My Introduction


I'm greatly honored to receive the invitation to join such an elite group of freethinkers. I don't have a fraction of the experience or credentials that the majority of the authors here hold, but I nevertheless hope that my writings will play some minor part in the deconversion of those who are starting to have doubts about the veracity of Christianity. I am by no means a theologian, biblical scholar, or former minister, but as I often like to point out, it doesn't take an expert to realize that donkeys can't talk.

Discovering the bankruptcy of Christianity at an earlier age than most of my colleagues here, I took the opposite path in life and acquired an education in scientific disciplines. My university education ended when I earned a Doctorate in Pharmacy with honors from Mercer University in 2005. Four years earlier, under full scholarship, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Chemistry from Middle Tennessee State University. I also completed minors in biology and psychology. Although the utilization of chemistry and biology is commonplace for debunking Christianity, psychology is inarguably a field that is inseparable from the core reasons why people hold their religious beliefs. Expect to see this point revisited many times in my writings.

My deconversion story that begins in the next paragraph is taken from Biblical Nonsense, my debut manuscript from 2005. My primary goal while writing the book was to have fun completing a project designed to dismantle Christianity as much as possible in an attention span of two hundred pages. I describe the book as a utilization of scientific scrutiny, sound logic, and enlightened rationalism to present a remarkably compelling case against the legitimacy of the Bible. It's not an exhaustive scholarly study into the issues covered, but rather a brief introduction to the facts we have and analyses we can make concerning pertinent biblical issues. By no means did I intend for Biblical Nonsense to be an exclusively novel, methodically referenced, meticulously comprehensive volume of perplexities plaguing the Bible. I designed the book to be my own careful summation of these discoveries, occasionally accommodating some innovative philosophical questions that the findings should naturally provoke. Fittingly, Biblical Nonsense was inspired by the efforts of such writers like Dan Barker, Ed Babinski, and Farrell Till.

I was born agnostic, as are all children, but both of my parents were Christian. Naturally, my mom enrolled me in church at a young age because she wanted to do what she felt was best for me. Having also been enrolled in church at a young age, however, she’s never had the opportunity to see the religion from an honest and impartial perspective.

By the age of seven, I acquired the typical boyhood interest in dinosaurs. As a result, I wondered how the divine creation of man could have preceded the existence of these creatures. I learned in school and from my outside reading that dinosaurs had been around for millions of years; Adam and Eve, on the other hand, were divinely created during the earth’s first week only about six thousand years ago. No matter how many scenarios I considered, I couldn’t think of a way to resolve this important incongruency. I asked my mom for an answer, but she didn’t have one either. Instead, she advised me to ask my Sunday School teacher. The shameless answer I received the following Sunday was, “We don’t know there were dinosaurs.” It was then that I realized the religion had fundamental flaws if it resorted to such claims in order to explain scientific discrepancies. As time went on, however, cognitive dissonance drove me to justify further scientific contradictions as “explainable in some way” while holding onto the word of “absolute truth.”

A great inspiration struck me while sitting in church one Sunday that made me realize billions of people who didn’t accept Jesus as their savior were imminently bound for Hell. Even so, they were over on the other side of the globe thinking the exact same thing but with the roles reversed. However, what if they were right and we were wrong? Exactly who decided that Christianity was true while Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism were demonstrably false; and how did this individual make these determinations? I remember justifying this interesting perplexity by burying my head in the sand and declaring Christianity to be a morally superior religion. I’m patently ashamed of ever forming such a notion.

By the age of seventeen, I began composing a list of all the absurd Old Testament rules and regulations that God and Moses suppressed upon us. Soon after, I gained the courage to disregard the Old Testament as fiction due to the cruelty and scientific errors that it relentlessly presents. The Bible was no longer a perfect book, but Jesus and the New Testament were still solid proof of a god to me.

By the age of twenty, I finally undertook an unprejudiced analysis on the prerequisites of entering Heaven. They simply weren’t fair. If the New Testament is true, so was my original realization that members of other religions are going to Hell because their teachers mentally conditioned them to believe their respective religious systems. These individuals were simply doomed from the beginning; they had no chance. After I factored in the lack of evidence for any of the events surrounding Jesus, the exception being a handful of contradicting accounts written decades after the alleged events, it was just a little too convenient that God decided the fate of the world in a highly superstitious age void of testable records. Because of this painfully poor choice, no one could know for sure what really happened in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. All the while, he supposedly watches us in total silence as we continue to kill each other over who has the correct religion.

When I was twenty-two, I browsed the increasingly popular internet out of interest in seeing if there were others who had made similar discoveries. I was amazed to find that there were millions of these freethinking individuals in America alone. Using enlightened rationale in conjunction with the enormous amount of counterevidence, hundreds dedicated their time to freeing others from lives of conditioned thought. In fact, a select few had an understanding of the Bible far beyond what I ever realistically hoped to ascertain. As for the Christian defense of these findings, I could see a lot of straw grasping. Their best representatives, having obtained bogus doctorates from self-accredited paper mills, stretched and twisted biblical text in order to make it fit with their predetermined agendas. Besides, how objective can one honestly remain while analyzing evidence that’s contrary to the belief system in which an enormous emotional investment has already been made? After a long childhood journey, the ultimate answer had finally become obvious to me. If you undertake an honest, dispassionate, and emotionless analysis of the Bible, you can easily conclude that it’s not the word of a supreme being. Contrary to what many Christians would like the world to believe, certain facts can’t just be absolute truth.

Once I completed my minor in psychology, I had a better grasp on how religious systems tend to work. As a general rule, individuals exhibit their desire to be in groups by surrounding themselves with those who hold similar interests in order to reinforce the perceived appropriateness of their beliefs and opinions. I recognized that I, too, underwent a near-universal conditioning process and tried to recruit/assimilate others into my group because that’s what I was told God wanted me to do. I also realized that many Christians don’t even know what they believe because they never take the time to read the whole Bible. Because of this shockingly lazy choice exercised by the vast majority of Christians, they’re mentally unequipped to answer challenges to their belief system. As a result, the common response to presented complications is usually this: “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.”

When it comes to religion, the mainstream believers exhibit no more in-depth thinking than the cult members everyone watched burn in Waco, Texas not too long ago. Christians are normal people in the outside world, but their brains seem to switch over to standby mode on Sunday. Cult members usually exercise the ability to live normal lives, too. Regardless of the actions such religious people take, I could never deem them as evil because I understand that they’re victims of an unfortunate destiny misleading them down a path of ignorance and unwitting gullibility.

Agnostic once again, I began to realize the full impact of Christianity on our society just a few months before the completion of my book. I was particularly interested in the wealth of scientific evidence against the occurrence of a global flood. Using common sense and knowledge from my scientific background, I decided to compile my own list of reasons why Noah’s flood couldn’t have feasibly taken place as told by the Bible. A Christian friend of mine who always asked to hear about biblical problems was fascinated by my research. I later decided to convert my list into a publishable essay in hopes of being acknowledged as a beneficial freethinker. In the process, a few additional topics worthy of discussion came to mind. While scholars, historians, and philosophers have thoroughly covered these issues, they scribed most of their material on an extremely sophisticated level. Even with a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in the sciences, much of it went over my head. For this reason, I decided to write on a level that everyone could enjoy and comprehend. After the first few essays were completed, I knew I had more than enough ideas to write a book.

So, with all of this said, why even spend so much time debunking Christianity? Although I can’t offer an exact reason, my passion is probably driven by the salient danger created by Christianity and its subsequent influence on nearly two billion people every day. While the evil forces of certain deceitful religions have somewhat subsided in more recent times, the hatred inadvertently generated by these belief systems remains the greatest threat to humankind’s continued existence. In the past two thousand years, Christianity has been guilty of initiating several wars and crusades resulting in thousands of needless deaths, blatantly oppressing women to the point of worthlessness, abhorrently justifying the enslavement of Africans and perpetuating cruelties upon them we would rather just forget, shamelessly driving its followers to hang or burn alleged witches, nearly exterminating the entire Native American population, and inconspicuously robbing billions of people of countless man-hours that could have been much better spent on improving our planet. Someone certainly needs to address these issues, and the book most of the Western world swears by demands a thorough critical analysis.

38 comments:

Zachary Moore said...

It's great to see another www.exchristian.net alumnus out on the blogsphere!

Daniel said...

Jason,

An inspiring journey from faith to disbelief. I found a lot of resonating themes from your story with my own. Looking forward to reading your book!

-D

Mike said...

"Christianity has been guilty of initiating several wars and crusades resulting in thousands of needless deaths, blatantly oppressing women to the point of worthlessness, abhorrently justifying the enslavement of Africans and perpetuating cruelties upon them we would rather just forget, shamelessly driving its followers to hang or burn alleged witches, nearly exterminating the entire Native American population, and inconspicuously robbing billions of people of countless man-hours that could have been much better spent on improving our planet."
I'm assuming you hold to some sort of universal moral system due to your statement here; from where do you derive this system?

Jason Long said...

Mike,

Why you would make such an assumption based on that statement is far beyond anything I can fathom.

exbeliever said...

Welcome, Jason.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say here.

Mike,

Wow, what a powerful and original argument you have presented us with.

Let's see. An atheist cannot account for universal morality in their worldview, therefore God exists. What impeccable logic!

It is amazing that we have never dealt with this before.

The next thing you're going to tell me is that atheists can't account for the laws of logic either. However will I hold onto the wickedness that I so cherish when such a devastating case has been presented?

othello said...

Mike,

"I'm assuming you hold to some sort of universal moral system due to your statement here; from where do you derive this system?"

Most definitely not from your immoral god from whom I'm assuming you get yours!

Anonymous said...

Do not let the lack of scientific stuff in the Bible dissuade you from Christianity. Only a certain type of Christianity, fundamentalism teaches the scientific inerrancy of Scripture.

Throughtout church history, the stories of creation and the old testament have been interpreted allegorically, not literally. So go back to your Bible, this time without the burden of all the scientific stuff.

I personally believe in it literally, but the largest Christian denomination, the Catholic church, already reconciled evolution and stuff like that with the bible. Geez dude, it's not a good excuse anymore.

Mike said...

Wow, I definitely didn't expect such immediate or thorough reply (reaction?) to my comment. Thanks, guys.
I'm not sure where to start in reply: maybe with Jason - you said, "Why you would make such an assumption based on that statement is far beyond anything I can fathom." Well, I suppose I was making that assumption because without universal morals, I don't understand how your statement could have any sort of truth value. Perhaps I was misunderstood in using the term "universal". I was trying to say that I assume you have universal morals, at least within your framework: that is, all of the deaths, oppression, cruelties, etc, are bad, and are always bad when they are needless and caused by people who are brainwashed. Does that make sense?

In response to exbeliever, I don't know what to say. If you'd like to continue completing my statements and logical deductions before I have the opportunity, by all means, write the rest of this response to you. On the other hand, if you'd like to take the time with me to discuss why I personally should subscribe to atheism, please present me with something other than assumptions about where I'm coming from and what my agenda is. I was specifically asking Jason about his own universal morals; that is, if he holds that the atrocities listed were always bad according to his view. Thanks for commenting, and if you have any valuable input in the future, I would more than welcome it.

In response to othello:
"Most definitely not from your immoral god from whom I'm assuming you get yours!"
Well, what can I say here except, your fault for assuming. I don't understand why my question raised such assumptions about where I am coming from, or which god I apparently serve. Are Christian people the only ones who have objections to atheism?

Daniel said...

No, Christian people are not the only ones who have such objections.

As a side, about this universal morality idea:
Soe Christian people think that God is the measure and foundation of morality, and that apart from God there can be no logical basis for morality. Those who go on to accept that in 1 Sam. 15:3 and Num. 31:17-18 God orders the murder of children and infants ("sucklings" in the KJV), have thus accepted a God who orders the murder of babies (in the latter reference, only the "males" and "non-virgin females", since the virgins can be kept as spoils of war) as the arbitrar of what is good and what is bad.

Is that an accurate assessment? Have I missed something there?

Mike said...

Thank you Danny, I appreciate your comment without personal attack against me for asking a question.
I fear that I am somehow miscommunicating my intentions; in the realm of this particular discussion, I care nothing about the universal morality proposed by some (or even most) Christian people. (as a side note, I know many Christian people that I disagree with and dislike.)
However, my question from the start was only if Jason subscribes to the idea of universal morality in his system of thought; that is, from his point of view, are there attitudes/actions which are always wrong and always right? That was and remains my only question. Thanks again for your comment.

John W. Loftus said...

Dan Barker sent this message via me:

Jason,

Thanks for helping out! Nice to have someone with your expertise. I'm sure I'll pick your brain from time to time.

I'm doing my 53rd public debate next week at the university in
Minneapolis, against Todd Friel, a right-wing radio host. That will be fun! (See ffrf.org/events)

By the way, do you know that your name is evidence of Intelligent
Design? It spells out the months on the calendar: July, August,
September, October, November. That can't have been by
chance!!


Dan Barker

othello said...

Mike,

I did not accuse you of being a Christian nor assume you are one. In fact, if you are a Muslim or Hindhu, my comment still applies.
But, let me ask you this. Are you a Christian?

Mike said...

If by "Christian" you mean "American", then yes. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the term, though.
Having said that, what I am or happen to believe is irrelevant to my question, to which I am still curious of the answer. To indulge you: I would consider myself an interested, critical, free thinker who desires to learn more about all religions, in hope to understand more of mankind.

exbeliever said...

Mike,

Don't worry, Mike, no one sees through your attempt to shift the burden of proof. We all think that you were just asking because you were curious.

You wrote: "If you'd like to continue completing my statements and logical deductions before I have the opportunity, by all means, write the rest of this response to you."

Okay. The rest goes something like, "Why are you guys jumping to conclusions? Just because I'm only asking this question to set you up for my presuppositionalist response doesn't mean that you should point that out. I'm just asking because I'm curious, not because I'm trying to make you listen to my pathetic argument. Why do you think that I am only asking this question so that I can argue with your answer? I was only going to read whatever your answer was and say, 'Okay, sounds good to me.'"

You wrote: "On the other hand, if you'd like to take the time with me to discuss why I personally should subscribe to atheism, please present me with something other than assumptions about where I'm coming from and what my agenda is."

Okay, I'll bite. You should "subscribe to atheism" because there is no reason to believe that a god exists, just like there is no reason for you to believe that purple unicorns exist. You should not "subscribe to atheism" if you can articulate one good reason to believe that a god exists.

Here is your opportunity to give us a reason to believe a god exists. I'll hold my breath until you give it, deal?

exbeliever said...

Mike,

While I have a minute, allow me to show you why your question does not follow from Jason's post.

You wrote: "Well, I suppose I was making that assumption [i.e. that Jason holds "to some sort of universal moral system"] because without universal morals, I don't understand how your statement could have any sort of truth value."

If I said, "That rock is moving," would my statement have "any sort of truth value"? Sure it would, but it would be relative to which spatio-temporal framework we were referencing. Perhaps the rock is stationary relative to the objects surrounding it, but lies on a planet rotating on its axis and is therefore moving from another spatio-temporal framework.

There is no universal framework by which to judge motion.

So, let's say that morality is the same. Moral judgments can have truth value based on relative frameworks. One would have to choose a framework by which to judge an individual action.

[I doubt this is Jason's position, but indulge me.]

If this were the case, then, Jason's statement would not require that he "hold to some sort of universal moral system." It could be that Jason doesn't believe in a universal morality but was saying that Christianity has "been guilty" in any framework which condemns initiating wars, oppressing women, justifying enslavement, etc.

The statement certainly has a truth value, a truth value relative to a moral framework. It is objective, but not universal.

This is just the kind of truth value we give to many of our judgments about motion and aesthetics (e.g. Little Sara, your crayon drawing is beautiful [according to an aesthetic framework that appraises adolescent art on a different scale].

Mike said...

"...because there is no reason to believe that a god exists, just like there is no reason for you to believe that purple unicorns exist."
I think what you have effectively done with this comment is eliminated reason for believing anything, for one can be skeptical of anything.
But it seems that you do not stop here, at the logical point of skepticism. Which is my curiosity with atheism as a worldview; it doesn't stop at skepticism, but claims to know much more than the average person. It seems agnosticism makes a lot more sense, at least from a logical and "evidential" standpoint.
I do honestly desire to more fully understand atheism, but I suppose one can make any conjecture one wishes as to my intent while here.

As for your second post and how my question follows or does not follow, I think I may not have meant "universal," but "consistent." In other words, my question is, does Jason hold that there is consistent right and wrong? I had no agenda behind the question, I was only curious if he holds that right is consistently right and wrong is consistently wrong, all defined from his own perspective of course. And if he does hold to these ideas of consistent right and wrong, where does he obtain those ideas from? If he does not, when do they change and how is one to know?
These are the extent of the questions I had, but if this site is less for atheism, more for anti-Christianity (whatever that means), perhaps I should be asking questions about anti-Christianity-ism, rather than atheism.

exbeliever said...

Mike,

You wrote: "I think what you have effectively done with this comment is eliminated reason for believing anything. . ."

No, what I have done is eliminated reason for believing anything extraordinary verification. If my approach is wrong, please tell me how you have ruled out the existence of purple unicorns. What reasons do you have for not believing they exist?

You wrote: ". . . atheism as a worldview. . ."

Atheism is not a worldview. All atheists have worldviews and all of those worldviews do not include a god, but atheism per se is not a worldview; it is the absence of a belief in a god.

Christianity is a worldview; monotheism is not. Hinduism is a worldview; polytheism is not. A specific tribal religion is a worldview; pantheism is not. Etc.

Similarly, materialism is a worldview; atheism is not.

You wrote: "It seems agnosticism makes a lot more sense, at least from a logical and 'evidential' standpoint."

That would be true if agnosticism was a real alternative to the various positions on theism. It, however, is not. There is no such thing as an agnostic.

The various possible theistic positions are:

panentheism (the belief that everything is god), polytheism (the belief in more than one god), monotheism (the belief in only one god), and atheism (the absence of belief in any god).

A so-called "agnostic" must fall into one of the categories of theistic belief above. They must either have a belief in one, many, or all god or they must be without a belief in one, many, or all god. The agnostic, then, is either atheist or theist; there is no inbetween.

If by "agnostic," however, you mean that one cannot say for sure that there is no god, then I think you have just described every thinking atheist out there.

You wrote: "I think I may not have meant 'universal,' but 'consistent.' In other words, my question is, does Jason hold that there is consistent right and wrong?"

Well, this changes everything, then, and is entirely unlike your original question.

Your original question was, "I'm assuming you hold to some sort of universal moral system due to your statement here; from where do you derive this system?"

Instead, it should have read, "I'm assuming that you hold some sort of CONSISTENT moral system due to your statement here; from where do you derive this system?"

But, then, this question seems odd in light of your later statement, "Well, I suppose I was making that assumption [i.e. that Jason holds "to some sort of universal moral system"] because without universal [which I, now, should read "consistent"] morals, I don't understand how your statement could have any sort of truth value."

But how does it follow that when one condemns certain actions that they must hold a "consistent" ethic? I would think that the theist (especially a Christian theist) must argue against a consistent ethic. As we have been told repeatedly, here, the Christian god's goodness does not mean the same thing as human goodness. Christians don't hold a "consistent" ethic. Atheists are trying to hold them to one, however.

You wrote: ". . . but if this site is less for atheism, more for anti-Christianity (whatever that means), perhaps I should be asking questions about anti-Christianity-ism, rather than atheism."

The name of this blog is Debunking CHRISTIANITY, not Debunking Theism. We do some of that as well, though.

Jason Long said...

Mike,
Your clarification does nothing to validate your assumption. You assume that anyone who states that an institution is guilty of a specific action must necessarily have a consistent system for what they believe is right or wrong. As I've been around these discussions many times before, I'm perfectly aware that you just wanted to debate presuppositionalist-type ideas like absolute truth and morality. If you wanted to debate such concepts, you should have just said so. Instead, you made a needless attempt to create an inseparable bond between the veracity of my work and the necessity for absolute morality. As it is, I'm not going to indulge the matter further unless you can adequately explain how it's a valid assumption to think that someone must have a consistent and/or universal concept of morality in order to declare that they disagree with certain actions. Remember, you did not ask – you assumed.

Mike said...

"What reasons do you have for not believing they exist?"
Well, no one on earth would agree with me (at least I haven't found anyone who would) if I said that they did exist.

"...it is the absence of a belief in a god."
Forgive my ignorance; I didn't realize that most of you were not claiming to rule out the possibility of a god.

"Well, this changes everything, then, and is entirely unlike your original question."
I suppose it could be unlike my original question, but I'm not convinced. Whatever term you use for having morals that don't change, my main curiosity is this: from where you derive morals that do not change?

"But how does it follow that when one condemns certain actions that they must hold a "consistent" ethic?"
This would be why I previously clarified my question this way:
"...that is, all of the deaths, oppression, cruelties, etc, are bad, and are always bad when they are needless and caused by people who are brainwashed."
A theist (I'm not sure what you mean by a Christian theist, but I'm asuuming other theists) can argue for consistent ethic based on whatever their god has revealed to them, or their god's character, etc. But to give up that view, one needs to adopt another view, and that's the part at which I'm getting lost.

"The name of this blog is Debunking CHRISTIANITY"
Forgive my lack of attention to detail. What kind of Christianity do you guys debunk - Catholic? Prostestant? Baptist?

Steve said...

Jason, nice post! As a Christian I too have often contemplated the troublesome areas of Christianity? Most of the problem areas are in the Old Testament and although I do have some concerns, I have not considered them fatal to my belief.

Having said that I would like to comment on what you said.

"Christianity has been guilty of initiating several wars and crusades resulting in thousands of needless deaths, blatantly oppressing women to the point of worthlessness, abhorrently justifying the enslavement of Africans and perpetuating cruelties upon them we would rather just forget, shamelessly driving its followers to hang or burn alleged witches, nearly exterminating the entire Native American population, and inconspicuously robbing billions of people of countless man-hours that could have been much better spent on improving our planet. Someone certainly needs to address these issues, and the book most of the Western world swears by demands a thorough critical analysis."

Why do you point out these negative aspects of Christianity, that by the way, most of my Christian friends would say were not Christ-like, and completely disregard all of the good that has been done? Feeding millions, providing shelter for battered women, paying bills for those in need in their surrounding communities through church benevolence funds, and much more. Or we could talk about the fact that it was the western world (mostly Christian) that allowed science to advance in the last 500 years, and that many top scientists where Christians. Do we need to address these issues too?
.
People run churches and governments, not Christianity. This leaves plenty of room for the cause of evil to enter into the mix. More people have been killed for secular reasons than religious ones. Maybe we should address that issue.

Have you ever considered that if there really was a spiritual battle going on, that maybe the world looks very much like it should? If God exists, Satan exists. Just something to think about!

All in all I believe that Christianity has had more positive effects on this world than negative. I say this as a believer, believing it to be true even if Christ isn’t. Can we speculate with any certainty what this world would look like if Christ (or the belief in Christ) never existed?

Bahnsen Burner said...

Mike: "I'm assuming you hold to some sort of universal moral system due to your statement here; from where do you derive this system?"

From existence.

Regards,
Dawson

Jason Long said...

Steve,
I don't even know where to begin pointing out what's wrong with your post that I haven't heard a million times before, so I'm going to be brief because others are going to eat you alive on this.

You open with a variation of the no true scotsman fallacy (un-christian behavior) and an appeal to popularity (the scientists). Christianity has done extensive damage to scientific progress in the pass. Embracing it now does nothing to change that. Whether or not more people have been killed for secular reasons is irrelevant to whether or not people were specifically killed for religious ones. I also laugh straight in the face of anyone who says that Christianity has brought more good than harm.

exbeliever said...

Mike,

You wrote: "Well, no one on earth would agree with me (at least I haven't found anyone who would) if I said that they did exist."

So, majority rules? If a bunch of people on earth believed it to be true, you would as well? You should read my last post.

In the 17th century a lot of people believed in witches capable of doing magic and spells, would you have joined them in their belief?

You wrote: "Whatever term you use for having morals that don't change, my main curiosity is this: from where you derive morals that do not change?"

I don't know about Jason, but I derive those from my moral framework. Where do I derive my moral framework? From a web of many beliefs both moral and non-moral in nature. Some of those beliefs have a foundation in my evolutionary past.

I am not an objectivist like Dawson, so my ultimate foundations are relative, but I can still be consistent within a specific moral framework.

Steve said...

Jason, first of all I am not suggesting that I have presented you with anything new that you have not heard before, as you have not presented us (the debunkees) with any ground breaking evidence either. I have been reading this blog since it’s beginning and I realize that your posse members are well versed on the subject matter. However much of it is just the same old product in a new package? If you are saying that we should only reply with arguments that are new, then perhaps you should present new subject matter to begin with.

While I am defending Christianity, I am not attacking Atheists. Your original post was interesting but it was one sided and I wanted to remind you that while Christians are responsible for many horrible things, Christianity was and is meant to be an asset to humanity. Humans are humans, no matter what we believe, or where we live. We (Christians) are not insidious villains either. As an individual who happens to be a Christian, I believe I do more to help people than to hurt them. You may or may not agree!

A laugh is not what I would call an intelligent form of dispute. Your statement begs the question that has been the central topic of discussion, which frankly is getting pretty old.

Jason Long said...

Steve, I've decided to address your posts point by point.
Steve
Why do you point out these negative aspects of Christianity, that by the way, most of my Christian friends would say were not Christ-like, and completely disregard all of the good that has been done?
Jason
What your friends consider Christ-like is irrelevant. If you define a Christian by your own standards of Christianity, you commit the no true Scotsman fallacy. The fact remains that people driven by the ideas of Christianity committed the acts I listed. Most, if not all, of these acts would not have been carried out had the people not been convinced it was the Christian thing to do. I will not deny that good things have been done out of a Christian belief, but we must decide whether or not Christianity is for the greater good. I feel that it has not.
Steve
Feeding millions, providing shelter for battered women, paying bills for those in need in their surrounding communities through church benevolence funds, and much more.
Jason
Torturing children with thoughts of hell, imprisonment for victimless crimes, soliciting money for cultural genocide, and much more. See how this works?
Steve
Or we could talk about the fact that it was the western world (mostly Christian) that allowed science to advance in the last 500 years, and that many top scientists where Christians. Do we need to address these issues too?
Jason
Are you asserting that these top Christian scientists would not have made their accomplishments if it were not for Christianity? If so, how do you know? If not, how is Christianity relevant to the accomplishement? Allowing science to flourish for the past 500 years does not forgive condemning it for 1500 years, in my opinion. Without Christianity, science would be so much further advanced than it is right now, we could only imagine.
Steve
.
People run churches and governments, not Christianity.
Jason
Christianity sometimes runs the people that run churches and government, no?
Steve
This leaves plenty of room for the cause of evil to enter into the mix. More people have been killed for secular reasons than religious ones. Maybe we should address that issue.
Jason
It is irrelevant. You should just as well say that more people have been killed for racist reasons than sexist reasons. Therefore, we need to not address the racist reasons. The sexist reasons, per this analogy, should also be addressed, right? If you think we should address the issue of secular reasons why people are killed, start your own blog.
Steve

Have you ever considered that if there really was a spiritual battle going on, that maybe the world looks very much like it should? If God exists, Satan exists. Just something to think about!
Jason
Have you ever considered that if there really was a unicorn battle going on? Then, maybe the world looks very much like it should? If unicorns exist, goobleygogs exist. Just something to think about! Also, your assertion that Satan must exist if God exists is a non-sequitur.
Steve

All in all I believe that Christianity has had more positive effects on this world than negative. I say this as a believer, believing it to be true even if Christ isn’t. Can we speculate with any certainty what this world would look like if Christ (or the belief in Christ) never existed?
Jason
We can only speculate, and I believe it can be demonstrated that Christianity (and religion in general) has done more harm than good. I know you say such things as a believer because it makes you feel uncomfortable to believe otherwise.
Steve
Jason, first of all I am not suggesting that I have presented you with anything new that you have not heard before, as you have not presented us (the debunkees) with any ground breaking evidence either.
Jason
If Christians were not so conditioned with their beliefs, I wouldn't have to present the same old tired arguments. They are solid, and they work to dispel the myths of just about any religious system out there. It's simply a matter of getting people to understand this. Anyone who has left any faith will explain this to you.
Steve
I have been reading this blog since it’s beginning and I realize that your posse members are well versed on the subject matter. However much of it is just the same old product in a new package? If you are saying that we should only reply with arguments that are new, then perhaps you should present new subject matter to begin with.
Jason
See above.
Steve

While I am defending Christianity, I am not attacking Atheists. Your original post was interesting but it was one sided and I wanted to remind you that while Christians are responsible for many horrible things, Christianity was and is meant to be an asset to humanity. Humans are humans, no matter what we believe, or where we live. We (Christians) are not insidious villains either. As an individual who happens to be a Christian, I believe I do more to help people than to hurt them. You may or may not agree!
Jason
That is an opinion. It is not one I agree with, and it is not one I believe that can be intelligently defended.
Steve

A laugh is not what I would call an intelligent form of dispute. Your statement begs the question that has been the central topic of discussion, which frankly is getting pretty old.
Jason
Sometimes I just laugh at the absurdity coming from the apologists because it's just as intelligent of a response as what I've heard thus far. You're exactly right that it begs the question of the discussion. That's because you weren't part of the audience addressed in the blog. When I see relevant arguments, I offer relevant comments. I often cut things short when I hear ideas like "If God exists, Satan must exit" and that I should point out that Christianity has allowed science to flourish recently, all of this from people who put stock in a book with talking animals and won't admit that they're wrong on points after they have been demonstrated as such.

Steve said...

Jason- “The fact remains that people driven by the ideas of Christianity committed the acts I listed. Most, if not all, of these acts would not have been carried out had the people not been convinced it was the Christian thing to do.”

How do you know this? Could it be that these people would have carried these acts out anyway under the the guise of another religion, or just plain old greed, or are you asserting that it was some supernatural force of motivation that was driving it? That is always a possibility!

Jason- “Are you asserting that these top Christian scientists would not have made their accomplishments if it were not for Christianity? If so, how do you know? If not, how is Christianity relevant to the accomplishement? “

1. I wasn’t, but I now that I think about it I have to admit it's a possibility. 2a. I don’t, 2b. Don’t know, but I speculate on upbringing and their dedication to their beliefs may have had something to do with it. Wow, I’m learning things.

Let me get this strait. When evil things are done by Christians, Christianity gets the blame. Sounds fair to me. But when scientists who are Christians make our world/lives better then Christianity has nothing to do with it?

I am merely saying that some of our great scientists were Christians. This is a counter to your one sided attack on Christianity. Is there a problem with the truth?

Jason- “Allowing science to flourish for the past 500 years does not forgive condemning it for 1500 years, in my opinion.”

I agree! Christianity was at times barbaric in a barbaric time. No argument! ok!

Jason- “Without Christianity, science would be so much further advanced than it is right now, we could only imagine.”

Yes.......... we can only imagine! But I guess that depends on who the “we” is.

Jason- "I will not deny that good things have been done out of a Christian belief, but we must decide whether or not Christianity is for the greater good. I feel that it has not."

Steve- “All in all I believe that Christianity has had more positive effects on this world than negative. I say this as a believer, believing it to be true even if Christ isn’t.”

Dr. Evil to Austin Powers in Goldmember, “Remember when I told you,’We’re not so different you and I’.”

Well Jason we’re not so different you and I. Particularly when it comes to what we believe. I do respect your opinions, I just don’t agree with them.

Jason- “Also, your assertion that Satan must exist if God exists is a non-sequitur.”

Sorry I was arguing from the position of Christianity, and that is the truth, I thought that is what this powwow was about.

I have to say this next one make me giggle. Do I really need to explain Why? Hint, sentence #3.

Jason- “If Christians were not so conditioned with their beliefs, I wouldn't have to present the same old tired arguments. They are solid, and they work to dispel the myths of just about any religious system out there. It's simply a matter of getting people to understand this. Anyone who has left any faith will explain this to you.”

I gotta go Jason. I hope you have a great weekend!

Steve said...

Correction, I ment to say,

Sorry I was arguing from the position of Christianity, and that "it" is the truth,

John Edward said...

I was in ministry positions for 16 years at several churches in this area. I was very dedicated to serving those that were down on their luck and needed a hand up.
What I saw and experienced during this time caused me to decide to worship God on my terms and not what was dictated by someone else. Talk about being shunned and deemed an apostate. The Pastor I worked with called my employer to tell him I had resigned and I was considered a questionable person. My employer a hyper moral Christian has come close to firing me because I no longer go to church.
My web site www.focusonyourlife.net pretty much sums up where I am at these days. John Edward

Jason Long said...

I'll begin by pointing out that over half of my arguments were ignored. With that said, here's another point by point rebuttal of Steve's argument.
Steve
How do you know this? Could it be that these people would have carried these acts out anyway under the the guise of another religion, or just plain old greed, or are you asserting that it was some supernatural force of motivation that was driving it? That is always a possibility!
Jason
I've already explained this. The acts I listed were carried out solely due to Christianity or utilized Christianity to support them. Without Christianity, the acts listed would have never taken place or ended sooner. It is only logical to believe that if Christianity wouldn't have been in American culture, people wouldn't be hanging witches because the Bible said so. People wouldn't have thought that God said it was okay to kill the natives to the west coast, so people may not have felt justified otherwise. People wouldn't have thought slavery was okay because God condoned it, so people may not have felt slavery was justifiable, etc. I'm sorry you can't see / don't want to see this.

Steve

1. I wasn’t, but I now that I think about it I have to admit it's a possibility. 2a. I don’t, 2b. Don’t know, but I speculate on upbringing and their dedication to their beliefs may have had something to do with it. Wow, I’m learning things.
Jason
I have hard evidence that Christianity was counterproductive with science, which you admit, and you return with speculation that Christianity may have helped science in some cases. In the same manner, Christianity may have prevented many people from becoming scientists and curing diseases. See how speculation gets us nowhere?
Steve
Let me get this strait. When evil things are done by Christians, Christianity gets the blame. Sounds fair to me. But when scientists who are Christians make our world/lives better then Christianity has nothing to do with it?
Jason
If you can demonstrate that Christianity is what drove certain people to do good deeds, Christianity does indeed get credit. So far, all you offer is speculation. I can provide hard evidence that Christianity is guilty of atrocities because they were carried out in the name of Christianity. What a Christian does and doesn't do is irrelevant. It is what he does that is driven by Christianity that counts.

Steve
I am merely saying that some of our great scientists were Christians. This is a counter to your one sided attack on Christianity. Is there a problem with the truth?
Jason
Again, don't confuse Christianity with the Christian. I may as well just say that Hitler was a Christian. Nothing he did, as far as I know, was in the name of Christianity.

I have snipped the areas on which we agree.

Steve

“Also, your assertion that Satan must exist if God exists is a non-sequitur.”

Sorry I was arguing from the position of Christianity, and that is the truth, I thought that is what this powwow was about.
Jason
First of all, your statement is still a non-sequitur. Christians need not believe that Satan exists. In fact, studies show that about 10-15% of Christians don't believe in Satan, so arguing that your statement is necessarily true doesn't fly. I could offer a million possibilities that invalidate your non-sequitur, but one will do just fine. God could have invented Satan. In this instance, God exists but Satan does not. "Arguing from the position of Christianity" is the same as begging the question of Christianity. I will presuppose the non-existence of God in my post, just as I will presuppose the non-existence of unicorns. If you wish to "[argue] from the position of Christianity," you must demonstrate that God exists.
Steve

I have to say this next one make me giggle. Do I really need to explain Why? Hint, sentence #3.

Jason- “If Christians were not so conditioned with their beliefs, I wouldn't have to present the same old tired arguments. They are solid, and they work to dispel the myths of just about any religious system out there. It's simply a matter of getting people to understand this. Anyone who has left any faith will explain this to you.”

I gotta go Jason. I hope you have a great weekend!
Jason
Perhaps if you spent less time giggling and more time examining the arguments point by point, you wouldn't think my position was so funny. I know you've been conditioned to believe what you believe. Religious beliefs don't happen by chance; they happen by environment. If I could have told you what religion you were going to be before you were even born, something isn't quite right. You can laugh at this all you want; I will laugh at people who believe in a book with talking donkeys. Sorry to sound so abrupt, but I'm getting tired of repeating myself.

jon buttry said...

What do you find so wrong with the presuppositional argument?

Emanuel Goldstein said...

Besides the irrelevant biographical info about rejecting Christianity at an early age, all Mr Long has clarified for us is that, in his own words, he is "not a scholar".

This would be evident from his book, Biblical Nonsense, which is, indeed, nonsense...comprised largely of outdated speculations and sophmoric non sequiturs.

Tell me again what he is trying to prove?

That everything is explained nothing or some such metaphysical conclusion that has little to do with science...certainly not Pharmacy!

Emanuel Goldstein said...

Besides the irrelevant biographical info about rejecting Christianity at an early age, all Mr Long has clarified for us is that, in his own words, he is "not a scholar".

This would be evident from his book, Biblical Nonsense, which is, indeed, nonsense...comprised largely of outdated speculations and sophmoric non sequiturs.

Tell me again what he is trying to prove?

That everything is explained nothing or some such metaphysical conclusion that has little to do with science...certainly not Pharmacy!

HeIsSailing said...

regarding dinosaurs, Jason Long sez:
"The shameless answer I received the following Sunday was, “We don’t know there were dinosaurs.”"

I went through the same routine regarding dinosaurs and Christianity when I was a kid. The common thinking back then was that the dinosaurs fossils were real, but were planted by Satan and God allowed it to test our faith. This argument, along with some of its cousins are still around. The universe only looks 13.7 billion years old because God made it with aging factors already intact. The light from distant stars was already created so that it was only 6000 light years from Earth, etc. I have heard normally rational people willingly stunt their own intellect and excuse The Bible in all sorts of ignorant ways. I bet most of us here have.

Heather said...

** I have heard normally rational people willingly stunt their own intellect and excuse The Bible in all sorts of ignorant ways.**

And that's one of the most disturbing things about this particular brand of religion sometimes. Because I've seen smart, rational people to will analyze things to death, and then when it comes to the Bible .... not analyze it at all. And I've asked them point blank how they can accept some of the atrocities in the OT. They've said it bothers them, but who are they to question God? They still trust in His mercy and justice and such. Which is their viewpoint, they're welcome to it, but they wouldn't give that answer under any other circumstance.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

This may get interesting. I have spent my time here arguing against the believers, since I am an atheist. I enjoy this site above any other of the various atheist sites I have found because of the quality of the debate here, because of the knowledge of the participants -- frequently on both sides of the issues -- and because there is an attempt to look at the questions in new ways.
And now you have joined us, Jason, complete with book that can be viewed on-line. I have read much of the book already, and have bookmarked it to complete my reading of it. And now I have an atheist to argue with as well.
I'm sorry, but I agree with Emmanuel Goldstein that the book is "indeed, nonsense...comprised largely of outdated speculations and sophmoric non sequiturs." I would add to that a historical section that is laughable, a discussion of the effects of parents on children that -- at the least -- demonstrates an ignorance of what parents do or describes it in 'loaded' terms so extreme as to be totally unrecognizable, and an ignorance of what Christians actually believe or how they behave that is staggering, even if you limit your discussion to the most extreme fundamentalists.
(I would add to that, in the historical section, an even greater misunderstanding of what the Jewish religion was like -- in practice -- at the time of Yeshua bar Joseph (and Josephus, a writer you might consider reading) and the religious atmosphere of the Roman Empire.)
When you add to this a writing style so pretentious and arrogant combined with a tin ear that allows you to write the following phrase "Paul also dropped an array of incorrigible requirements for converting to this new persuasion" -- well, if we were presented with a book by a Creationist or other type of believer -- and, btw, the majority of Christians are NOT Creationists -- we would have great fun drawing and quartering it. Simply because you are on 'our side' I see no need for exempting you from the treatment such writing deserves.
(I will admit that in your discussion above you show a somewhat more mature attitude and a greater knowledge of what you are discussion -- and your writing has improved. You may, in fact, prove a valuable addition to the group, but please do not direct readers to your book. It can only confirm whatever prejudice believers have against atheists.)

John W. Loftus said...

prup, I have not read Jason's book, but I think he responded well here. Jason tells me he's about finished with a second book. If his first book is as bad as you say, then perhaps his second book will be much better.

Later I'm planning on a post about lame arguments against Christianity. I will argue that lame, poor and even false arguments against Christianity all show that Christianity is not true. This will be a very interesting and provocative thesis.

There are many books that "preach to the choir," so to speak, on both sides of this great debate. While I don't know about Jason's book, my book does not do this.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

John:
I did say that Jason's comments here showed more maturity than does his book. I hope that a second book demonstrates the same growth.
I entirely agree with the problem we non-believers have with 'preaching to the choir.' It is because DC has avoided this that I enjoy it, and because I found Jason's book to do the opposite that I wrote the comment I did. (I have yet to read your book, sadly, but my book-buying budget is miniscule, and I learned several years ago that I cannot trust myself with a library card -- one of two activities I find myself untrustworthy.)

I look forward to what we get of the second book here, but I wonder if the thesis will be useful. I don't need to be convinced that Christianity is untrue. My purpose here is to add new arguments to our arsenal, and to get the believers who stop by to look at things in new ways -- not expecting them to 'deconvert' immediately but to have seeds slwoly planted that make take months or years to grow. This is why I deliberately like to frame my comments around arguments that have not been made a thousand times before or that believers do not have a pre-readied answer for.
Talking donkeys don't cut it -- even I can answer that one. But asking about the 'march of the walking dead' that Matthew -- and only Matthew -- records during the time of the resurrection, or the challenge of asking if their god can himself have free will (he can't, btw) might throw believers off balance enough for them to start questioning their surety.

Anonymous said...

Christians are by far the most giving in America, and Americans are by far the most giving in the world. Apparently, no one notices what goes on in the world when 300 million Christians are under persection or what goes on in Darfur right now?