Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God proven in three minutes?

Josh Feuerstein is back. As you may remember, he's best known for knowing absolutely nothing about evolution. Well, this time he claims that he will prove that God exists in just three minutes. Lets just see about that...
...I can see a painting and know that there was a painter. I don't need to see the painter to know there is one. If I am hunting and see droppings in the woods, I know they were left by an animal. I know these things exist because of the evidence left behind. So when I look at human beings and creation, I know that there has to be a creator.
Leading with this argument isn't a good start. Yes, we know that a painting needed to be painted because we know that paintings don't just suddenly pop into existence. Actually, the very definition of a painting necessitates it's creation by a painter. The same is true of animal droppings. The function of an animal's digestive system is required to yield animal droppings.

But you can't just assert that the Earth and everything on it is a creation that required a sentient guiding hand in it's creation. You can not just claim that the Earth is a creation, therefor it needs a creator, without first actually showing that it is a 'creation' at all. Add to that the scientific models and evidence that have shown that no divine authorship was needed, and the entire argument is shot. Next!
We believe in all kind of things we can't see. We believe in heat, but we can't see it. We can't see gravity. We believe in gravity because we have felt it. The same way the millions and billions have felt God.
Technically you can see a representation of heat with a thermal camera, but lets get to the point of this. We can't see heat or gravity, but they are distinct from God in that they have been measured, tested and understood. Maybe we can not see them with out naked eye, but we can and have proven their existence. God? Not so much...

And so what if a lot of people believe in the Christian god? A lot of people believe the Hindu gods as well. Is Josh suggesting that they exist as well? A lot of people also once thought that the Sun orbited the Earth, and that the Earth was flat. If a billion people believe a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing. What I care about is what is provable.
And atheist doesn't poses the totality of truth, so how can they say that God doesn't exist?
Most of us don't claim to know it all, or know for a fact that God doesn't exist. The majority of atheists (myself included) would rather say that they simply don't believe in God, or that his existence is highly unlikely. Not that we are 100% certain he doesn't exist.

My experiences are enough to prove to me that he does exist.
And a Hindu's experiences are enough to prove to them that Krishna exists, and a Buddhist's experiences are enough to prove to them that the Buddha and Nirvana exist. Which part of this is supposed to apply to me though?
There's a billion people around the world that would agree with me that they've experienced  his love, etc...
Sorry, but an argumentum ad populum won't work on me. But you know what Josh, a billion people will also agree to have experienced the Hindu gods. Are they true as well?
Remember, believers in EVERY religion claim
the same sincerity and experiences. They can't all
be right, but they can all be wrong.
I challenge you to simply ask God to show himself to you. I promise that it will change your life the same way it changed mine. 

Apparently Josh is unaware that most atheists were previously believers. I know I was. According to Josh, what I thought and thought I felt should have proved God to me beyond a shadow of a doubt. As a believer, I never felt something that was so obvious and life changing as Josh is stating. I did believe, and thought I had it figured out, but eventually lost belief anyway. But what the hell, in the interest of science, I will take his challenge and ask God to show himself to me...

...and here we are a few hours later, and nothing. Sorry, but Josh fails once more. He claims to prove
God in three minutes, and doesn't even come close. So much for that good old Christian honesty...

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A republican proves God?

Oh my... When I saw the blurb claiming that a republican congressman can prove that God exists with a simple equation, I was admittedly skeptical. When I read the article though...
A Republican congressman has apparently figured out the solution to the age-old philosophical question mankind has been trying to figure out for a very long time.
Really?  I'm all ears.
Proving God exists or does not exist has been a difficult endeavour for many, but Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) gave it a try at a prayer rally held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Gohmert? I don't have a good feeling about this already... Whenever I hear his name, I instantly think of TV's hapless Gomer Pyle.
“Bob Murphey used to say, ‘You know, I feel so bad for atheists, I do,’” Gohmert said of the country music singer at the “Celebrate America” event. “‘Think about it, no matter how smart they think they are, an atheist has to admit that he believes the equation: nobody plus nothing equals everything.’”

He continued: “How embarrassing for an intellectual to have to say ‘yeah, I believe that. Nobody plus nothing equals everything.’ Well, you couldn’t get everything unless there was something that was the creator of everything. And that’s the Lord we know.”

Your move, atheists.
Sigh... nothing + nobody = everything? Talk about an old and terrible argument. Fist off, the argument shows a lack of understanding of what an atheist even is. An atheist at it's simplest is someone who lacks a belief in gods. Where everything came from is a different question. Sure, most atheist accept the Big Bang theory, but not all. An atheist is free to think that some advanced alien race created us, or that our universe is just part of an advanced computer simulation where we are but digital characters convinced we are biological. But no matter what they think about the origins of the cosmos or life, if they don't believe in God, the are an atheist.

Another problem is that the believer has the same problem with their equation that they think atheists have. They think God created everything, so what about nothing + nobody = God. They want me to account for where the universe came from (and we have parts of that figured out already), while they still have to account for where God came from. A believer may just claim that he always existed, but that's a non-answer. If a complex God could just always exist, why couldn't a comparatively simple universe or it's building blocks simply always exist instead?

Despite Gohmert's opinion, there's nothing embarrassing about lacking faith in God. Actually, he should be the one embarrassed. He doesn't realize his equation is old, terrible and refuted. He doesn't even know an accurate description of atheism. And he's the one following a religion that has consistently been on the wrong side of history and science.

And what's with the jump at the end that the creator god is the Christian god? Even if his equation did prove what he is claiming it does, he's still left with all the work to do as to which god is the one that did it all.

Once again, we're left with an article who's headline is all flash, and the body is no substance. But if you can prove that God is real, I'll listen. Your move Louie...

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Female Thor?

First it was the Human Torch, now the mighty Thor is embroiled in controversy...

Marvel took to The View of all places to make this announcement:
Thor concept art courtesy of Marvel Comics.
It’s a huge day in the Marvel Universe. Thor, the God of Thunder, he messed up, and he’s no longer worthy to Mjolnir. For the first time in history, that hammer is being held by a woman. That’s right. Thor is a woman!

This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe.

But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before. The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!
That's right, Thor is now a woman!

As you might have guessed, this has ruffled more than a few feathers. Some are claiming that Marvel is trying to change Norse mythology. An odd statement seeing how the Thor in the comics has very little in common with the 'real' god of thunder to begin with. Secret identity as a human, powers can be transferred, others can become Thor... Also, in Norse mythology Sif is Thor's wife, but in the comics and movies, Jane Foster is his love interest.

In mythology, Thor is Thor. But in the comics, there have been a few to hold the title.

• Dr. Donald Blake (turns out to be the actual Thor sent to Earth)
• Roger 'Red' Norvell
• Beta Ray Bill
• Eric Masterson
• Dargo Ktor

Other complaints have been how this will effect the movies. I'd imagine it wouldn't effect them at all since the movies have not been following the comics. In the movies Thor always knows he is Thor and lives in Asgard. In the comics he was sent to Earth, didn't know he was Thor, and lived on Earth secretly.

And then of course there's the fact that Thor is now a woman... But is that really a big deal? There have been Thor themed female characters before, and let's not forget the inscription Marvel put on Mjolnir.
Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.
So if the hammer deems you worthy, you hold it and in turn will posses the powers of Thor.

Other Characters (other than those that actually became Thor) to have been worthy of holding Mjolnir include:

So when this was Thor, it was just fine. And let's not forget that
time he was a frog. But a woman? That's just too much! Nope,
that doesn't sound misogynistic at all...
• Captain America
• Throg
• Thor 'clone'
• Ragnarok
• Hulk
• Storm
• Rouge
• Thunderstrike
• Odin
• Loki
• Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara)
• Conan
• Deadpool
• Superman
• Wonder Woman
• and others...

So given that Thor's powers can be transferred as such, that those powers have been wielded by women before, and that there have been multiple 'Thors', is the next Thor being a woman really the rule breaker travesty that some are making it out to be? No, not at all. It fits with the Marvel character's mythos and doesn't rewrite the past at all.

Who knows, maybe she will turn out to be the original Thor's daughter or sister and they can now fight side-by-side. She with Mjlnor and, he with the battle ax Jarnbjorn.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, July 18, 2014

What we have here, is a lack of understanding

What's the proper course of action when you don't understand something? Should you research and study it? Nope, just ask Billy Graham!
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I believe in God because I don’t think it’s logical to think this universe just happened. But where does Jesus fit into the picture? I apologize for asking what’s probably a simple question, but I didn’t grow up in a church-going family. — H.R.
Sorry HR, this isn't so much an easy question so much as a painfully sad one. What HR fails to realize is that his thinking it isn't logical is meaningless when compared to the facts and evidence that it is...
DEAR H.R.: Don’t apologize; I’m thankful you want to learn about God! As I’ve often said, the person who’s in the greatest danger spiritually is the one who never thinks about God or wants anything to do with Him.
So... Billy is in terrible danger with Thor then?
You’re right; it’s not logical to think that the universe just “happened.” Whether we look into the heavens through a telescope or examine a droplet of blood through a microscope, we see incredible beauty and complexity that could only come from the hand of an all-wise and all-powerful Creator. As the Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
Billy, Billy, Billy... A lack of understanding about cosmology, physics, evolution, and the scientific process in general is not proof of a creation. It's only proof that you ignore or didn't bother to try and learn the explanations that are actually backed up by cold hard facts.
But looking only at the created world doesn’t tell us everything we need to know.
Prove that it's even a creation at all please...
For example, it doesn’t tell us if God loves us and cares about us. 
Don't worry, the Bible very clearly shows that he doesn't.
Nor does it tell us how we ought to live. 
We figured that one out on our own too. Social creatures and all that...
Most of all, it doesn’t tell us what we ought to do about the sense of sin and guilt we all feel in our hearts.
We sorted that one out too. Empathy is pretty damn powerful. Plus the previous one funnels in here as well.
And this is why Jesus Christ came into the world. He was God in human form, and He came to demonstrate God’s love to us. He did this by giving His life for us, so we could be forgiven of our sins and go to be with Him in heaven forever.
Yes, we've all heard this before. But I still want to know... Why the huge production for something that wasn't even necessary?
God will accept you just as you are, and you can begin your journey of faith by asking Christ to come into your heart today. Your life will never be the same.
You see... That's the thing. He doesn't take you as you are.  He requires you to conform to one demand (if not more) otherwise he doesn't give a toss and sends you to hell. That doesn't sound very loving and accepting to me.

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

God's forgiveness

Ah, once more Billy Graham picks a letter from someone wanting to know if there is hope for them after all their 'sins'...
Q: I know God can do anything He wants to, which means that if He wanted to, He could even forgive me for all the bad things I've done. But I could never forgive myself. I know I've hurt a lot of people, and I feel so ashamed and guilty. Is there any hope for me?
It's amazing just how many Christians don't seem to know very much about Christianity...
A: The most important thing you need to know is that God not only could forgive you - but He wants to! He loves you and doesn't want you to go through life carrying a burden of guilt and shame.
Oh, so he wants to forgive? Okay I think we're done here. Let's pack it up and go...
That's why God has done everything possible to make your forgiveness a reality.
Wait... He wants to forgive, and has done everything possible to make that happen, so he just forgives right? I mean, that really is all it takes.
Yes, you have sinned; you've sinned against others, and most of all you've sinned against God. We often downplay the seriousness of sin, but sin is serious, because it cuts us off from others and from God. And we all are guilty, whether we feel it or not. The Bible warns, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).
Wait, wait, wait... How can sin or anything cut someone off from God. He's supposed to be all-powerful for crying out loud!
But God has provided the way for us to be forgiven...
By, I don't know... Maybe just forgiving people who are genuinely sorry, good, or have learned their lesson?
...and that way is Jesus Christ. He was without sin, for He was God, but on the cross all our sins were placed on Him, and He took upon Himself the judgment you and I deserve. Now we can be forgiven - freely and fully - by putting our faith and trust in Him. Why not ask Him to forgive you today?
After-all, he was a Christian.
Son of a... What happened to wanting to forgive? If he's requiring the acceptance of a barbaric, unnecessary and immoral human sacrifice (or anything really) in order to gain forgiveness he isn't forgiving because he wants to, but because you payed him to. That's more black-mail than forgiveness. If someone truly wants to forgive someone, there is no need of any such requirement.
Then ask God to help you forgive yourself. You can't forget what you've done, but if God has taken away your sins, why act as if they were still there? And if you need to ask others to forgive you, let them know you now belong to Christ, and you're sorry for what you've done and you hope they'll forgive you.
Yeah... That's real great advice. Why act like your sin is still there if God has forgiven you? Is Billy blind to the obvious implications? Oh, you just robbed and shot a pregnant woman? No worries, God forgave you so there's no need to stress about it. In fact, do it again tomorrow if you want... you're in good with the big guy.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I did it my way

Here's one of the rare occasions when a non-Christian writes Billy Graham. But don't worry, he still answers as poorly as usual...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My favorite song is the one that says, “I did it my way,” because that’s what I’ve always done. I’m even going to have it put on my tombstone. I’m sorry if it offends you, but I don’t need God or a bunch of religious fanatics telling me what to do. What’s wrong with that? — J.N.
Wow, Frank Sinatra. Either JN just shattered the common misconception that atheists are all young teens or twenty-somethings,  or he could be like me... A member of one of the younger generations that is aware or a wide span of music. What's wrong with having that inscription on a tombstone? Nothing! Actually, for a song about a life fully and well lived, I'd say it's appropriate. What's wrong with living ones life that way? The answer is again, nothing. Just live your life, your way (so long as it doesn't harm another in any way) and there's no problem at all.

DEAR J.N.: Your comments don’t offend me, but they do sadden me very deeply, because they suggest you’ve completely closed your mind to the possibility that you might be wrong.
Does it though? If JN is anything like me (and most non-believers are), his mind may be quite open to that possibility. Prove we're wrong and we'll change our mind. But regular readings of Billy's columns make it pretty clear that his mind is completely closed to the possibility that he could be wrong. So careful with the hypocrisy!
Although you may sneer at it, the Bible’s warning is very clear: “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed — without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1).
So? Why should I care about a threat from a  terribly shaky source? He doesn't pay any mind to any threats in the Qur'an, so why should I lend any extra credence to a source that is just as unfounded?
I can’t help but wonder why you’ve turned your back on God and insisted on going your own way in life. Perhaps you rejected your parents’ faith, or perhaps you had a bad experience with a church when you were younger.

Read more here:
 Or maybe it's the lack of evidence that any religion's claims are true. Ever consider that one Billy?
But perhaps the real reason is that you want to be free to do anything you want to do, and you know God might make you stop. Whatever it is, I urge you to face it honestly and ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk of losing your soul.
Wait... Is Billy suggesting that we don't believe because we just want to be wild and crazy sinners? I don't live such a life, so so much for that. It also makes one wonder if his religion is the only thing keeping Billy moral. Sorry, but those that are good only under an ever-present threat are morally inferior to those that are good for the sake of being good.
The tragedy is that the more we resist God, the less we’re able to hear his voice.
 So much for being all-powerful...
God loves you, and he’ll forgive you and welcome you into his family until you draw your last breath. But if you insist on going your own way, he’ll let you until it’s too late.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster loves you Billy. He boiled for your sins but still loves you. He will allow you to go of your foolish path though, even if you ignore the FSM until it's too late.
I challenge you to examine Jesus Christ as he is found in the pages of the New Testament. Don’t gamble with your soul by dismissing him or taking him lightly. The Bible says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4).
And I challenge Billy to look at every other religion. They all make grand claims, threats and promises. Their believers believe them to be true just as strongly as a Christian believes in their religion. But at the end of the day none of them, Christianity included, are supported by evidence. Maybe once Billy realizes that he won't offer such meaningless replies to non-believers, and instead try to actually answer our queries in a meaningful way.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What would you tell an atheist?

Over at CrossMap, Carol Round wrote a piece asking the question, "What would you tell an atheist if he wanted concrete evidence before he would believe in our Creator God?"
How do you explain to a nonbeliever that God really does exist? When I asked my Facebook friends, I received some incredible responses. While some said they'd share their personal testimony, others mentioned Bible verses they'd share. 
Well, what would she and her readers tell an atheist like me? Lets take a look...
One friend said, "One could point out the fact the Bible isn't just a's a collection of books, written by different people, most of whom didn't even know each other, or maybe not even ever hearing of each other, and how all those books are interrelated and back each other up. All the 'coincidences' in the Bible, and in nature itself, can't just be chalked up to coincidence!
How hard is it to understand that the books of the Bible were first legends that were passed by word of mouth. Over time, different people wrote them down. Additionally, later works were simply building on their predecessors. Just take a look at any popular TV, book, movie, or video game franchise. The later offerings tend to add to and to some degree, match up with the story/mythos of the previous incarnations. Then there is the fan art and fan fictions...

People from far and wide that have never met build on the story, take it in their own direction, finish what the original creators never got around to, obsessively make their companion story fit in with cannon, etc. How is that any different? Does the saturation of Legend of Zelda, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Batman, or Sailor Moon official and fan material make all these properties real and believable as well?

And if the Bible is supposed to be too good to be just a 'coincidence', then why is it chock-full of the kind of contradictions you'd expect from an old legend that was built on by various peoples?
In addition, of course, are all the millions of personal testimonies. I heard a saying once, 'A sinner with an argument is no match for a Christian with an experience!'"
But what about the personal experiences of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus... even Scientologists? They believe just as strongly in their experiences as a Christian believes in their own. Also, how is someone else's personal experience relevant to me? If the idea is to give me a reason to believe, the feeling someone else gets when they talk to their god simply isn't going to cut it.
A pastor friend on Facebook shared this, "For me, I would have to have proof God doesn't exist.
So the pastors reply is to flippantly declare that the impossible must be done? Lets be clear here, to 100% prove the non-existance of anything is impossible. Be it God, the tooth fairy, Santa, honest politicians, or even a tap-dancing yellow jellybean called Fred that sings the blues. Quite often, the closest you can get to proving something doesn't exist is 99.999...%. But you can never get to 100% unless it is defined in a way that is self refuting.

But while it is impossible to prove 100% that something doesn't exist, it is quite easy to show that something does... well, so long as it actually does exist. The burden of proof falls on the one making the positive claim. That's why the onus is on the believer to show there is a God, and not the non-believer to proof there isn't.
Quoting scripture to them won't work, because they don't believe in the Bible.
Oh, believe me... Most Christians haven't gotten that memo. You might as well quote Star Trek to a Star Wars fan. But there's another level. Quoting the Bible to prove the Bible is circular reasoning, no better than citing that the Sixth Sense proves that Bruce Willis actually is a child therapist ghost.
Seeing comes from faith. It's not up to us to prove there's a God, that's God's job. We are to lead by example, show others the way to Christ, and the Holy Spirit will convict and penetrate the depths of the heart."
If that's the case, God is doing a terrible job. And so what if a Christian leads by example to show the way to Christ? What about the Buddhist that leads by example to show the way to the Buddha and eventually to Nirvana? Yes, sometimes beliefs (of many types) can inspire people to do good. But none of that actually takes a single step in the direction of proving that deity to be actually existent.
Another friend added, "God is like the wind. You can feel it. You know it's there. You just can't see the actual wind. You can see stuff blowing, but not the wind itself. You can't see God, but you can feel Him. You can see the evidence of things He has done and how He works in our lives, but you can't see Him. You just go by faith that He is there."
Watch out guys, we've got someone parroting an old and terrible analogy over here! No, we can't actually see the wind, but we understand it, we know how it works, we can measure it, we can prove it's 'existence'. But we have yet to do any of these things for God. Sure, believers like to claim that God did this or that, but these are only claims. One can say that God got them a promotion or brought them peace, but to date it has never actually been proven that these things attributed to God, were actually done by God. If they were, there would be no reason for this article, because then most atheists would no longer be atheists and would have the evidence we're asking for.

Also, why not just follow Allah by faith? After all, go to him in faith, and you will find that he is there...
Another friend mentioned Jeremiah 29:13. Without telling him it was scripture, I replied once again to the atheist, "If you seek Him wholeheartedly, you will find Him."
Yeah... No. Didn't work. I, like most atheist, was a believer before losing faith. I sought God, believed in him, and yet I still lost faith. Ironically, my deconversion happened while trying to back up and prove my faith. Further more, some atheists were Christian missionaries, and even clergy (and studying to be clergy). Instead of trying to pass off a thinly veiled no true Scotsman argument, how about actually trying to offer some evidence?

But what about the flip side? I could just as easily tell the Christian that if they seek Thor
wholeheartedly, they will find him. If they don't believe in Thor, the problem is them. They either aren't seeking him hard enough and with all their heart, or they just don't want to believe in the glorious god of thunder.

And... That was it. When asked what they would say to an atheist asking for evidence, a grand total of zero offered any evidence. If you ask me, that stunning vacancy it a very telling sign that they quite simply don't have any.

-Brain Hulk

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