is known? Great idea! But evidence about Jesus? They do know that there isn't any, right?
From eyewitnesses who knew him (see the New Testament for these)
That's not evidence. The Bible makes the claim, it can't be used as the proof as well. The Bible no more proves Jesus than the comics prove the amazing Spider-Man.
From prophecies made hundreds of years before Christ about his life, ministry and death which are detailed throughout the Old Testament
A few problems here...

•Again, you can't use the Bible to prove the Bible.
•A book fulfilling the prophesies of the previous book isn't impressive at all. Ever hear of a sequel?
•The prophesies are vague.
•When the Christian Bible was put together they changed the order of the Jewish books to make them look more like they where pointing to Christ when they originally weren't.
From archaeology
There is no archeological evidence for Jesus though. They mention the Dead Sea scrolls. But they at best offer vague prophesy. They also claim the existence of non-Christian writing about Jesus during his lifetime. I googled for this supposed evidence as they suggested, but the results remained the same. There simply isn't contemporaneous evidence for Jesus' existence. And even if there was, it wouldn't necessarily prove he was the son of God.
There is no Roman historical document denying that the Romans had crucified Jesus
Well fancy that! There also is no Roman historical document denying that they had crucified Elvis Presley either. At least we know what really happened to him, right!
From your own experience or the experiences of people you know well
Sorry, but that's not evidence. For every Christian that makes these claims, there is a Muslim, Hindu, or Native American making an identical claim.
Explain how all these things bear witness of His reality and His mission as our Saviour. Research these things well, underlining pertinent verses in your scriptures so you can refer to them again, and writing down details and sources of the other evidences you find so that you can remind yourself of them and share copies of what you have written down with others. There is so much evidence that you will need to write it down rather than rely on just your memory!
And these are likely the things that science actually explains much better if I am to rely on what Christians tend to rely on with regard to this type of evidence. It all boils down to God of the gaps
and argument from ignorance.
Use examples of other people who were atheists or who needed proof about Christianity
So the Christian should find it compelling when I share stories of  Christians that became atheists then?
If you live in a particularly Christian country, then you are almost certainly not the first Christian to try to convert any atheist you meet. Most attempts before you were likely pushy and/or formulaic.
What part of following a deceptive to do list that tells you to be persistent isn't formulaic or pushy?
Some atheists are atheists because of their (many times justified) perception that Christians are hypocritical or evil.
Actually, very few atheist are atheists solely for such reasons.
In 1 John 1:5, it says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all". We know that darkness is the absence of light. Light often represents understanding, and darkness is lack of it. Light also is and transmits energy. God is all and in all, including in knowledge and energy, as well as any existential reality.
And Lucifer means 'light bearer'. So Does Satan bring about God, or are they one and the same?
One way to encourage someone to believe in God is to spend a lot of time in nature and appreciate the beauty of it. For example, go outside in night and see the stars and moon. It's hard to see such a majestic sight and not think who/what was the cause and made it all.
Unless you actually understand nature and science. Additionally, in my experience, atheists tend to appreciate and enjoy nature more than believers. Also, understanding this science can enhance your awe and appreciation of nature. I know that I love nature more than when I believed. Also, there's the fact that atheists are more likely to be conservationists than Christians are.
Never trick someone. Never lie.
Then why does this list suggest pretending to listen and pretending to be a good friend?
Do not assume that your friend actually believes in God. You have probably been told that atheists are angry at God or do not believe in him because they are disgusted by the things that are done in His name. Atheists are people who have concluded that Gods do not exist.
Almost! Not all atheists are totally convinced there is no God. Actually, most aren't. Atheism is more accurately described as a lack of belief in God, rather than active denial.
Avoid books written by atheists. They are biased against God, but instead try simply to present factual accounts.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to accidentally deconvert yourself or anything... Wait, they say that atheist books are biased against God, and instead present factual accounts. That would mean that the facts are also 'biased' against God. Sorry but if the facts are against you, you don't have much hope of converting an atheist.


Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Better than God

I happened across a video on YouTube by Wayne Philmore where he issues a challenge to atheists and non-Christians. It's odd that he says it's for everyone but Christians, yet mentions different sects of Christianity when he lists who his challenge is for.

Bow down to the intellectual prowess of
Wayne Philmore...
Because a commenter mentioned that they are morally superior to God he is challenging us to live 30 days by the standards of the Bible and God. And he says that if we are able to live 30 days by those standards we will prove that we are better than God. Huh? If we were to live exactly by God's standards, wouldn't we only be equal to God in that manner?

But here's the problem... His challenge doesn't even make any sense because the God of the Bible is a
terrible example for morals. I'd wager that most people in the world are morally superior to the god in the pages of the Bible. So if one is morally superior to God, how does agreeing to live by his low standards prove that you are better?

Actually, there's no need to take Wayne's challenge to prove that I am morally superior to his god. He mentions that you can't lie for those 30 days. Why not? God lied in the Bible, so that should be on the table. The Bible talks of handing over daughters to be raped as a perfectly fine thing, so why the hangup on sex?

The god of the Bible murdered nearly everyone on Earth and commanded genocides. I've killed no one, so I'd say that I'm far more moral in that regard. I would never consider torturing someone for all eternity simply because they didn't believe in me or worship me. I don't consider homosexuals to be sub-human. I wouldn't command that a rape victim marry their rapist. I can stand up tall and say that slavery is wrong, yet God condones it.

Following God's morals would mean needing to send a pack of bears to kill kids that made fun of someone for being bald. It would mean stoning children to death for being disobedient. It would mean killing anyone who has to work on a Sunday. It would mean that stealing a candy bar is no heavier a crime than triple homicide. Following God's lead would mean rewarding a serial killer with Heaven just because they believed, while burning a poor tribesman forever in Hell just because he never even hear of Christ.

The fact that I have never flooded the world and find the idea horrifying proves by itself that I am
morally superior to Wayne's god. So does the fact that I don't think people should own other people, and numerous other horrors that are in the Bible that I do not follow. Unlike the Christian god, I did not purposely create evil and then step back and refuse to do anything to abate suffering. I've never killed people just to win a bet. Unlike God, I can forgive people without first getting something in return.

Instead of demanding worship and dooming all to torture if they don't kiss my son's ass, I treat people with the kindness and respect that their actions and words show that they deserve. And even then, I often treat many people better than they actually deserve. As I see it I, and probably most everyone reading this, are morally superior to God. And It's not because we are so amazingly perfect, (though some will be more-so than others) but because God is such an incredibly poor standard to begin with.


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Why feel guilt?

A believer thinks he is saved by Christ but still feels guilty about his sins so he asks Billy Graham about it. And boy does Billy give a terrible answer this week...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I believe Jesus has forgiven me, but I still feel guilty. I haven’t committed any crimes or done anything seriously wrong, but I still feel burdened by this nagging feeling that I don’t measure up. What’s wrong? — M.M.
Guilt can be a good thing. I feel that the fact that MM feels guilty about that wrongs he's committed shows that he's human, but also that he has a conscience.
DEAR M.M.: Let me ask you a question: What has God done with your sins? Does he still hold them against you? Does he still look on you as a guilty, sinful person?

I suspect you know the answer (at least in your mind, if not in your emotions). The answer is simple: God has forgiven all your sins, if you have truly come to Christ and trusted him alone for your salvation.
So? He already said that he believes that Jesus has saved him. What's the point in reiterating that?
Look at that sentence again; God has forgiven all your sins, not just some of them!
To put it another way, when Christ died on the cross, all your sins were placed on him, and he took upon himself the judgment that you deserved. The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

Why, then, do we still feel guilty? One reason may be because we still cling to a particular sin, and we need to repent of it and seek God’s forgiveness and help.
What!? Maybe it's because he still did the thing that Jesus supposedly forgave him for. Something that probably hurt another to at least some degree. MM seems to be a moral person with a working conscience. Is Billy seriously suggesting that there's no need to feel bad about your wrongs if Jesus has forgiven you? If so, that's monstrous!
Or some people feel guilty because as children they were told they didn’t measure up to their parents’ expectations, and they have a hard time overcoming those feelings of failure.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpy
You mean like a God that Billy Graham says weekly will only accept perfection? A god that says that all are born dirty, broken and deserving of eternal hellfire. Someone like that?
But often we feel guilty simply because we refuse to believe what Christ has already done for us.
 Seriously? He's going to come right out and blame the 'victim'?
But if God has forgiven us, why should we still feel guilty? Fill your mind and heart with God’s promises of forgiveness. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Yup, it turns out that Billy was saying there is no reason to feel guilt about past wrongs if you are saved by Christ. How monstrous and immoral! You still hurt people, you still did wrong, yet Billy wants you to simply discard your conscience. Did you run a school bus full of kids into a ravine? No worries! Jesus forgives you, so why feel bad for those suffering families and all the tender young lives you cut short? How horrible of a person would you have to be in order to say that is something you shouldn't feel guilty about? That sounds like the behavior of a deranged sociopath to me!


-Brain Hulk

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpySer

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article1907282.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, September 12, 2014

As the world turns?

I had a believer tell me the other day about a story where a NASA scientist found that there was a missing day in all their models and that a believer of the staff declared that the missing day was from when God made the Sun stop in the sky in the book of Joshua. It was then claimed that science had proven this Bible story true. As you can guess, a brief look online found that the entire missing day story was a fabrication.

But the part that believers take this story literally always seem to miss, is that the 'Sun stopping in the sky' would actually be devastating. This is because the Sun doesn't actually stop, but the Earth. Earth spins at 1,674 km/hr (1,040 mph). The problem is that if the Earth were to stop (so that it looks like the Sun stopped) everyone and everything not securely bolted down would suddenly become a projectile flying at 1,674 km/hr. Obviously, this would be fatal, yet the armies in the Bible somehow didn't notice Earth suddenly standing on the brakes.


But that's not all. This dramatic halting of the Earth's rotation would cause massive tsunamis that would flood most of the Earth's landmasses. It would create sudden and massive storms and would also lead to the decay of the protection that keeps Earth from being terribly irradiated by the Sun.

Also, Joshua 10:13 states that not only did the Sun stop, but so did the Moon. That's a bit of a big deal because if the Moon were to stop it would come crashing into Earth. If you thought the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!

As you can see, a basic understanding of physics shows just how absurd that Bible story is, and dressing it up with some fabricated story doesn't help matters any. Remember kids, physics is fun!


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nothing after death

Here we have an example of Billy Graham responding irrationally to a rational opinion about death...
Q: I don't believe anything happens after we die. When we die, that's the end, and hopefully we've had a good time along the way. People who think we're going to go on living in some perfect world are just kidding themselves, in my opinion. -- C.F.P.
Sounds like CFP has it right to me. As far as all the evidence goes, there's no sign that there is anything other than this life.
A: Your letter saddened me because it means you're living only for this present world -- with all of its problems and uncertainties -- and you have nothing to look forward to. You're like those of whom the Bible speaks, "without hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).
Nothing to look forward to? Quite the contrary! There is almost always something to look forward to. Exactly what that is will differ from person to person. One thing I look forward to is growing old with my wonderful wife. I don't need a god to look forward to that, nor does CFP need a god in order to look forward to getting married, buying a house, becoming an actor, or whatever it is that lights his inner spark.
I can't help but wonder if you've really thought through what it means to believe that death is the end, and there is no Heaven or final judgment.
Yup, yup, and yup. There is nothing after death, no Heaven or final judgement. Death is it. You will simply cease to be. I didn't exist before my birth, and after my death I will no longer exist again and the atoms that make up my body will once more be recycled by the universe. 
If this is true, it means you will never again see those you once loved.
Sad but true... such is life. But it also gives us all the more reason to appreciate them and this finite time we'll have together all the more. Don't take your loved ones for granted under the assumption that you will have eternity to catch up. If you are wrong you risk not taking those relationships seriously and will never get a second chance to make it right.
If this is true, it means there is no final justice; the tyrants and abusers and murderers of this world will never have to pay for their sins.
Sins? No. Crimes? Yes, we do make them pay. That's what the legal system is for. And that's better than final judgement in two ways. Christianity proposes infinite punishment for a finite crime. That is unfair and immoral. Christian justice also isn't even justice. The tyrants, abusers, and murderers Billy mentions will not be judged at all if they are Christians. All their heinous crimes would simply be washed away and forgotten. What more, they will be granted eternal reward. That is not justice of any sort!
And if this is true, your life has no ultimate meaning or purpose, nor does it have any hope.
Not ultimate, no. But here's a shocker... I don't need to be told what my purpose is in order to have meaning in my life. Like every other atheist I know, my life has plenty of meaning. Be it loving my wife, learning new things, being brightened by our cats acting cute or silly, caring for my garden, touching the lives of those I know and care for...

There is purpose as well, there is the purpose of bringing my wife love, happiness, and security. There is the purpose of this blog... countering religious superstition with a healthy dose of logic. In short, I strive to try and help make this world a better place than it was when I entered it.

I have hope as well. Hope that religion will continue to fall in influence throughout my lifetime. Hope that science will solve the medical and other pressing problems of our age. Heck, I even hope that my Manchester United will return to being the best team in England, and even Europe.
But listen: This isn't true!
That's right, what Billy just said about nonbelievers isn't true...
This life isn't all there is; you and I were made for eternity.
That's a big claim. Does Billy have any proof that this is true, or anything more than just wishful thinking?
We know this because slightly over 2,000 years ago God came down from heaven in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He did this to make our salvation possible by opening heaven's door for every person who turns to Him in faith and trust.
This is something else that also hasn't been proven. So the proof that that this life isn't all there is, is a rumor?  Not very impressive...
I can't help but wonder, however, why you've come to this conclusion. Is it because you don't want God in your life?
Actually, it's probably because there is no proof that there is anything other than this life. Since this life is the only one we know we will have, it only makes logical sense to enjoy this life to it's fullest rather than shortchanging the only life we know we will get in the hopes of a second life that is far from guaranteed. To foolishly sacrifice something as precious as the only life you have on no more than a wish is something very sad indeed.


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Atheist lies!?

Over at Today Christian, they posted an article about the supposed lies of atheists. Admittedly, I'm not having very high hopes for the article since it's titled in the grammatically incorrect manner of '5 Lies Atheist Tell'. Who wants to be the one to tell that that the plural of atheist is not atheist? Let's get to this list shall we...

1. The Biggest One- THERE IS NO GOD.
They would have no problem telling a dying child there is NO God. Clearly they have no idea if there is or there isn’t. They assume their conclusion is the only right one.
There are so many problem here I'm not sure where to begin... most atheists don't even say that there is no god. So right of the bat, the title should now be '5 Things Some Atheists Say'. Similarly, most atheists wouldn't go up and tell a dying child that is a believer that there is no God. I'd rather the child die in that bubble of false comfort than to do as the author is suggesting.

They claim that atheists say that there is no God, but that simply isn't true. Most of us either say that there probably isn't a God, or that we simply don't believe in God. Few of us go as far as saying that there absolutely isn't a God.

But the biggest problem here is that what they are claiming here is impossible! They are claiming that atheists lie when saying there is no God. But a lie is willful and knowing deception. In order to lie about there not being a God, you must know there is a God, and say that there isn't. But the thing is that if you know there is a God, then you aren't an atheist at all! It's pretty embarrassing that their biggest point is self contradictory.

2. They say they have “Open Minds”.

We know that is not the case. When presented with spiritual issues they always dismiss it as fictitious, invalid or unsupported stories.
Sorry, but this isn't even close to true. I, and most atheists, do have an open mind. The reason we still disbelieve when a believer offers a story of a personal 'spiritual experience' is that they have simply failed to provide compelling evidence. The same is true of belief in prayer, etc. I am open to being wrong about prayer or the after-life, but until I see evidence that these things are true, I won't believe. This doesn't make me close-minded. My mind remains open to the possibility, I simply withhold judgement until belief can be justified.

I also find it rather ironic that a Christian page is accusing atheists of being close-minded. Every single time I have asked a Christian what could change their mind, they tell me 'nothing'. When I've asked if they think there is any chance they are wrong, the reply is always 'no'. If anyone is close-minded, it is the believer that refuses any possibility of fault. Not the atheist that simply wants proof.

3. Christianity teaches you to not think.
Atheist assume that the Bible soemhow [sic] teaches Christians to not use your brain. This is clearly not the case.

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6)
“For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Prov 8:11)
“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding” (Prov 23:23)
This sounds pretty anti-thinking to me...
Okay, there are some verses that seem to approve of knowledge. But that's the thing about the Bible... There are also verses that suggest the very opposite as well.
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.” – John 20: 29

“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” - 1 Corinthians 1:27
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 2:5
So we have a book that sends some very mixes messages. But then lets remember how many times a
Christian  has said that if there is a conflict between the Bible and science, that they must reject the science in favor of the Bible. Obviously not all Christians are this way, but science denial is pretty anti-thinking to me. Allowing thinking, so long as it's only within the confines of the Bible is still a restriction on thinking.

4. Science exists despite religion.
Truth: Science exists specifically because of religion. The scientific method comes from studying philosophy and Newtonian physics comes from studying astronomy. Religion caused people to study both philosophy and astronomy.
This one actually made me laugh. Science is not a product of religion. Especially Christianity. Science is far, far older than Christianity, and can be traced back to as far back as mankind has ever had questions and tried to find out the answers. Sure science now is more advanced, but science is and always has been a product of curiosity. Curiosity that religion has many a time tried to extinguish. Just look at the church's treatment of Galileo.

5. They Don’t Care If There Is Or Isn’t A God.
Deep down inside of everyone’s heart there is a missing element that is always questioning, searching and longing to find God. They may try to ignore it but it still remains there.
Talk about absurd! I'd say that I care very much about the question of if there is a God or not. That's why we ask the question in the first place. That's why we do the research, why we ask the hard questions. If there is a God, I certainly want to know, so I'd say that the truth is actually the opposite of what Today Christian claims.

As is usually the case, we find another Christian list about atheists to be wholly flawed and false. Why am I not surprised that this one is no different...


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Moved by a movie?

Wonderful... The new Left Behind movie isn't out until October 3rd, but some are already calling for people to go see it en masse. One of those promoting the film is a star (and I use that term very loosely) of the annoyingly moronic show Duck Dynasty. Willie Robertson is actually very excited for you to go see this movie, and even requests you take along members from a certain group...
Do you think I should tell him that his US flag bandana is
actually a violation of the United States Flag Code?
Let’s all make sure we bring some friends and family to see this movie – people who need to see to believe. Opening the door to unbelievers has never been this fun!
So he wants someone to take someone like me along to see this movie? Okay I guess... I mean, that's the only way I'll ever see it since I'm not going to waste my money on it. But why would he want atheists to go see a movie about something we don't even believe is going to happen?
Like most Christians, my family and I can truly say that we’re excited about the soon return of Jesus,...And I’m sure, if you’ve been watching the news lately, you know that that return could be any day from now.
Yup, any day now... Just like Christians have been saying for 2000 years. By the way, is anyone else disturbed that he's looking forward to the end of the world way too much?
But what about those who may not even know about it? People who don’t even know what’s at stake?
What about all the people in America that have never heard of the Christian rapture? Are there any!? I would certainly say that the vast majority of Americans are very much aware of what Christianity claims. But seeing how I've already lived through 47 end-times predictions, I'm not exactly worried...
Wait... This has Nicolas Cage in it? Maybe
it will be as persuasive as Ghost Rider.
After that I sold my soul to the Devil so
I could ride a demon motorcycle and have
a flaming skull for a head!
Take then to see this film, and naturally they’ll convert and be a-OK. It’s a warning to those, if it happened today, they’d be left behind,...And I believe people are going to make that life-changing decision to follow Christ on the way home from the theater on Oct. 3.
What!? Mr. Duck Impersonator (isn't that kind of like bearing false witness?) somehow equates people that need to see + seeing a movie = believer in Christ? You have got to be joking! Sorry, but watching a fictional movie is not seeing proof or evidence of any kind. Yes watching this movie is sure to make me follow Christ...

Why I remember how after watching Jurassic Park I went out and cloned a T-Rex. Then I watched Dracula and started believing in vampires. Then the fond memories of Harry Potter showing me that dragons are real and turning me into a boy wizard. And how could I ever forget that time I saw Narnia and proceed to step trough a magical wardrobe that was actually a doorway to another world!


-Brain Hulk

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