What drives young Christians to Atheism? Does God Believe in Atheists?

This has been something that has bothered me for some time now. I have received a few comments on my blog and I gather from reading a few other atheists’ blogs the same pattern Faithseems to appear. They all seem to point in one and the same direction: bad experience in a church.

This is completely understandable and very hard to excuse. I am often embarrassed when an atheist points out what is going on in our churches. (I say ‘ours’ with a great deal of liberalism.) Despite numerous warnings from the Bible that we should not give others any excuse to blaspheme on God’s name, today’s Church can be as ignorant today as it has been in the previous 500 years or at least that is what it looks like.

The question that one would have to ask himself therefore, is what is driving us to make our choices, and why do I do what I do.

One will come up against people from time to time who may have studied theology but consequently decided that Christianity is wrong or perhaps a mother who was married to a minister then decides that her treatment was unacceptable and she becomes an atheist.  A father whose child was hurt despite him praying for him/her till the early hours of the morning decides that as he did not receive an answer to his prayers, feels that he is right to conclude that there is no God. Perhaps a son decided that his parents were superstitious and ignorant of modern facts which are readily available and this ignorance will eventually drive him towards atheism. A former minister is heart-broken when his favourite football club is killed in an aeroplane crash and goes on to vent his anger at God and the church, eventually concluding that there cannot be a God who would allow this to happen.

Is there a common issue to drive people away from Christ?

What is absolutely essential to understand is what all these converts to atheism have in common with each other and are they justified in thinking this way?

When you are emotionally hurt, when your Christian friends ignore your plea for help or perhaps the teaching that you receive in your church is of a significant substandard, are we then not right to turn against such ideology? We can’t help but be emotional, after all this is how God created us to be, God himself seems to get angry, sad, happy etc.

I remember being told as a young child to calm down and then think what I want to do, to allow emotions to be linked to my actions and reasoning. This can be at times a very difficult task especially if you are in the spotlight, surrounded by friends who may be of a significantly different religious persuasion from yourself. We should never forget that in the world we live there will always be “Action and reaction to the original action”, but are we justified to abandon our previous convictions, simply because someone else does not like our faith?

After all doesn’t Apostle Paul say that we should mature in our understanding? See

1Co 13:11When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I reasoned as an infant. But when I became a man, I did away with the things of an infant.

We all like to fit in, to be accepted and to be part of a group. Every time you go to a sports game, every time you go to a concert, you are part of a group of people who  may have a similar taste to you and whom you would hope share a similar ideology. It is only natural that at every possible opportunity we would try to reduce the chance of looking out of place and different from our social group, especially if others have  names for such “unreasonable” people.

Jesus puts it like this in Matthew 5

Mat 5:11 Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  13 You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavour, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men.  14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Christians are often accused of having a one-sided view only and that they should often consider what others are saying about their faith. Granted this is exactly what should happen but does this mean that we should change our mind at the very first hurdle we come up against?

I have often argued that Christians simply cannot afford to be lazy and content with their little lives and ignore all the objections. In fact, in my experience all people of faith whom I really admire have come back from a struggle of scepticism and have overcome all internal objections. They may not have all the answers and indeed some of the answers they may have may not necessarily be my first choice but what is important is that adversity brings strength.

Listen to how Jesus comforts Peter when he knows that his time of testing is coming.

Luke 22:31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not. And when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

So why do we have such limited and a poor quality of resources which are often pushed ahead of some really amazing material?

Why is there such low appreciation in our churches of the good solid evidence that we could so powerfully use to show God’s love for us and his desire to engage all without exception?

1Peter 3:15  but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fear;

If only we would listen to the word of God during our time as Christians then maybe, just maybe, there would be fewer who decide to walk away. However, note that God does not give up, even during the time of open rebellion by Israel against God, he again and again calls them back. We are talking of a seriously loving and concerned father, unlike many of our ministers who will never offer anyone a second chance. Why is that I wonder?

So we should encourage all who have questions not to hide but to ask; we should share our own struggle and how God answered and supported our time of wondering.

God is not going to get offended if you ask a difficult question; our doubts can often serve as a good time to grow away from childish beliefs and it is right that we should move on.

1Co 3:1 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able to bear it; nor are you able even now.

Finally, can we blame God for the fact that we have rejected his teaching and are turning to atheism due to the actions and infantile teaching of some churches? The answer is “no”. We have an obligation to find it out for ourselves. Every time a Born Again Atheist tells me that he chooses to use reason and logic, we have every right to fire the same question back at them. Why did they not use their discernment during their time as Christians rather than just accept any old rubbish.

This is nothing unusual. We have always had people who will wander away and sometimes this may result in people coming back to God as in my case. At other times people will refuse permanently to be challenged on their assumptions but we should remember one thing: the work of conversion is not our work. We are called to preach and teach not convert; this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 3:6  I (Apostle Paul) have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

And finally, one could not possible complete this assessment without mentioning the book of Jude

Jud 1:20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, eagerly awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life. 22 But pity some, making distinction. 23  But save others with fear, snatching them out of the fire; hating even the garment having been stained from the flesh. 24 Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy; 25  to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty and might and authority, even now and forever. Amen.

Jud 1:3  Having made all haste to write to you about the common salvation, beloved, I had need to write to you to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

So let me reiterate here yet again, this is not a new trend, and neither are we left without any resources. Accept the challenge. No, I will change that to embrace the challenge. Love God and trust his love for you. This does not mean that we can treat him as some kind of cosmic vending machine by only submitting our requests and never wanting to build our relationship with him.

However, if your faith is in the person, then you will realise that he is the one who gives us strength to cope with all kinds of things that get thrown our way. If you are still wandering and if you are reading this then you have access to the internet. Therefore, if this is true you at least have one last option left to you: either talk to me here or if you check my links to other blogs check them out to see what they say.

All our decisions should be informed and when we use emotional outbursts to say that “we only use reason” I would ask you to examine your own reply. We can fool the man but we will never fool God; he knows our every thought, and there will come a time when we will have to explain our decision to him.

Bob Dylan was right when he sang about our decision making limits, “You are going to have to serve somebody, it may be the Lord or it may be the Devil but you are going to have to serve somebody”.

Kind regards

Defend the word

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21 Responses to What drives young Christians to Atheism? Does God Believe in Atheists?

  1. Brent Rasmussen says:

    > Is there a common issue to drive people
    > away from Christ?

    Well, the whole “non existence” thing is sort of tough to get around. 🙂

    Seriously though, the one common theme I hear from my fellow atheists is “lack of evidence”. There is no real evidence that your god ever even existed at all. There are much-translated third-hand anecdotal oral traditions assembled by committee into a collection of books more than a thousand years ago – but that is in no way, shape, or form evidence in any real sense.

    The “they must have been hurt by the church” argument is nothing but a red herring in my opinion. Self-deception on your part (“They must have been so hurt by the church!”) does not correlate to actual reality in any significant fashion.

    The sooner you folks realize this, the better. Most of us were never “hurt by the church”. Most of us simply looked at the evidence, and found it severely lacking. Do you think that I wanted to alienate myself from 90% of the population of the planet? Please.

    I just could not keep lying to myself about it.

    Look – lie to your enemies, lie to your friends and family if you have to, but never, ever lie to yourself. Look at the actual evidence – many, many folks have done it before you – and then look into your own head and quit lying to yourself. Self-deception is the one thing you have to be constantly on guard for – because us humans rationalize things so easily.

    Wake up, my friend.

  2. Brent Rasmussen says:

    Well, darn it. I just looked at the rest of your site and realized I am tilting at windmills.

    *sigh*

    I wish you a happy life, Mr. “Defend The Word”.

  3. “Well, the whole “non existence” thing is sort of tough to get around.”

    You being the sceptic, should you not have the evidence provided before making such claim?

    “Seriously though, the one common theme I hear from my fellow atheists is “lack of evidence”. There is no real evidence that your god ever even existed at all. There are much-translated third-hand anecdotal oral traditions assembled by committee into a collection of books more than a thousand years ago – but that is in no way, shape, or form evidence in any real sense.”

    Let me first agree with you on the point that there are plenty of churches that will not bother with the evidence. However I would argue that these are some big claims that you make here, but I would love to find one serious historian making such claims, and then being accepted by his peers. Are none of the posts here related to the inception of the Bible and its’ historical and textual quality ever going to change your mind? I guess not, but note that this is a choice and not really evidence based decision.

    “The “they must have been hurt by the church” argument is nothing but a red herring in my opinion. Self-deception on your part (“They must have been so hurt by the church!”) does not correlate to actual reality in any significant fashion.”

    I just went to your blog and first thing I see is a story about church organisation with the illegal baptism of youth. This kind of proves my point, that both sides are to be blamed equally and I would argue based on that article that you are not too happy about it.

    Otherwise why do you find so many atheistic blogs speeding hatred of ignorant Christians, fallacy of this kind of argument is that you may assume that all Christians are the same, which is incorrect.

    “The sooner you folks realize this, the better. Most of us were never “hurt by the church”. Most of us simply looked at the evidence, and found it severely lacking. Do you think that I wanted to alienate myself from 90% of the population of the planet? Please.”

    From where I stand in the UK the stats are completely reversed so I could argue exactly the same, but neither of us should use that as an excuse. On the issue of evidence; I would guess that by your subsequent comment on my blog, that none of the “Crazy Christians” could possibly posses the answer. Note that this could be perceived by some as sleep-walking into one dimensional world view.

    “I just could not keep lying to myself about it.”

    “Look – lie to your enemies, lie to your friends and family if you have to, but never, ever lie to yourself. Look at the actual evidence – many, many folks have done it before you – and then look into your own head and quit lying to yourself. Self-deception is the one thing you have to be constantly on guard for – because us humans rationalize things so easily.”

    You bring some very good points here but these are not the answers, they only bring more questions to which I don’t see any atheist giving a satisfactory answer.

    “Wake up, my friend.”

    Thanks for your advice and comments, they are always considered and as soon as I get any evidence to support any of your statements I will be the first one to publish them here.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  4. misunderstoodranter says:

    Much of Christianity, is derived from Pagan traditions, Easter, Christmas etc are all celebrations of the Sun and Moon – because the Sun is giver of life on Earth, and the moon is way of measuring time through the seasons – I can understand this pagan principle, the Sun and the season are important to grow crops to feed your family, and hence in a world without atomic clocks, space rockets and the like, it is comforting to pray to something because that is all that you can realistically do. If you look at many of the religions, you find the same words and dates used… again Pagan worship hijacked by many different religions for their own aims.

    But things have moved on – we have walked on the moon, split the atom, and performed scientific miracles that were never thought possible even 200 years ago. I am myself a survivor of this – at 11, I had appendicitis, the miracle of modern science saved me – 150 years ago, I would have died. If it was left to religion, science would never have developed – religion persecuted scientists, and still does… embryo research, anti-abortion, etc etc – all limits progress.

    Religious people say ‘but you are playing god – we shoud not do that.’ But what they forget is that humans are animals, we are all made up of DNA and cells just like everything else – this has been proved, the evidence is overwhelming, I know people who are alive because of this science – it exists.

    Therefore humans are part of nature, just like everything else, and as such everything we do is natural – yes that is right, even splitting the atom is a natural event – because humans are natural beings that evolved from other natural things out of necessity. Anyway I diverse….

    Much of the writings of Jesus in the bible, were done over 40 years after his death – yes, that is 4 decades.
    Again I find it highly improbable that anyone would remember anything about Jesus 40 years after his death – and even if they did why did it take 40 years to write anything about him?

    You would have thought, a man who was going around healing people would have been written about in historic texts – but I find no evidence of this, and when Christians bring forward some evidence to support their ‘faith’ it is normally fake, and if you counter it using scientific principles they invent a rule or something out of thin air to counter it – take the Shroud of Turin (which has been radio carbon dated) the religious people say the carbon dating was wrong… oh and by the way you can’t take any more samples to prove otherwise… (so I question why not), if god didn’t want us to prove it he would intervene in some divine way – it doesn’t need protecting by man (now who is playing god?).

    The religious people say ‘science doesn’t have all the answers’ well, it knows enough to land a man on the moon. It knows enough, for us to have this blog chat, using electricity, computers and such like – that is pretty overwhelming evidence, that more often than not science works.

    Which god – the Muslim god, the Hindu god, Jewish one? – just how many gods are there… and which religion is right?

    In Jesus’ time there would have been thousands of people claiming to be prophets gods, or sons of gods, there are now, the only difference is that if I went shouting down the local town centre that I was the son of god, I would be arrested and locked up in a mental institution.

    Religion is power, many world leaders are religious, because it gets them votes from people who have been indoctrinated from a young age. In fact such is the power of religious indoctrination, even non religious people cry out in surprise ‘oh god, or Jesus that was good’ – why? Because of scouts, school, TV, funerals, weddings… all throwing it down our throats – simply put religious people have been brainwashed.

    Religion is there to control people, that is its sole purpose, it was invented by people to place the fear of god in to others, to make them do things, take marriage, a religious ceremony to record people getting together and making a family – so that they can be taxed.

    Religious and political leaders use the same dirty tactics today.

    It may come of a surprise to you, that I do not need ‘faith’ to get by, or to have a sense of right over wrong – I have the capability of free thought, I can read any book I like, choose to believe anything I want to – I am not frightened of not believing, I don’t believe that I will go to hell if I denounce god, this gives me a much more fulfilling life, I can read other works, I can explore other ideas without any fear.

  5. Hi misunderstood ranter

    You bring some good points but on some I will have to disagree with you, You say that Religion is enemy of the science, you obviously don’t know Church History. If you look carefully you will note that much of the early science was instigated by the religious people, also monasteries were directly responsible for educating people. In fact at one time here in Western Europe if you qualified as a Vicar you could often do 3 different jobs, you could work in Legal profession, Medicine and Church related work.

    Secondly, I’m guessing that you are not familiar that today there are many scientists who are Christians. Lot of what you are saying is nothing to do with God’s existence it is kind of going on a tangent which is OK but not necessarily related to Gods existence or related to the truth of the Bible.

    Your comment on the writing of the Bible is also somewhat incorrect, if one is to accept the “Q” source (Which most Biblical scholars do) from which all synoptic gospels may have drawn their inspiration then the original writings are much closer to the death of Christ. But I’m guessing this is mostly ignored by those who ridicule religion in order to prove their point. Also note that many other books of the Bible are written much closer to the death of Christ, much of what Apostle Paul wrote is about 20 to 30 years away from the events, and he himself says “I give you that which I have received” where do you think he got that “which he received”?

    Fact that science is progressing today does not make Christianity obsolete and I don’t understand what give you the notion that Christianity and Science are incompatible?

    These are all false assumptions, that as you say, can do all the “brain washing” and as for the propaganda is concerned note that today this is precisely the case with the secular world view not the other way around. Evolution is our adverts, sex is used to sell products, alcohol companies are sponsoring sporting events etc, etc.

    I’m however glad that you do point to some of the points which are often ignored, Indoctrination of the politicians even today (I would agree with this) do use religion to further their own objectives. However does this disprove God? Will this somehow make God less loving? Abuses of humans should not be placed upon God as his responsibility. After all didn’t you rightly point out that you have free will, likewise we should all use our God given discernment.

    Thanks for your comment

    Regards

    Defend the Word

  6. misunderstoodranter says:

    I am sorry, but I can not understand why any good scientist would be religious. I am a scientist myself, and when peer reviewing other peoples work I can often tell that they are religious – because of the inconsistencies, and misinterpretation of results and data – i.e. they do not understand the scientific methodology (normally maths).

    The truth of the matter is, that good scientists are not religious, because to be religious is a contradiction in science – the reason why is that religion believes in a sentient creator – something that designed the world, that thinks like us, and behaves and reasons like us. Science does not say this – evolution, does not say this, evolution describes the living world as an accident. Darwin, stopped going to church in his latter years, because the closer he looked, the more he doubted his faith – and this one of the biggest problems he had, the thought of battling with a highly religious society, frightened him, so he put off publishing his findings for years, and spent the time collecting massive amounts of evidence.

    Now you may think accidents and coincidences can not happen and that everything has a purpose or a meaning – but I can assure you that coincidence does happen and often, sometimes without any reason at all.

    If you don’t believe in coincidence – then read on:

    I will give you an example, my best friend’s surname is Turner, my wife’s maiden name is Turner, I met my wife and my best friend on the same day, they are not related at all, even more strangely, my wife’s brother had a child recently (surname Turner) on the exact same day as my friend’s wife (also surname Turner), and even more oddly (I promise I will finish soon), the day that my friend and my brother in law’s children were born was also my wife’s dead grandmother’s birthday!!!

    Now for the religious amongst us would allocate this to the divine intervention (lots of hand waving and hallelujah’) , possibly because of the spirit of the dead grandmother. Religious people do this because, they do not understand mathematics, so they think this circumstance is not possible and must have been planned.

    But what they forget is that we live in a universe, which is made up of trillions upon trillions of objects and events – so therefore literally anything is possible, there are trillions of outcomes from every single thing that happens – and when you consider that the name Turner in the English speaking world is not that rare, then it is even more likely that such a coincidence like this could occur. I doubt that my ‘Turner coincidence’ is that improbable, and I bet with a little research you can find similar stories.

    I appreciate your point about the writing of gospels and 30 years 40 years etc – too be honest it doesn’t really matter how long it was – the fact remains, the gospels are inconsistent – they have inconsistent time records -therefore they are lacking in evidence. How many religious prophets were born on the 25 December, (which as it happens is the winter solstice – i.e. a pagan ritual, where the sun appears to fall from the sky for 3 days and then rises again – sound familiar to you?) – have a read about this, you may find this coincidence very enlightening.

    As for the Church’s so called scientific contribution, I do not doubt that they pioneered the library, and schools – in fact Catholic schools are regarded as being pretty good on the whole – except of cause for the child abuse stories, and the religious mumbo jumbo they force children too young to make their own minds up to listen to. Education is a pretty good way of limiting the knowledge of people as well, after all those young minds will suck up everything you teach them – more or less exactly how you teach it to them… so it makes every bit of sense to me that the church would use the education system as a tool to indoctrinate young minds – in the modern world education and religion have absolutely no reason to be combined at all. The kids in school that challenge the religious teachings get treated badly, and for this reason alone I will never send my children to a religious school, no matter how good it’s academic results are.

    If you think that your faith, is the pure faith – then, by this principle you are wrong also – because Jesus was a Jew – the Jews pre-date the Christians, the pagans pre-date the Jews.

    In England the king, created the protestant faith, because he didn’t like his wives and wanted to divorce them which is not compatible with the catholic faith – as a result there are millions of protestants, that believe that their religion, or interpretation of the Christian faith is the correct one… what makes you think the ‘pure’ Catholic faith was invented and reworked and remodelled over the last 2000+ years or so? After all we can’t believe what was written in the newspapers yesterday, so how can you possibly believe something that was written 2000 years ago, and translated from different languages. If you know anything about language, and its translation, one thing you will understand is the principle of lost content… sometimes there isn’t a word or a phrase, so the translator literally ‘reads in between the lines’ and makes something up to keep the text fluent. So the ‘word’ as you put it is actually word of man, not god, and since the church were the people who probably made these translations and copies of the ‘good book’ it is highly likely that they altered it for their own means as well.

    Or are you suggesting that absolutely all Christians to have ever lived have been honest and truthful – and have never meddled in anything at all? If so how does this explain the sex scandals, and gay priests that we hear about – all of which are religious scholars, preachers and educators (until they get found out). Or are you saying that the child abusing and gay priests are only a twentieth century phenomenon? I seriously doubt this, people have always stolen, raped, murdered and committed crimes, some of them have been religious people in the name of religion – and invariably, the most powerful had the most access to education, books and literature, and hence the most opportunity to corrupt it.

    Religious people seem to take religion as blind faith, as fact without questioning the human tampering – I could accept any religion, if they could prove that it is his actual word of god and not someone else’s interpretation – but they can’t.

    Instead they say ‘god spoke to me’ (are you sure about that – are you sure it is not a metal illness that you have… I don’t hear voices in my head and if I did, I would be very worried and would get some scientific medical help.

    Religion is irrational, and this is why people are seeing through it – the world has moved on, we can now explain things, that 2000 years ago, people didn’t even know existed, and we now have the education to challenge what we are taught – and guess what, when we examine the general principles of god as it is taught in the bible and other religious texts, the evidence doesn’t stack up.

  7. Hi misunderstoodranter

    Thanks for your lengthy reply, I say that as it must have taken you some time to do this and is very much appreciated.

    First of all on the issue of Scientists who are religious, you bring very unscientific conclusions, you must back your claims up, you should know that as a Scientist. I presume your expertise are in Maths which is rather good, you should be able to work out likelihood and probability of most things however, for this to happen you need to know all the variables. Which we don’t have, unless in last few days this changed, which I doubt very much.
    Nobody said that you have to be Christian to be good scientist but neither can one claim that you could not be great scientist just because you are believer. This is a common mistake the Dr Dawkins makes. I love that you phrase your saying as “The truth of the matter is, that the good scientists are not religious”.

    First of all you would have to have good statistical data for this, second of all even stats would not always be correct as there is always a possibility that the small minority is correct. As indeed we see from our western history.
    On the issue of Darwin, does it matter what he did, note that today we know far more about the theory of evolution that he knew at that time. We have greater amount of information which I’m sure he would have loved to know. Either way, we are faced with world views as you rightly point out, you have one and the same set of facts but are explained in two different ways. For example lineage of Orang-utans is sometimes disputed by Evolutionary scientists and issue of Neanderthals and how they fit in our evolutionary process. (Not that I agree with the evolution theory) But as you will see we continue to guess what happened, these are historical records and we do not have tape recorder to rewind and see it for ourselves.

    On your issue of coincidence you should not confuse, you’re probable with the impossible. You should know that there are significant differences here. We are yet so observe life simultaneously coming into existence.
    I am very grateful thought that you have so readily shared your example.

    And now that we are on the issue of statistics, maths and Evolution, often scientist would argue (this is even with evolutionary biologists) that we need to keep on saying to ourselves that this is all evolved as it does appear to be designed. I would use that same old example of throwing millions of letters in the air and expecting it to come down as Shakespeare’s work or Romeo and Juliet. As a sceptic you would reject that yet you are OK in accepting that the way DNA and replication RNA work could happen by accident where all parts have to be very precise. Note that I do accept that there are copying mistakes, but we all agree that the original had to be pretty accurate. Otherwise life would not be possible and we could not evolve.

    On the issue of Inconsistency of the Gospels, this is actually very good news for Christianity. 1.) We know that they didn’t collude to concoct these stories. We can see great similarities we therefore are right to conclude that these are multiple testimonies put together by multiple witnesses. If you check with any legal team, they would tell you that this is what happens when analysing other peoples testimonies. 2.) They were often concerned with the topical issues (First century writers often did this) then chronology of the events. So we could not possibly apply our 21st century western logic to 1st century Jewish Christian community. This just is not acceptable, and you can check this with our historical books.

    On the issue of 25th December, I agree with you and most evangelical Christians would have no problem with that. I am well aware of the speculations that Jesus may have been born in early spring. On the issue of Catholic Church using local pagan customs and changing them into Christian holidays, I will point out to you that this was made public by Protestant Christians for hundreds of years. This is a red herring and it’s taking a reader away from the real issue. Nobody on this blog is arguing that we should either follow church teachings or traditions of man. On the contrary I have always encouraged people to search for themselves through the Bible.
    On the issue of indoctrination and bad things that have been happening in the Church, I would agree with you, I have no problem with your comments there. Note however that I would argue that this does not let anyone off the proverbial hook; we are still responsible to find the truth for ourselves.

    “If you think that your faith, is the pure faith – then, by this principle you are wrong also – because Jesus was a Jew – the Jews pre-date the Christians, the pagans pre-date the Jews.”
    I have never said that Christianity is or should be separated from Judaism, I love Jews and I’m happy to have same heritage with them. Jesus himself said that salvation comes from the Jews. So I don’t find any problem there for me, and on the issue of Paganism, you should know that the Bible disputes this and as Christian I choose to stick with it. One more thing this is very important fact that Jews are the very first Christians is very beneficial to our faith this is due to their strong Oral traditions, it would be good for you to find out more about this, as that may help you in your to deal with your doubts about New Testament accuracy.

    I live in Cardiff and I’m familiar with the Henry the VIII History, But you make assumption that this is how Protestantism spread in UK. First of all what about those of strong Calvinist tradition, Baptist tradition etc etc. and second note that even before King Henry we had strong influence of Protestants in UK and yes this was oppressed by the ruling church at the time.

    On the issue of if the Bible is word of God, often things are overlooked and ignored but some superficial errors are always pointed out. For example all prophesies about the Israel being restored have been fulfilled. Secondly significant number of prophesies In the Old Testament about Jesus which have also been fulfilled in the New Testament points to God as one who is in control of History, as a statistician this may be of interest to you. You will find this evidence also here on my blog.

    On the issue of the Bible, yes there are copyist errors, but the good news is that today, thanks to all the available manuscripts (Over 5000 New Testament manuscripts) and great deal of detective work we can come to great deal of certainty about the Bibles accuracy. I am aware of all the criticism and I’m yet to find solid reason to abandon my faith in the Bible.

    On the issue of crazy Christians who say that they had word of God given to them, note following: The bible is teaching us to use our discernment, so even there you will find warnings, so I would agree with you that there are many iffy people out there. God Channel often gives good examples of this in people that preach Prosperity Gospel. So not all religious people have blind faith, many have become Christians only after they examined all the evidence.

    “Religion is irrational, and this is why people are seeing through it – the world has moved on, we can now explain things, that 2000 years ago, people didn’t even know existed, and we now have the education to challenge what we are taught – and guess what, when we examine the general principles of god as it is taught in the bible and other religious texts, the evidence doesn’t stack up.”

    This is a very simplistic explanation, without meaning to offend you. First of all there are many irrelevant discoveries that will not either prove or disprove Christianity. Secondly often when people come with their statements that something is disproving God like theory of evolution they are making assumptions. For after all God could have used Evolution, if he wanted it done that way. But most of all this whole perverse idea of Scientism (Means that everything must be explained through science) is very unscientific, for note that science accepts that there are many unknowns, in fact there are more unknowns than known things. (According to Albert Einstein) I would argue that this is misquoting the philosophy of science in every way. It is therefore very much premature for anyone to claim that science disproves God.

    Thanks very much for your comments and significant effort and I hope that you will find these helpful,

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  8. misunderstoodranter says:

    The problem with blind faith – is that no matter what evidence is presented, the believers will never see the truth – even if it is presented to their own eyes. The difference here – is that if you could prove to me that God exists, I would believe it.

    I have had debates with people that believe that the USA didn’t land on the moon – they say it was not possible and the photos and moon rock collected were faked in some massive conspiracy – I could take them to the moon and show them the landing sites and show them the foot prints there… and they still would not believe, this is what I mean by irrational thought and total blind faith – many Christians are the same – many will not believe in DNA or evolution or Darwin.

    One Christian said to me that they believed that the world was 4000 years old – and that they didn’t believe in dinosaurs. When I enquired about the beautiful examples in the natural history museum, they said that God had put the fossils in the ground to test our faith.

    This is a perfect example of irrational thought – why would god do that?

    Why would god, who created all of us (in your eyes) test the faiths of all religions to destruction? Why, waste lives in war?

    It is not necessary, some would say it would be immoral and childish for a supreme being, who has the power to stop all suffering to inflict such a thing on mortal humans. I think it is immoral of human beings to peddle such beliefs when they do not have any evidence for gods existence at all.

    Another Christian, told me on the subject of the gospels and the time line issue – that Satan (no less) had fiddled with the timeline – this is totally ridiculous (even childish – the devil changed the time line – what sort of argument is that?). I accept that science doesn’t have all the answers, but it has explained some amazing things – without the need to fallback on spirits, Satan’s conspiracies or mental games with a supreme being.

    As I said earlier, I am happy to accept that Nature is god – but it is not designed, it is not sentient – and there is absolutely no need to waste your time praying to it – any more than you would waste your time praying for the Sun.

    Even if I am wrong – and god does exist as we are taught in the bible, I seriously doubt he would be offended by me questioning his existence – by any religious reckoning, he created me, he made me this way to question my surroundings – why would he punish me for using these tools?

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends, which are nevertheless pretty childish,” Albert Einstein 1954.

  9. “The problem with blind faith – is that no matter what evidence is presented, the believers will never see the truth – even if it is presented to their own eyes. The difference here – is that if you could prove to me that God exists, I would believe it.”

    This is why religion is called faith, difference between atheists and Christians is as follows.

    Atheist: He/she believes that they could never ever get enough evidence always wanting more.

    Christian: Enough evidence is provided, (many given on this blog) to be persuaded, not claiming to know everything but happy that they know enough.

    “I have had debates with people that believe that the USA didn’t land on the moon – they say it was not possible and the photos and moon rock collected were faked in some massive conspiracy – I could take them to the moon and show them the landing sites and show them the foot prints there… and they still would not believe, this is what I mean by irrational thought and total blind faith – many Christians are the same – many will not believe in DNA or evolution or Darwin.”

    Again some more red herrings, yes there are some Christians who will say that, but there are plenty who will give you solid evidence that people still refuse to consider.

    “One Christian said to me that they believed that the world was 4000 years old – and that they didn’t believe in dinosaurs. When I enquired about the beautiful examples in the natural history museum, they said that God had put the fossils in the ground to test our faith.”

    Answer as above, ignorant Christians do not disprove Christianity in the same way ignorant atheists don’t disprove any other subject.

    “This is a perfect example of irrational thought – why would god do that?”

    So you would agree with me that based on my reply above you continuing with the same kind of argument from previous comments you posted are just as one dimensional. Not considering other options???? Caricaturing small group of Christians is OK but painting all with the same brush is not reasonable thing to do.

    “It is not necessary, some would say it would be immoral and childish for a supreme being, who has the power to stop all suffering to inflict such a thing on mortal humans. I think it is immoral of human beings to peddle such beliefs when they do not have any evidence for gods existence at all.”

    What do you call Christ being incarnated, dying on the cross then being raised from the dead, for which many early Christians have been ready to die for their faith in God is not evidence at all. I mentioned fulfilled Old Testament Prophesies, you I’m guessing choose to ignore these too.

    “Another Christian, told me on the subject of the gospels and the time line issue – that Satan (no less) had fiddled with the timeline – this is totally ridiculous (even childish – the devil changed the time line – what sort of argument is that?). I accept that science doesn’t have all the answers, but it has explained some amazing things – without the need to fallback on spirits, Satan’s conspiracies or mental games with a supreme being.”

    This is a same argument as previously posted, you should consider my reply and then at least make a remark to what I said.

    “As I said earlier, I am happy to accept that Nature is god – but it is not designed, it is not sentient – and there is absolutely no need to waste your time praying to it – any more than you would waste your time praying for the Sun.”

    Not sure what would this then make you? Are you a deist, Pantheist?

    “Even if I am wrong – and god does exist as we are taught in the bible, I seriously doubt he would be offended by me questioning his existence – by any religious reckoning, he created me, he made me this way to question my surroundings – why would he punish me for using these tools?”

    God would not get offended by you searching, questioning or even rejecting, he sent his son for you and me, it is our choice if you are going to accept him or not. There is no arm twisting to make anyone go in to heaven.

    “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends, which are nevertheless pretty childish,” Albert Einstein 1954.

    Fanny how people pick and choose, what they quote from Einstein, Atheist often omit to say that he (Einstein) did believe in deity, though he was not Christian or practicing Jew. It was clear that he was Deist in his views. (Belief that God created everything then removed himself from all of the creation).

    Einstein also did acknowledge that our knowledge of the universe is so limited, and he knew thing or two about it. Statistically he said this was less than 99% now how do you then square that conclusion with our certainty that there is no God???

    Check some of the other posts on this blog they may answer some of the questions.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  10. misunderstoodranter says:

    “What do you call Christ being incarnated, dying on the cross then being raised from the dead, for which many early Christians have been ready to die for their faith in God is not evidence at all. I mentioned fulfilled Old Testament Prophesies, you I’m guessing choose to ignore these too.”

    I call it a story – and stories are not evidence.

  11. What do you call Christ being incarnated, dying on the cross then being raised from the dead, for which many early Christians have been ready to die for their faith in God? Is this not evidence at all? I mentioned fulfilled Old Testament Prophesies but do you have an opinion on these?
    “I call it a story – and stories are not evidence.”
    Hi misunderstoodranter

    I think that is being a bit unfair:
    1.) You are probably judging this first century document by 21st century standards. One would need to make sure that equal criteria is used when comparing all early manuscripts from the same period.

    2.) You could not possibly expect an opportunity to examine this evidence in person when all the witnesses are dead. We therefore must treat these as Historical Evidence and not subject to tests that cannot possibly be answered.

    3.) If we are ignoring all archaeological and Textual Criticism (similar to forensics in textual studying) which again points to the accuracy of the Bible, then we miss a great opportunity to understand the quality of the text.

    4.) As CS Lewis puts it (and he should know for he was an expert in ancient texts) the Bible reads completely differently from old world legends.

    5.) Early Church history (1st and early 2nd century) is full of texts that are found around the Roman Kingdom that confirm New Testament accounts. There are even those that are in direct opposition to the Christian faith (between 15 and 20 in total) that point out that Jesus was a historic character and explains what first Century Christians believed.

    These do not make unreasonable demands on us to believe any old rubbish. One does not have to be a forensic detective (as most of the work has already been done) to have all the necessary information before he/she could make his/her mind up. I know that we are predisposed to distrust some of these sayings as we watch some appalling Christian TV, but you have to remember that whenever there is a fake, there also must be an original. I do grant you that on some of the stories by today’s standards they may feel like fairytales and you may think that the Bible is full of such stories.

    However, we must remember that the Bible is a compilation (a library of religious documents for those who are non Christians, if you like) of material that captures God’s work but in cosmic time and history these are still rare events. They find their way into the Bible precisely because they are rare and are seen as good examples that we need in order to understand what the message is that God wants us to understand. For example “parting of the red sea” shows that God loves his people. Other Biblical Healings again show God’s compassion and love for us and his desire that we should be restored to him.

    Thanks for being honest and I do appreciate that this belief in miracles can be a problem but if you study the resurrection of Christ, even here on this blog, I hope you will be able to understand the Christian point of view.

    This work is compiled by me
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/meaning-of-easter-and-questioning-the-resurrection-of-jesus/

    Video by Anglican Bishop who is also a professor of Theology on Resurrection of Jesus
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/historical-resurrection-of-christ-nt-wright-responds-2/

    Is supernatural real by JP Moreland
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/is-the-supernatural-real-dr-jp-moreland-2/

    Prophecies about Jesus from Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/bible-prophecy-about-jesus-2/

    The Search For The Historical Jesus – J.P Moreland
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/the-search-for-the-historical-jesus-j-p-moreland/

    A Summary Critique: Questioning the Existence of Jesus By Gary R. Habermas
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/a-summary-critique-questioning-the-existence-of-jesus/

    Does Archaeology Support the Bible? By CLIFFORD WILSON
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/does-archaeology-support-the-bible/

    Philosophical Objections to Miracles By Norman Geisler and F Turek
    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/objections-to-miracles-by-norman-geisler-and-f-turek/

    Whilst I can’t guarantee that any of this will change your mind, I hope that some of this will help you to understand the logic and reasoning behind what Christians think in justifying their faith in the Bible and in Christ.

    Kind regards

    Defend the Word

  12. misunderstoodranter says:

    But it is still stories, the Egyptian hieroglyphs tell the tales of kings and gods, undoubtedly some of them existed – but I seriously doubt that they did everything that they describe. The evidence you provide on archaeology supporting the bible confuses facts, all that evidence shows, is the evidence of the story being written – it doesn’t back up the story.

    I have heard stories of King Arthur – but I don’t believe them literally. Does the bible, have any advantage over the legends of King Arthur? Well there are scrolls that show that the story is old.

    So there is evidence that the bible is old – does that mean it is true?

    Dinosaur bones are older, and free of human tampering – I think I will believe the time line they present – that can be measured and radio carbon dated.

    In olden times, people spoke of sea monsters are they true? Sea monsters are documented on maps, so is the edge of the earth (when it was flat) … a more rational view is to say – they are part true, the sea monsters could have been whales – this is plausible since many sea baring folk would have found them frightening, then fascinating, and would have exaggerated their stories of seeing them when talking to others who had not seen them. The edge of the world is the horizon, which looks flat from a small boat on a massive ocean.

    Which is more interesting:

    Jesus, walked to the crowd and declared that we were all Gods children and that we should love him as he is our father.

    Or

    Jesus, the light, the lamb, the holly ghost, walked across the sea to a crowd that watched in wonder, as he spoke about gods love for the people.

    Which story, would get repeated the most… the normal human real world version, or the supernatural one – think about it.

    J.

  13. “But it is still stories, the Egyptian hieroglyphs tell the tales of kings and gods, undoubtedly some of them existed – but I seriously doubt that they did everything that they describe. The evidence you provide on archaeology supporting the bible confuses facts, all that evidence shows, is the evidence of the story being written – it doesn’t back up the story.”

    When people state things like the above example they make one crucial mistake, this is due to the fact that they only know small part of the story, they can’t compare hieroglyphs with the New Testament text as they haven’t got the originals and neither do they understand them, if they did they would find that they read completely differently.

    First of all New Testament has many embarrassing, moments, Like Apostles running away when Jesus is arrested, Peters denial of Christ, often misunderstanding teaching of Jesus until he explains it, (They appear bit dumb at times) Jesus tell us that even he does not know when he will return back (His second return) but only father known this information. (These are not exaggerated superlatives) These are not exaggerated and overstated sayings that you find in other ancient text which are always full of superlatives about their heroes.

    This is what Historians call Criteria of embarrassment, also many non important details are included in story about Jesus, and these are often confirmed by Archaeology. And this is what you will find in New Testamen how information is recorded by people who are contemporaries to the story and are part of it.

    We generally accept that these are eye witness accounts that tell the story in the way people would generally understand it when it is received by the group of listeners that will be familiar with the customs, location and hierarchy etc. In fact for example Gospel of Luke was dismissed in the past due to one of the titles given in the text to one of the local rulers which was not recognised by past archaeologists, it was not until some times later that new archeologically discoveries pointed out that these titles were used for a very short period of time only and this was exactly at the time of Jesus. Soon afterwards they stopped using this title as it was replaced them with the new titles. This is very beneficial to us as it places “story teller” at the right time, and in the right place (location).

    Now you can say, “how do we know that they will tell the truth and not exaggerate”, if they are capable of given very precise information about Roman governors, and about the local customs, why should we then doubt that they are not capable of telling full and accurate story that they have investigated. In fact that is exactly what Luke’s Gospel is saying, that he did his research and he has since documented, all of Jesus sayings in one manuscript, that doesn’t sound like someone who will just go out of his way to make things up. This involved verification, cross referencing with other witnesses etc.

    “I have heard stories of King Arthur – but I don’t believe them literally. Does the bible, have any advantage over the legends of King Arthur? Well there are scrolls that show that the story is old.”

    As I said in my previous reply, even CS Lewis famously said that New Testament reads like a real historical events rather than made up legend written at the same time (1st century) by authors that wrote legends. So textual critics, and Archaeology is supporting the New Testament. On top of that we have early church fathers who have first hand information past on to them by the first hand eyewitnesses.

    Question we need to ask here is this, Why did they bother? These guys were being killed and they wanted their faith not to be in vain but they wanted to make sure that all relevant detailed records are passed on to the next generation. Also note that today we have many historical documents (about other non Christian events) that are often even 1,000 years apart from the original historical events yet today we recognise them as historic. Yet when we talk about the Bible we apply different standards and we complain that this it is not good enough. Even when there is only few years that separate original event and are recorded by contemporary writers who documented their history.

    “So there is evidence that the bible is old – does that mean it is true?”

    It is not about the age it is about close proximity of the eye witnesses who knew Jesus personally and testified that he was unique and son of God. This didn’t bring them any glory this often resulted in persecution in 64 AD Roman emperor Nero ordered all Christens to be killed and their possessions confiscated by the state. Who in their right mind would want voluntarily to lie and then get killed at the same time for their own made up stories?

    “Dinosaur bones are older, and free of human tampering – I think I will believe the time line they present – that can be measured and radio carbon dated.”

    What, I’m not sure I understand this, is this connected to a different post I did before? Sounds like another red herring again

    “In olden times, people spoke of sea monsters are they true? Sea monsters are documented on maps, so is the edge of the earth (when it was flat) … a more rational view is to say – they are part true, the sea monsters could have been whales – this is plausible since many sea baring folk would have found them frightening, then fascinating, and would have exaggerated their stories of seeing them when talking to others who had not seen them. The edge of the world is the horizon, which looks flat from a small boat on a massive ocean.”

    Again we are talking two different things here; if they wanted to exaggerate about anything they would paint far more positive picture about their heroes of faith, rather than list number of embarrassments that you will find in the New Testament.

    “Which is more interesting: “Jesus, walked to the crowd and declared that we were all Gods children and that we should love him as he is our father. Or Jesus, the light, the lamb, the holly ghost, walked across the sea to a crowd that watched in wonder, as he spoke about gods love for the people. Which story, would get repeated the most… the normal human real world version, or the supernatural one – think about it.”

    You again misunderstand and misrepresent this (I don’t think this is deliberate more to do with not knowing the Bible)

    1. Fist of all Jesus mostly concentrated on his message, and we for example find Matthew 5 – 7 full of sayings, no tricks, miracles etc. so what is being thought is very important to Jesus, we find this again and again that Jesus was teaching people. (He was known as rabbi which means teacher)

    2. Second of all, often Jesus often forbid people (that he healed) to say about their healings (which he did). He was in other words fed up by people chasing him for his miracles. (Jesus himself said you are seeking me because you had bread and fish to eat not because of his teaching) This brings another point that should be included here. In the same way people didn’t believe him then even with all the miracles that had accompanied his teaching. So people today would not be convinced even if he worked same miracles out today, before their own eyes. This was also true of the Israelites in the Old Testament after all the miracles that God preformed to get them out of Egypt they still refused to believe that he can take them all the way to the promised land, some even turned to other Gods.

    3. Your exposition on what Jesus is teaching and Bibles representation of him is somewhat incorrect but I shouldn’t go in to too many details as that may be perceived to be picking on your lack of knowledge, which I’m not. E.g. He never claimed to be Holy Ghost, that is the third person of the trinity, nor that he is the father thought he did refer to their unity.

    4. I’m assuming you didn’t check other links I included in my reply as I can not see any reference to them in your reply.

    5. Jesus often got questioned even by his disciples and if one is acquainted with the Rabbinic teachings you would know that there was almost always accompanying explanation for most teachings, this clarification often serves to reassure readers that they are not mistaken about the meaning of the original communication, which amply points out that these sayings are carefully thought and just as carefully assessed by the contemporary listeners of the message.

    To make assumption that 1st century people are naïve and we know better is not right, superstitions did exist even then but there were many checks and balances that they could use, he could not simply exist in Jewish community and say any unreasonable assertion about himself, in fact he was challenged by the local teachers and this is precisely what got him crucified. These are not people that will accept anything; these savvy people knew how to get Jesus into trouble and what part of his teaching was not in accordance with the accepted religious conduct and tradition.

    As usual thanks for your comments, keep them coming.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  14. misunderstoodranter says:

    Ok – Well it seems to me that the story of Jesus is flawed from the outset. Some religious people see a star over Bethlehem – and assume it is god (Hubble doesn’t exist yet). Then everyone celebrated the birth of baby Jesus. Three kings and such. Then King Herod, heard about Jesus, and decided that he would kill all the babies in the area… (hmm like to him try to do that – sounds like that act would have started a major war).

    Then an angle of the lord came, and warned Joseph and Mary – so Joseph the Christ family out of the country to Egypt. Then not a lot seems to happen – until Jesus is 12 years old. Until Mary took him to Jerusalem for the pass over. Jesus is missing… so they look for him for three days.

    Eventually they found him sitting amongst the teachers and were amazed by his wisdom and knowledge. Then what happened? He went missing? Until he was about 30. So then he was baptised – so he saw John the Baptist (Ltd – cheques only please). After Baptism, he then spent 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by Satan.

    After that – he went on to do some miracles. Then he went to Jerusalem – Psalms and stuff – and he up set the locals and was accused of being a false prophet. Some silver exchanged hands… and everyone had dinner (the last super). Then there is some stuff about him being martyred, and nailed to a cross, when he died… Then he was raised from the dead – and taken to heaven by the holy ghost.

    Then what happened? After he died in circa AD 33 ?

    So how did the word of Jesus spread… The gospels start with Mark, Mark describes the destruction of the temple in the year 70 AD. Matthew, Luke, John are clearly derived from Mark. So what happened between AD 33 and AD 70 – and where did the information come from in these 4 decades about the word of Jesus.

    Well most of what I know comes from the Apostle Paul (Paul of Tarsus) – who received a vision from God, to spread the world of Jesus…

    Paul did this, and actually wrote 80,000 words on it – these documents represent almost all we have on Christianity during the time between 33 AD and 70 AD.

    However, if Jesus had lived… no one told Paul – because Paul had never heard of Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, Herod, John the Baptist, he never mentioned the miracles or anything like that – in fact the only thing he does mention, is that Jesus was nailed to cross and was resurrected – but he doesn’t say this was on earth – and refers to this being a spiritual event.

    “If Jesus had been on earth, he would not have been a priest.” Hebrews 8:4

    So Paul doesn’t even believe that Jesus was ever a human being – and he is the link between Jesus’ death and the arrival of the first gospel. So what you are actually worshipping and talking as fact is really folk law. And actually, if you take away the miracles, the virgin birth and such there isn’t a lot left – except, though shall not or though shall do that.

    I also do not believe that the Jewish supreme council – getting together on Passover eve, to get together to trial Jesus… it just wouldn’t happen – because it is a major event in the Jewish religion (like you going to work on Christmas day) and wouldn’t be missed by such high ranking priests. There are other Jewish scholars who believe that Jesus was killed over a century before? It looks more like to me that people have tried to make the history fit.

    What about other gods – do they sound similar… well yes they do, very similar…
    So, what are the comparisons between Jesus and Horus?
    Conception:
    Horus: By a virgin. There is some doubt about this matter.
    Jesus: By a virgin.

    Father:
    Horus: Only begotten son of the God Osiris.
    Jesus: Only begotten son of Yehovah (in the form of the Holy Spirit).

    Mother:
    Horus: Meri.
    Jesus: Miriam (a.k.a. Mary).

    Foster father:
    Horus: Seb, (Jo-Seph).
    Jesus: Joseph.

    Foster father’s ancestry:
    Horus: Of royal descent.
    Jesus: Of royal descent.

    Birth location:
    Horus: In a cave.
    Jesus: In a cave or stable.

    Birth heralded by:
    Horus: The star Sirius, the morning star.
    Jesus: An unidentified “star in the East.”

    Method of death:
    Horus: By crucifixion.
    Jesus: By crucifixion.

    Accompanied by:
    Horus: Two thieves.
    Jesus: Two thieves.

    This is one god, with these similarities, I have counted another 20 or so gods, and superstitious entities that have these traits in common – do you not find this surprising at all or in the least bit suspicious – do you not question it at all? I think you don’t because if you do question it – the doubt of the holy ghost comes into your head – and you have been taught that if you doubt the existence of the holy ghost, you will go to hell – and I bet you have had that taught to you. So the Christian teachings are do not think – do not doubt, and that is why I don’t and will never believe in any religion, because it requires devotion to ignorance and doctrine.

    As for the red herrings, you keep mentioning – these are red hearings, these are applications of rational thought to other things in our world – they are nearly always comprehendible accept of course if they apply to religion – this is the other main problem with religion – it is only rational when it wants to be.

    I shall not provide references, because there is little point – it just becomes tit for tat – there are references on both sides that support our views – I also don’t have time to be that diligent.

    However, you may want to watch two films – I suggest that you watch them in succession – and I would deeply like to see your critical examination of them on your blog. I think they may help answer your questions about why the atheist movement is growing.

    The first is this one: http://www.thegodmovie.com/

    The second one is Religulous: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0815241/

    I think you will enjoy them – even if it is only to prove them wrong.

  15. Thanks, that was some lengthy introduction 🙂

    “Then what happened? After he died in circa AD 33?” So how did the word of Jesus spread… The gospels start with Mark, Mark describes the destruction of the temple in the year 70 AD. Matthew, Luke, John are clearly derived from Mark. So what happened between AD 33 and AD 70 – and where did the information come from in these 4 decades about the word of Jesus.”

    I will try and answer your questions one at the time. Please don’t take these as personal as I’m only looking at the hypothesis that you propose.

    1. Mark was not the first to start the Gospels. Generally it is said that “Q” (German for source) was one point of reference that Mark, Matthew and Luke used.

    2. Mark does not describe the fall of Jerusalem which is a misunderstanding. In fact modern scholars agree that all the Gospels must have been written before 70 AD precisely because none of them mention the fall of Jerusalem. This would have been mega important as this was precisely what Jesus prophesised.

    3. You rightly point out that in general more than 50% of scholars would agree that Paul predates the Gospels. We covered that before, in one of my replies to you. So both the “Q” source and the Pauline letters are very close to the Crucifixion in time and, if you are a Christian, then close to the Resurrection of Jesus as well.

    “However, if Jesus had lived… no one told Paul – because Paul had never heard of Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, Herod, John the Baptist, he never mentioned the miracles or anything like that – in fact the only thing he does mention, is that Jesus was nailed to cross and was resurrected – but he doesn’t say this was on earth – and refers to this being a spiritual event.”

    1. Paul met Peter who was a first hand witness. He spoke with James, the Brother of Jesus. Paul interestingly puts it like this, “I have sown, others have watered but God makes it grow.” He also made sure that he was not going to the same places as other Evangelists who went ahead of him. This is why you don’t see things repeated in Paul’s letters that have already been mentioned in the Gospels.

    2. Paul becoming a Christian happened only two years after the Resurrection of Christ. Paul does say that he saw Christ in spirit, but this refers to the incidence where he was stoned and was left for dead. So it is incorrect to make the claim that Paul assumes spiritual Jesus. He in fact specifically states that if Christ was not bodily risen our faith is in vain and we are to be seen as the worst losers of all.

    “If Jesus had been on earth, he would not have been a priest.” Hebrews 8:4

    Not sure how this follows our argument that he was a human who walked this earth and died for our sins? This only means that Jesus was higher than the priests that you find in the Old Testament. We must read this in the context of the text that precedes this verse and those that are following. Otherwise we could say that Bible says that “there is no God” which it does but this is followed by “the fool said in his heart” so context is very important before such statements can be made.

    You perhaps mean that Jesus wouldn’t have been a priest because he did not come from the Levite tribe and according to the Old Testament and Jewish Law only Levites could become priests. However, in Hebrews it says that Christ was a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. This is also mentioned in Psalm 110:4 (Old Testament) and therefore meant that the Law was going to be superseded.

    “So Paul doesn’t even believe that Jesus was ever a human being – and he is the link between Jesus’ death and the arrival of the first gospel. So what you are actually worshipping and talking as fact is really folk law. And actually, if you take away the miracles, the virgin birth and such there isn’t a lot left – except, though shall not or though shall do that.”

    This is an incorrect statement that no serious theologian would accept. This may be pushed by the fringe but is not accepted as reliable by the majority of historians and other related scholars.

    On the issue of miracles, as I said before, the only reason he did any was to:

    1. bring people’s attention to his teaching
    2. enable them to believe his message

    “I also do not believe that the Jewish supreme council – getting together on Passover eve, to get together to trial Jesus… it just wouldn’t happen – because it is a major event in the Jewish religion (like you going to work on Christmas day) and wouldn’t be missed by such high ranking priests. There are other Jewish scholars who believe that Jesus was killed over a century before? It looks more like to me that people have tried to make the history fit.”

    First of all, there are many Jewish stories that circulated in the first 3 centuries. These were disputed by the apostles and in fact you have Peter talking to the masses in the capital of Judea, therefore in the middle of Jerusalem. This is when several thousand of them became Christian (Acts

    2). You don’t do this kind of thing if you are peddling a lie that can easily be disproved.
    “What about other gods – do they sound similar… well yes they do, very similar…
    So, what are the comparisons between Jesus and Horus?
    This is one god, with these similarities, I have counted another 20 or so gods, and superstitious entities that have these traits in common – do you not find this surprising at all or in the least bit suspicious – do you not question it at all? I think you don’t because if you do question it – the doubt of the holy ghost comes into your head – and you have been taught that if you doubt the existence of the holy ghost, you will go to hell – and I bet you have had that taught to you. So the Christian teachings are do not think – do not doubt, and that is why I don’t and will never believe in any religion, because it requires devotion to ignorance and doctrine.”
    You do bring some true examples but as I said in my previous example these are disputed by scholars who are historians as well as theologians. Timing is very important here. Yes, these mythical gods do exist, some of them even before Jesus was born. The problem is that stories of the Virgin Birth did not appear until after stories of Jesus was resurrected and gone. In other words there is a gap and like Christopher Hitchins puts it Islam has adopted things from Judaism and Christianity as Islam follows Christianity by some 600 years. In the same way we know that there have been many “religious leaches” who wanted to benefit from Christianity’s popularity.

    “As for the red herrings, you keep mentioning – these are red hearings, these are applications of rational thought to other things in our world – they are nearly always comprehendible accept of course if they apply to religion – this is the other main problem with religion – it is only rational when it wants to be.”

    I can see how this can be offensive, so accept my apology. However, I could not help but want to draw you back to the point in question otherwise we will never manage to close one argument at a time which is what I was hoping to do with us.

    “I shall not provide references, because there is little point – it just becomes tit for tat – there are references on both sides that support our views – I also don’t have time to be that diligent.”

    No need to, I am very well acquainted with these as I have studied theology and I’m in the process of starting my Masters degree. So, like you, I’m just giving an overview otherwise it becomes too complicated and we could lose those who may follow these discussions which is not what I want. I just wish more people commented either way.

    “However, you may want to watch two films – I suggest that you watch them in succession – and I would deeply like to see your critical examination of them on your blog. I think they may help answer your questions about why the atheist movement is growing. The first is this one: http://www.thegodmovie.com/ The second one is Religious: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0815241/ I think you will enjoy them – even if it is only to prove them wrong.”

    Thanks for these:

    I had few problems with plug-ins but I read the comments on the first one and have managed to see the second without any problem.

    1. You should note that these are all edited by atheists. By nature they have predisposition to look at the world differently from myself.
    2. They use “liberal theologians” who are far left theologians and who are not accepted by the majority. The Jesus seminary is known for being highly controversial. For example, they attempted to date certain Gnostic Gospels at the same time as Jesus despite the fact that this philosophical world view was not developed until 150 AD. Secondly, they have a team of people who is made up of journalists and liberal theologians so they don’t have any checks and balances to question their presuppositions. On top of that, how can a journalist without any qualifications say that he understands what old Hebrew texts are saying, or indeed Greek, if none of these are familiar to him? Also you should know that they meet regularly in order to vote (using coloured bids) on what Jesus said and what is legend. One would expect higher standards than simply finding a general consensus amongst those who already have the same theology. On the issue of these theologians, you will also note that there are, however, disagreements and some have actually come out as much to voice their inconsistencies i.e. there are certain general views, for example Paul’s letters, that have been accepted by the majority of scholars that disprove some of the hypotheses that are accepted by them i.e. it is clear that what Paul received was true and consistent with the message of the Gospels.
    3. Some of the clips are related to criticizing false Christians which I am very much suspicious of so I don’t feel any need to defend that.
    4. Interestingly enough in the early 19th Century until the mid 20th Century what we notice is a rise in liberal theology. However, today most of those ideas have been disproved so many have abandoned the ideology of Jesus that says he was a revolutionary wise teacher and socialist by nature. Today we have a modification of these by introducing a scholarship which is more interested in grabbing headlines than real scholarship. We should always check what other scholars are saying before jumping to a conclusion. This will help all of us to build more balanced views. For example, people will tell you that there are many errors in many of the manuscripts we find from the New Testament. However, they will not tell you that errors are things like the word “He” should be replaced with the word Jesus so that the reader could select a small section of the text and read it without going to the beginning of the chapter in order to understand who is being talked about. These are used in lectionaries and devotional readings etc. Therefore, the meaning is not changed. Further, they will tell you that you have a problem as the original text is written in Greek and what we read is in English. Yes that is true; some things are just not possible to translate as they are not relevant and unless you are a linguist or understand foreign languages you will not understand that these are not important. All you want to do is make yourself understood i.e. if you are hungry and you happen to be in France all you want them to know is that you would like some food, you are not worried about extras i.e. you don’t need to say, “please may I have some food as I am very hungry” they can understand you if you simply ask for “food please”.
    5. Many bold statements are made but you should note that these reflect a very superficial knowledge of the Bible. I am always surprised how many people are only too ready to come out with things of theology and pretend that they are the final authority on the Bible but when you ask them about any details you will find that they haven’t even read the Good Book.

    Have you got any particular questions from these videos that you would like to talk about?

    Thanks again for coming back

    Regards

    Defend the word

  16. misunderstoodranter says:

    Only one… have you watched them? Don’t read about them – watch them – at least once, even just for entertainment with some pop corn (mock them) – in some ways you owe it to your faith.

    I came here – to test my spirituality – in an earlier post, you were not sure my faith was.

    I am part pagan part atheist – I believe in humanity and a natural order of things – but I can not believe in the bible – although some of the stories have moral value, they are little more than stories to me, and this will always be so. But I am happy to accept that there are things about the universe that we humans may never understand.

    I may be back – but I will let our discussion rest – it has been very good talking with you – you strengthened my belief that there is no god, and I thank you for that.

    By the way I think you will get your Masters degree – good luck.

    J.

  17. I did watch few of them today, thanks I can see the general idea, I have spent months going trough many atheistic videos on Youtube so I don’t need to find more evidence as they tend to repeat what was already said before.

    “I am part pagan part atheist – I believe in humanity and a natural order of things – but I can not believe in the bible – although some of the stories have moral value, they are little more than stories to me, and this will always be so. But I am happy to accept that there are things about the universe that we humans may never understand.”

    Not sure I understand this? You can’t be pagan and atheist that is a contradiction, you believe in nature and power of nature that is Naturalistic pantheism, Animism and Naturalistic spiritualist you can’t possibly say you don’t believe and have faith into unknown?

    “I may be back – but I will let our discussion rest – it has been very good talking with you – you strengthened my belief that there is no god, and I thank you for that.”

    I would disagree with your conclusion as per above, that is way I think it is premature for you to say there is no God especially if you call yourself a pagan. As for me influencing you, I keep on saying to people it is not our job to convince anyone of anything.

    As Christian I am only doing what I think is right, I just tell the good news, it is up to God and people on the receiving end to respond to that message. I would not want to take credit for any such thing. You know there is a saying that says “you can only be persuaded of the things that you let yourself be persuaded of.” I tend to think that reason and logic are very important parts of our faith, but inevitably we have to own up to not possessing all the information in the world.

    As I said before for those who are Christians, we don’t need every single piece of information we just need enough to make sense of our faith.

    “By the way I think you will get your Masters degree – good luck.”

    Thanks, is this prophetic or just wishing me luck?

    Thanks for coming back and my regards

    By the way I did see what you wrote about me on the armchair Antichrist blog, it kind of shows lack of sincerity if what you said is true. Your starting point was then always going to be your finishing point, which does kind of makes any serious conversation redundant?

    Defend the word

  18. misunderstoodranter says:

    I may think you are nut job – but it doesn’t mean my comment is not sincere.

    You have been generally polite, and have provided some good information to me.

    But I do think all religious people are a bit nuts – if I didn’t, think that, I wouldn’t be strong in my belief that there is no God.

    Some people believe that the government has secret bases with Aliens in them – I think they are a bit nuts too, but I give them some time to listen.

    I think you will get you Masters degree, because you work hard – and this is evident in your work.

    If it your faith that drives you to do this – then that is good. But there could be equally many other reasons.

    I do wish you good luck… but you are totally nuts.

  19. Thanks for that, this just goes to show that as I said before, when people get their mind set on one thing it is hard to have it changed, unless their eyes are open to things of reality that is some times hard to see as we get preoccupied with ourselves. I’m not talking anything spiritual here, what I’m saying that one should reflect on how he / she treat others and then reflect on why he does it. Do we look down on people in order to make ourselves feel better about ourselves? I could have easily taken that position many times in the past, but I think the big man does not think like that.

    Well let me round this up for you, this is from the nut job (Even if somewhat polity) to you, consider it and then work it out the good book says about such things..

    1Co 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the perceiving ones.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

    22 For the Jews ask for a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. 24 But to them, the called-out ones, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    25 Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise men according to the flesh are called, not many mighty, not many noble. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    It all about the perspective you take I would say.

    Defend the word

  20. misunderstoodranter says:

    You will find my answer to your question in the post I just published.

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