Encouraging News About The Outsider Test For Faith

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The word is getting out! Here's a message I just received on Facebook:

"Your Outsider Test For Faith was the final straw that showed me the error in my thinking. Thank you! I had to submit my Christianity card and join the irreligious." LINK.

Dr. Victor Reppert's Concise Explanation For Why He Believes

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I have allowed Christian scholars to post here at DC without my initial comments. [See tag below]. The following is one single comment left by Dr. Reppert in my combox. I thought it was worthy of further consideration. Dig in. I expect he'll defend what he wrote. I've taken the liberty to number his paragraphs for ease, should you wish to discuss them. Please, no ridicule.

Ridicule Forces Believers to Re-Examine Their Faith

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Here is an example, a spoof not a real ad:



The "ad" got the producer convicted in an English court for harassment. See below. I'm sure the publicity from this ad forced some believers to re-examine why they believe. The question for them would be "How can anyone be so cocksure they aren't going to hell that they would do such a thing?" Am I right or am I right?

Another "Stupid Atheist Meme"

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  • Ed Brayton: This is fucking inane. Cat's don't pray! Some atheists (not me) are just stupid.
  • Jeff Lowder: I agree. I consistently criticize atheists when I think they are being rude or straw manning theists or theistic arguments.
  • Victor Reppert: Who's to say God answers all prayers anyway? He has his omniscient reasons.

On Ridiculing the Ridiculous Ridicule Deniers

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The saying at left is an example of ridicule, in case it isn't obvious. The same goes for this post of mine. The saying was submitted by a person named Chris to a committee of three seeking permission to use it on his Facebook page. The members of the committee include Victor Reppert, Jeff Lowder and John Loftus. Reppert demanded this committee should exist and wanted to be on it. He argued that a person who uses ridicule must be able to defend the basis of the ridicule before using it. Lowder cannot recognize some kinds of ridicule and argued it isn't as effective at changing minds as a reasoned debate. Loftus didn't want on this committee but in order to break any deadlock, he begrudgingly agreed under protest.

Let's listen in as they discuss this submitted piece of ridicule.

Sir_Russ Dismantles Victor Reppert On Ridicule

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Vic complains about the commenters here at DC, saying they attack him. They most certainly attack his ideas. By contrast his commenters personally attack atheists and have little substance beyond that. So compare them to what sir_russ wrote below. There is some snark going on in it, but his reasoning and writing are very good.

Another Very Nice Review of "Christianity is Not Great"

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It begins like this:
This anthology of counter-Apologetic essays merits a place on the bookshelf of every atheist, lay-student of comparative religion or Christian coming to question his belief. (Or just seeking to understand the worldviews of non-Christians.) In cataloguing the harms done by this religion, and the scope for addressing them, it is close to encyclopaedic. Crucially, it is an anthology of specialist and often scholarly contributions from writers addressing a particular field, and thus avoids a trap into which much humanist literature falls: The cult of the individual ego. Finally, the book indicates how atheism and humanism provide a model better suited for ameliorating the harms done by Christian belief. Click here to read the rest.

Victor Reppert and Jeff Lowder Again On Ridicule

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Reppert still doesn't get it and it stuns me. Maybe he refuses to consider anything I say because I'm, well, an atheist, and he knows atheists are wrong about everything! ;-) He thinks one must come up with a argument and be able to defend it--on the Harvard Yard or something?--before being entitled to ridicule a belief. For one must be careful not to end up ridiculing a true belief. Of course, Reppert surely wants to be on the committee that decides which beliefs are false and deserving of ridicule, I'll bet.

Is he serious? I think he is.

God Hates Counterfeit (False) Religion Even If It's Christianity!

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God (just like His Church) Never Changes!
Dear Christian . . . if you thought that faith in Christ alone will get you to Heaven, you haven’t got the whole truth.  Based on what Father Tom told me over the phone (see link belowand from a brochure handed out by the tour guide at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral at this past week’s Greek Festival; you’re screwed, big time! You see, when Jesus made this famous statement in Matthew 16: 18, Jesus assumed the reader knew the context; that he (Jesus) was speaking in Greek on behalf of His Greek Orthodox Church; thus Jesus never meant for his teachings to be perverted by the many false Christianities. 

Jerry Coyne's Book Is Now Available

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Get it today!

Professor Keith Parsons's "Rules of the Use of Ridicule"

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Previously Professor Keith Parsons advocated the use of ridicule, saying:
A single belly-laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms” said H.L. Mencken. Fundamentalism and fundamentalists should be ridiculed in the media, by comedians, or wherever. You don’t have to worry about fairness, since, as Poe’s Law famously notes, no satire can possibly be more absurd than the real thing. Come on. You just can’t come up with anything more ridiculous than someone who honestly thinks that all human woes stem from an incident in which a talking snake accosted a naked woman in a primeval garden and talked her into eating a piece of fruit. Again, most ridicule would consist of pointedly drawing attention to what they really believe. Nothing could be fairer than that. As a sign admonished on The Simpsons, put the fun back in fundamentalism. Laugh it to death. LINK.
Now I present for your consideration his rules for ridicule:

Quote of the Day, By Faisal Saeed Al Mutar On Ridicule

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Let's put ridicule into perspective. Faisal Saeed Al Mutar lectures on Muslim issues around the world. His focus is on Islamic problems in the Middle East and how they can be solved. On Facebook he wrote: "If you hold ridiculous beliefs, your beliefs deserve to be ridiculed. You have rights, your beliefs don't."


Now Victor Reppert has gone on record as stressing ridicule is unwarranted. So what does he advocate when it comes to Muslim militancy? A lot of us, me included, don't know that much about Islam. But we know killing and maiming others is wrong. Does Vic really think ridicule should not be used by us against these Muslims? Most of us don't really know any other way to express ourselves. I think ridicule can open the Muslim mind up to consider arguments to the contrary. It can be the grease that helps unscrew the mental bolts that shut off a reasoned discussion of their faith. And if Reppert can see this with regard to the faith of others, then he should have no principled objection to the use of ridicule itself.

Bertrand Russell Used Ridicule Effectively, as Does Julia Sweeny, George Carlin and Bill Maher

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The list of people who advocate and/or use ridicule effectively should be more than enough to convince the deniers. British atheist and Freethinker George William Foote (1850-1915) wrote:
Goldsmith said there are two classes of people who dread ridicule–priests and fools. They cry out that it is no argument, but they know it is. It has been found the most potent form of argument. Euclid used it in his immortal Geometry; for what else is the reductio ad absurdum which he sometimes employs? Elijah used it against the priests of Baal. The Christian fathers found it effective against the Pagan superstitions, and in turn it was adopted as the best weapon of attack on them by Lucian and Celsus. Ridicule has been used by Bruno, Erasmus, Luther, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire, by nearly all the great emancipators of the human mind. ["On Ridicule" Seasons of Freethought, 2013, page 260. See the tag "Ridicule" below for others who embrace it.]
To see what Socrates, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, Erasmus, and modern thinkers like Keith Parsons, Richard Carrier and Stephen Law said about ridicule click here. There are more people who advocate it, or use it, than can be named, including Bertrand Russell.

More On the Effective Use of Ridicule

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If you have ever read Plato's Dialogues you know Socrates ridiculed his opponents. Anyone who has read the ending of the Euthyphro dilemma sees this plainly:

According to The Bible, God (Not Satan) Is Both Evil And a Moral Failure

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Damn, these facts are in the Bible!
(Disclaimer: Let me say from the start, I’m an atheist . . . I consider the Bible a literary fraud and that the characters discussed below never existed.)
Based on a general reading of the Bible, especially the section labeled the Old Testament, the Hebrew god Yahweh (given the Christian title God from the LXX) is portraited as a debauched immoral character, often lacking any ethical conscious while theologically (not Biblically), the figure of Satan unjustly condemned. 
To illustrate my point, I’ll breakdown the Bible’s own characterizations God and Satan so the reader can see for him or herself who is really morally debauched  (I have left out the Book of Revelation due to the fact that the narratives in this Biblical Book have not taken place, being projected to some apocalyptic future which is theological speculation). Below, is a short list, though any student of the Bible who has a concordance or Bible dictionary will be able to find many more.

You Don't Like Organized Religion? Okay Then!

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"Let No Facts Pass..." Funny!

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Dr. Massimo Pigliucci Has Disengaged Himself from the Atheist/Skeptical Society

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His opening lines:
Groucho Marx, one of my favorite comedians of all time, famously wrote a telegram to a Hollywood club he had joined, that said: “Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” I have recently considered sending such a letter to the skeptic and atheist movements (henceforth, SAM), but I couldn’t find the address. LINK

There is a Greater Probability Jesus Didn't Exist Than That He Arose from the Dead

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When it comes to miracles, at best they are virtually impossible events (not necessarily impossible). This is the case even if they have occurred on rare occasions throughout history, and even if the resurrection of Jesus was one of them. But an improbable event is always going to be more likely than a virtually impossible one, always! So while I am not a mythicist with regard to the existence of Jesus, it's still more probable Jesus never existed than that Jesus arose from the dead. Even if we lowered the odds that Dr. Richard Carrier arrived at in his magisterial book, On the Historicity of Jesus, from 33% to 5%, it's still more probable Jesus didn't exist than that he arose from the dead.

What would it take to accept that Jesus arose bodily from the dead?

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It would take an overwhelming amount of strong historical evidence to overcome our concrete personal experience that dead men stay dead, the kind of evidence that convinces reasonable people George Washington was the first President of the US. There's little doubt about Washington's Presidency. Why is there so much doubt about the resurrection of Jesus?

More Americans are Leaving Christianity to Become Agnostics and Atheists

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“Between 2007 and 2014, when Pew conducted two major surveys of U.S. religious life, Americans who described themselves as atheist, agnostic or of no particular faith grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. At the same time, Christians dropped from about 78 percent to just under 71 percent of the population. Protestants now comprise 46.5 percent of what was once a predominantly Protestant country.
See the full report HERE

Ten Reasons Why My Books "Aren't More Famous"

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I received an email from a specialist at one of the leading hospitals in America who said this:
I´ve read many books on the topic and all of your anthologies - I'm reading the last one right now. I'm very puzzled how they aren't more famous. Anyway, I'm writing to you just because I appreciate your work at a very high level, it's really impressive.
I've heard this from others. What do I make of it? Here are some of my thoughts.

Christians . . . It’s Worse Than You Think!

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(Every few years, I like to remind Christians of their Biblical reality.)

According to the God’s Word, the Bible and based on modern statistics, this is what Christians have going for them in God Almighty): 


My Book Pictured Inside a Drawer at a Marriott Hotel by an Admirer

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My Debate With David Wood On the Resurrection of Jesus

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John Davidson - Openly Secular

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Bad Boy, Bad Jesus, Bad Bad Jesus: Reviewing “The Bad Jesus” by Dr. Avalos, Part 2

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The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics is a 461 page monster of a book written by biblical scholar Dr. Hector Avalos. It's unlike any other scholarly book on the market today. It tells us the rest of the story of the Jesus we find in the four gospels, the dark side, the raw side that biblical scholars try to whitewash over because they think Jesus deserves special treatment. Dr. Avalos by contrast takes off the blinders, forcing readers to see what Jesus was really like.

My guess is that people won't like Jesus after reading his book. I don't. He's not a guy I would want living next to me, or being around my children, or writing a column in a magazine, or politically involved in America that's for sure. No one should. Let's even have done with the notion Jesus was an over-all good person. I would want little to do with him. You might too after reading this wonderfully researched, one-of-a-kind book on an essential issue in disabusing Christians of their faith.

In the future when someone says Jesus was sinless, respond by saying "Bad Jesus." If someone holds up Jesus as an example of a good life, hold up Hector's book "Bad Jesus" in response. If someone asks, "What would Jesus do?," respond by asking them to read "Bad Jesus." It is the antidote to people who indefensibly think Jesus was a perfect human being. It is the corrective to believers who think we need a red-letter edition of the New Testament. It tells us the rest of the story, a story that most people and most Christians have never heard before.

Having said this I want readers to take a look at the contents of his book below, including selected quotes I've chosen from what Avalos writes in each chapter. Keep in mind I make no pretense to summarizing these chapters, only providing a few quotes that might provoke you to read it, which you should. See for yourselves:

Bad Boy, Bad Jesus, Bad Bad Jesus: Reviewing “The Bad Jesus” by Dr. Avalos, Part 1

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One Proud Owner of "The Bad Jesus"
The prolific and indefatigable Dr. Hector Avalos, who is a giant of a man, a scholar's scholar, just released a new book, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics. In it he continues with a main theme of two of his previous books, the theological, ethical and political irrelevance of the Bible for the modern world. In The End of Biblical Studies (2007), he masterfully showed how biblical scholars are preoccupied with maintaining the relevance of the Bible for the modern world, even though their own research actually shows the opposite. In Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship (2011), he expertly showed how modern biblical scholars are still unjustifiably defending the indefensible ethics of biblical slavery. In this new book Avalos takes on the over-all ethics of Jesus himself---Oh My---as represented in the four canonical gospels (irrespective of whether Jesus existed or not, which he remains an agnostic about). Avalos skillfully shows how the Jesus depicted in the New Testament has a bad side, a side permeated by a “religiocentric, ethnocentric and imperialistic orientation.” He reveals the bad side of Jesus that modern biblical scholars unjustifiably try to hide from view.

Here is how he states it:
If one relied on most modern treatises of New Testament ethics, Jesus had no bad ideas, and never committed any bad deed. This cannot possibly be sustained if Jesus is viewed as a real historical human figure. If Jesus was a human being, he must have had some ideas that are ethically objectionable, or, at least, morally questionable. If Jesus was a human being, he must have had flaws, inconsistencies and hypocrisy in his moral system, just as does every other human being. If his followers, ancient or modern, believe that those ideas are applicable to their lives and to the lives of others, then it also raises the question of whether any of Jesus’ bad ideas also had bad consequences. If Jesus had some bad ideas, then imitating Jesus’ bad ideas could be a bad practice today. Given how much time historically has been spent on lauding the Good Jesus, this book centers on illuminating ‘the Bad Jesus’. (pp. 29-30)

David Wood vs Diane Sawyer and ABC's 20-20 Program

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One thing about conservative Christians is that they seem to do a good job dealing with the social liberals, as far as I know. This program by David Wood is well-done and informative:

Dr. David Wood's Shocking Conversion Story

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This story about Dr. David Wood, whom I recently debated on the resurrection, is shocking! [Debate to be posted soon]. David's testimony describing his life before he converted to Christ can be seen in the video below. He's describing himself even though at times he seems to be describing someone else. He descends into the subway as he tells his dark past. Then he emerges topside when describing his conversion. David tells me this video was all shot in one take. Again, his story is shocking. He once told me he could never reject Christ because he might return to his former way of life. Now I know what he means. [He sent me this link on December 11th last year, before we were set up to debate].

For anyone who thinks my deconversion story away from faith is a bit shocking (it isn't much at all) just compare David's conversion story towards faith, as seen in the video link below. If someone wants to discount my deconversion story due to my personal experiences, then how much more should they discount David's conversion story due to his personal experiences. After all, if personal experiences led us each to adopt different conclusions about God, then the personal experiences leading me to change my mind pale by comparison to his. If David adopted his faith due to the experiences he describes in the video--experiences which show him to be an irrational angry young man--then how rational could this irrational angry young man have been when he adopting his faith at that time?

It would seem David just could not stand looking at himself in the mirror any longer. His brain was in meltdown mode and needed to find some escape from the pain of it all. Usually this would lead to even more anger, but in David's case it was the anger that caused the meltdown in the first place. So another escape was needed. The escape of faith he adopted, without actually studying Christianity out first, was the one he was most familiar with, and that's it. Now he conducts an apologetics ministry to help Muslims become Christians. Had David been more familiar with Islam he would be a Muslim today. For when the brain is in meltdown mode any escape will do.

Jerry Coyne's New Book Almost Here!

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Professor Jerry Coyne's long awaited new book, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, will be available in a few weeks.I have eagerly awaited this book. Jerry tells me that he recommends my Outsider Test for Faith in it. Help make it a #1 book by ordering it now. You know you want it. Order it today!

NY Times on Faith vs Facts, People Reason Differently When It Comes to Religion

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The money quote:
A broad group of scholars is beginning to demonstrate that religious belief and factual belief are indeed different kinds of mental creatures. People process evidence differently when they think with a factual mind-set rather than with a religious mind-set. Even what they count as evidence is different. And they are motivated differently, based on what they conclude. LINK.

I'm Working On Another Anthology

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I'm starting to work on another anthology on Science and Christianity. I already have three submitted chapters and nearly ten authors who have agreed to write chapters for it. I'm looking for authors to write chapters on topics like cosmology, evolution, how evolution impacts Christianity, the scientific method, the Bethlehem star, biblical archeology, the genetics of the virgin birth, the shroud of Turin, science and miracles, the tasks of science and theology, the origins of the religious impulse, philology and the texts of the Bible, and other things like that. The late Victor Stenger left me one chapter I'll use describing religious views of the center of the earth. If you think of other areas where science comes into direct conflict with Christianity let me know. What topics are relevant and who should write them? Remember, I cannot get just anyone I want.