Do You Want To Debate Me On the Existence of God?

I am challenged to a debate about once a month. Recently I was challenged to a debate by three people within the space of two days. So if you want to debate me then Hear Ye This!

I've already made an opening statement in my book! Get it and read it. Our debate proposition will be this one: "The Christian faith should be rejected by modern civilized scientifically literate people." Now it's your turn. Get my book and respond to it chapter by chapter. You respond to it as you can on your blog or website.

Reviews of My Book:
Eddie Tabash Recommends it.
Norman Geisler Recommends it.
Christopher Hitchens Recommends it.
Andrew Atkinson was Led to Deconvert Because of it.
The Nature of Our Arguments.

When I was recently challenged to a debate I asked the challenger what exactly he wanted to debate. Here's what I wrote (revised slightly):

Would you like to defend the existence of the social Trinitarian God (versus an anti-social Trinitarian God) of the Bible (which had a long process of formation and of borrowing material from others) who never began to exist and will never cease to exist (even though everything we experience has a beginning and an end), who never learned any new truths, who does not think (for thinking demands weighing temporal alternatives), who is not free with respect to deciding his own nature, who revealed himself through a poor medium (history) in a poor era (ancient times), who condemns all of humanity for the sins of the first human pair, who commanded genocide, who allows intense suffering in this world (yet does not follow the same moral code he commands believers to follow), whose Son (the 2nd person of the trinity) became incarnate in Jesus (even though no one has ever made sense of a person who is 100% man and 100% divine) to be punished for our sins (even though there is no correlation between punishment and forgiveness) who subsequently bodily arose from the dead (even though the believer in miracles has an almost impossible double-burden of proof here) and now lives embodied forever in a “spiritual” human body to return in the future, who will return to earth in the parousia (even though the NT is clear that the end of all kingdoms and the establishment of God's kingdom was to be in their generation), who sent the 3rd person of the trinity to lead his followers into "all truth" (yet fails in every generation to do this), who will also judge us based upon what conclusions we reach about the existence of this God and what he has done (paralleling the ancient barbaric thought police), and who will reward believers by taking away their freedom and punish the dammed by letting them retain their freedom?

Interesting hypothesis, if so. This is such a large claim. The larger the claim is, the harder it is to defend it.

123 comments:

GordonBlood said...

Wow that wasnt polemical and completely nonsense at all...
John noone in their right mind would try to "prove" empirically that God is triune, im beginning to really think you never read Aquinas. I think a reasonable person could prove that in all liklihood God exists and prove that Christianity best explains that existence through certain public data but many of the points you made were unprovable (that Jesus died for the sins of everyone has many interpretations, that God demanded genocide is using a modern term in a very innapropriate context etc etc. So no, I dont think any reasonable person, including persons far more intelligent and educated then you or I, would take you up on that sort of challenge just as I wouldnt expect you to prove to me the theory of evolution by showing, step by step, every exact process and explanation for each species.

Shygetz said...

I think a reasonable person could prove that in all liklihood God exists and prove that Christianity best explains that existence through certain public data but many of the points you made were unprovable (that Jesus died for the sins of everyone has many interpretations, that God demanded genocide is using a modern term in a very innapropriate context etc etc.

I think that's kinda the point; Christians buy into this part and parcel. When you make the (in my mind) outrageous assertion that a reasonable person could prove that Christianity best explains the existence of God, you subscribe to either these beliefs or similar, equally incredible beliefs. This is why deism is cut so much more slack by skeptics than Christianity. It is one thing to say an ineffable intelligence exists. It's quite another to say "Yes, God exists, and I happen to know a great deal of detail about what He's like, what He wants, and how He's interfered in history."

So no, I dont think any reasonable person, including persons far more intelligent and educated then you or I, would take you up on that sort of challenge just as I wouldnt expect you to prove to me the theory of evolution by showing, step by step, every exact process and explanation for each species.

Ah, but evolution doesn't claim to know exactly how all that stuff happened. Which of John's points is not attested to by Christianity?

GordonBlood said...

Shygetz biology as you well know makes many claims which cannot be proved but which do best explain the data at hand. Inductive reasoning is at the heart of science today and to negate the principle of induction would put most natural scientists out of a job. The Christian tradition, as I said, does not claim that it can PROVE that God is triune among some other things which John wrote. Indeed I myself do not say I know a terrible amount about God just as my dog or cat does not know a terrible amount about me. However, I do believe that we can know enough about God to have some sort of relationship. As for outrageous assertions I find naturalism (and even before I took Christianity seriously) incredibly absurd. The idea that matter has just always existed in the natural physical universe (which you pretty much have to believe as a naturalist) seems to me to sound more reminiscient of a dull myth than a coherent theory of everything.

Karl Betts said...

John: I read a pice of Dinesh D'Souza's work where he summarzes Kant's Critiques to challenge the epistemic paradigm of modern science. Here's my reaction to D'Souza's fatal choice to use Kant. I beleive it serves as a good reason to turn your offer down as well, Not to take away your fun, here ---
-----------------------------------------------
By summarizing Kant’s take on the Categories from The Critiques, Dinesh D’Souza introduces a double-edged sword.

Kant rightly takes abstract reasoning about God and other metaphysical assertions to task. Kant also raises the standard for empiricism at the epistemic level and challenges epistemic assumptions to this very day. Contemporary philosophers are still debating issues that have been impacted by Hume, Kant and a host of Enlightenment thinkers!

Kant’s Critiques serve, however, to repudiate dogmatic metaphysical knowledge much more severely than the case for empirical, epistemological justification and how these functions serve modern science today.

Let’s not forget that scholars debate just how Kant really felt about religion, and many believe that he had hoped (Reason Within the Bounds of Religion Alone) that he might develop intuitive categories , using the role of destiny and hope and ethical (pure practical reason) to be at least indicative that God may exist. Some suggest that Kant intended to make room for theism to have its place in his overall schema, but abandoned the idea for other priorities. Again, this is under debate by Kantian scholars and is likely relative to what era of Kant we are talking about.

So, it isn’t purely off the wall to suggest that Kant’s views can be compatible with religion, even Christianity, but we can say that Kant’s views on how we know (or do not know) God exists, or how revelation or tradition has authority over us is extremely opposed to Classical Christianity, either Evangelical or Scholastic (philosophically, the former being very similar to the latter).

Probably the most insulting of all, is that D’Souza places the Kantian paradigm of epistemology as the be-all and end-all of empirical epistemic paradigms. That may not be too far off in a theological sense. Post-kantian continental philosophy (at risk of generalization) has taken a posture of skepticism and epistemic nihilism, opting for romantic, existential, phenomenological studies of religion instead. This is not a value judgment. Philosophical Theology (articulated by Paul Tillich, for example) could very well serve to finish the work that Kant had hoped to do in terms of the categories of intuition as it relates to religion. There may be other ways of telepathically, or intuitionally knowing that has not been discovered yet, that may very well fit into future scientific paradigms as well as religious paradigms. Without having to subject belief to the rigors of epistemic justification and scientific verification by current standards, there is much freedom for exploration in philosophical theology, thanks to Kant.

However, the question needs to asked, what about the contemporary work being done in epistemology as a framework for modern scientific inquiry? Within the last 50 years, promising models of epistemology that fully address Kant’s objections, and can assert justified beliefs about external states of affairs. Some models are working to create a coherent world view that may allow external epistemology to co-exist with internal epistemology.

Here’s the kicker, people. Kant’s double edged sword is finally much sharper in routing metaphysical, theological propositions than adversely impacting prima facie epistemic propositions. It never hurts to ask philosophers of science to justify their beliefs. The thing is, philosophers of science can justify their beliefs much more acutely than ever before, even in the face of Kant’s Critiques. Unfortunately, we theologians have a long, long way to go.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Karl.

GB you really need to take a critical thinking class. Your comprehension skills are showing again. Zip up, okay? No one is talking about PROVING anything here. In a debate each side should show their position is the probable one. And when it comes to showing that this God is probable my opponent must be able to show the coherence in what he believes about a triune God, that's all.

GordonBlood said...

Technique #57 for low-blowing people- constantly claim they need a critical thinking class
Really John I get a great deal of amusement about this because almost everytime you accuse me of this you misunderstand what im saying. The idea that you could have a serious debate about whether or not God is triune is nonsense. Any Christian would basically go about it by saying that Jesus claimed God was triune (or strongly implied it) and because Jesus was raised we should therefore trust Jesus that God is triune. Therefore the debate would automatically be about whether or not there is a God and if so did that God raise Jesus from the dead. Again, basic Aquinas, the idea of a triune God is more-less incomprehensible to our brain. As for the critical thinking class John ive seen you try to pull off some pretty rediculous arguments so you might want to lay off making such suggestions, especially when you arent fooling anyone in that its just your attempt to stifle discussion.

Caleb Wimble said...

Gordonblood: "Really John I get a great deal of amusement about this because almost everytime you accuse me of this you misunderstand what im saying."

Then I suggest you work on your clarity a bit more in the future. It seems that you spend a great deal of time informing all of us that we "misunderstand" what you seem to be (obviously) saying.

Jim Jordan said...

Ahem. Sounds like a "Crafty Car Salesman's Gospel" to me.

"I'm going to give you top dollar for your trade-in (don't be surprised if I give you JUST a dollar, though). I'll throw in all the accessories on your new car (at 10 times what it costs us) and we'll even give it to you with a full tank (we really need to get rid of that old gas before the tank rusts out completely)." :-)

Oh, I get it. You don't believe.
Regards.

Brother Crow said...

And of course, let us not forget, that the words of the bible do not mean what they say in english, because they were written in another language that has nuances of meaning out the yinyang and can be interpreted by the appropriate bible scholar to mean pretty much whatever the heck they mean (trying to be nice here GB). GB's arguments are standard operating procedure for christians when they don't understand or can't really debate the argument...they disparage the credentials or integrity or honesty or spirituality of whomever they are debating. Really, makes me weary and justifies our position in atheism. John, I hope that one day you will find someone on this site who has the equipment to bring intelligent debate to the forum and will do it without attacking you or your knowledge or integrity.

Jason said...

Crow,

I'm not sure why you're criticizing Christians for choosing to look beyond the surface meaning of a word in order to uncover an answer or meaning. I say fair play to them for putting in the extra effort. If examining a word here and there is what must be done to defend someone's belief, why would you attack that? Sitting back and disparaging the credentials of the very people you're claiming to be so disparaging does nothing to get anyone closer to the truth.

J.L. Hinman said...

are you talking about my challenge? cut the gimmicks.

if you want to debate let's get serious about the terms of the debate ok?

Brother Crow said...

Jason, I am not disparaging anyone's credentials. Hebrew scholar? Well done. However, there is no question that a conservative christian Hebrew scholar will have biases that may effect their scholarship.

The point is this: why the word games? I have seen it played so often...where the meaning of a verse or the concept or doctrine being expounded is gleaned from extreme interpretations. I refer to Joseph's "Problem of Communication." If the message is so important, why did God utilize such a questionable medium as a primitive, culturally-corrupted form of language as ANCIENT Hebrew or Aramaic or even early testamental greek? Those languages are so imprecise and allow for multiple interpretations, not precision in interpretation. To me, that says that either God is stupid in using that type of medium, or there is no god and those writings are simple the very human, very flawed superstitions of a very ancient and scientifically ignorant people.

So you know, I respect and value anyone - atheist, theist, or christian - who is a scholar and strives to understand available data without bias.

Joe E. Holman said...

GordonBlood said...

"The Christian tradition, as I said, does not claim that it can PROVE that God is triune among some other things which John wrote. Indeed I myself do not say I know a terrible amount about God just as my dog or cat does not know a terrible amount about me. However, I do believe that we can know enough about God to have some sort of relationship."

My reply...

That's false. You know nothing about this being you serve--only what seems pleasant to you to "know" (to think and believe) about him.

You envision a being like you, a really powerful version of yourself, a being who thinks and acts like YOU think he should.

You couldn't define this being if ten thousand lives depended on it, much less a triune type of being.

(JH)

Nightmare said...

GordonBlood said...
Wow that wasnt polemical and completely nonsense at all...


Woof. I've seen alot of screwed up stuff from those of the xian ilk but this takes the cake. Complaining about the use of polemics on a site totally devoted to polemics. Damn, but that takes some brainpower...fits with the second part of that statement though.

Jason said...

Crow,

You're disparaging anyone who decides to examine individual words and their meanings, as if there's something inherently wrong with this.

They're only word "games" when you don't agree with the conclusion. If the conclusion agrees with the rest of Scripture, it can be taken as sound proof. If it doesn't, then it should be called into question.

"Those languages are so imprecise and allow for multiple interpretations, not precision in interpretation."

No Scriptural doctrines have been corrupted by so-called to be flawed intepretations. The teachings are the same today as they were when they were written.

Joseph said...

Jason, what Bro Crow may be getting at is the fact that reliance upon Greek & Hebrew dictionaries alone will only give you the bare sense of a word's meaning, not necessarily the word's meaning in its particular grammatical context (per each Scripture in question). Hebrew and Greek words have also evolved in meaning over time (just like English). Some words are even archaic and hard to understand. Thus, it is deceivingly simple to look at Vine's or another dictionary and say, "See, this is the meaning of the word" or (worse yet) "The translators made a mistake here!" (most modern translations are quite reliable). In summary, the process of Biblical scholarship is often extraordinarily complex. That's why Bible scholars and translators hold some heavy duty credentials and don't just pack a pocket dictionary of Hebrew/Greek at their side.

GordonBlood said...

Hmm afew things to write here.
1. Brothercrow im not attacking John's... credentials? Really I put the question mark there because I dont know where your getting that and I dont see how that has anything to do with what I said. Noone in their right mind would argue over things like God being trinitarian, that is something which you believe through revelation. Thats why I refer to Thomas Aquinas, who made the exact same statement in the Contra Gentiles.
2. Joe Holman- Joe first of all I recognize God is nothing like me. Before I got out of my hazy form of ignorant unknowing very much nominal deistic theism I was very much against social justice (I didnt want to be taxed etc etc), I felt pre-marital sex and other forms of that activity were absolutely fine (though I avoided them because I was still fairly young) and I really was quite arrogant when it came to how I treated the poor, homosexuals (I grew up in a fairly conservative but non-religious area) etc. So dont tell me that I simply graphed onto God the characteristics I like, Feuerbach is not going to work in my case and in the massive majority of Christians cases, only for those who never really thought about the implications of the words of Christ (which, ironically, most American fundamentalists dont at all)
3. Nightmare as far as I know John wants this to be a more less serious forum. Ive never gotten a great deal of hints by his writings that most of this is just an ignorant polemic.

Shygetz said...

jason said: No Scriptural doctrines have been corrupted by so-called to be flawed intepretations. The teachings are the same today as they were when they were written.

Weren't you the guy who just pointed out on another thread that no one has any idea what the Hebrew word translated as "cud" in Leviticus 11 really means? How can you claim that the teachings are the same if no one knows what some of the words used in the teachings mean?

Gordonblood, Loftus is right. You are trying to avoid my argument with non sequiters about inductive logic, when you were the one who first used the word "prove", not me. We are talking about justifying belief, not "proving" in a mathematical sense. I did not take you to task for your non-technical use of the word "prove" in your comment, and merely echoed it in mine.

You think naturalism is flawed; fine, I can accept that. I do not hold naturalism as a dogmatic belief; there is still insufficient evidence to conclude with certainty that material naturalism is true. However, this blog is not named "Debunking Deism". I'll state my claim again; as a Christian, you do not merely claim that a god exists. You claim that one and only one god exists, and you know in considerable detail what He is like (omnipotnent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, etc.), what He wants, how He has intervened in the history of humans, and what He has planned for the future. You must justify all of these beliefs with a proportional weight of evidence in order to claim that they are all rational.

As I mentioned, there is a very good reason that skeptics cut deists a large amount of slack; their claims are not nearly so extraordinary as yours. Can you even justify belief in the resurrection? And if so, your work has only started. The Gospels claim that resurrection was actually pretty common in first century Jerusalem; indeed, all of the graves of the saints opened, and people waked around at the same time that Jesus supposedly did. What if Jesus was resurrected just as a saint, and not as a God, and people misinterpreted the empty tomb. You've got a large but unspecified number of resurrected saints to choose from; you must justify belief that Jesus was the right one. You must then justify belief that Jesus said what we think he said about God. You must justify the belief that the epistles were accurately revealing the will of God (none of them were resurrected, after all). You must justify the truth of the OT (or, if you prefer, the "truthiness" of the non-literal text). You must justify the non-scriptural doctrine you believe in, including the doctrine of canonization.

Christians claim an awful lot compared to deists and atheists. If you want all of your beliefs to be considered rational, you have to justify all of it.

John, it sounds like this guy is looking to defend the deist position. Don't fall for it. The best you can hope for is the mild victory of demonstrating that his is an unjustified belief that has no evidence against it, and even that requires a considerable knowledge of field theory. Make him defend the God he worships.

John W. Loftus said...

GB: Noone in their right mind would argue over things like God being trinitarian, that is something which you believe through revelation.

If I were to debate the existence of God then I have every right to argue against that revelation by showing that Christians cannot make sense of their belief in the trinity.

Shygetz said...

Before I got out of my hazy form of ignorant unknowing very much nominal deistic theism I was very much against...(list of stuff)

So did you change your morality because you are convinced that this new morality is better? Or did you change your morality because you think God said to, and you do not feel you are qualified to say it is better or worse?

I am seriously interested. I am wanting to write a post on a topic related to this, but I don't want to attack a strawman, and you seem like one of the more liberal Christians on this blog now. I'd like to get your honest perspective on why you changed your morality.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

The idea of debating about the existance of God seems interesting since it is a matter of belief and trust. I'm not sure - can one be argued into trusting??

I think it's honest to say that people are in the habit of misinterpreting and misunderstanding one another and God. It happens here regularly.

This post reminds me of when Y'shua asked those around Him who they thought He was. Even though He was standing amidst these people face to face, each one came up with a different response. I think He is gracious to allow us our different perceptions - MMM

Brother Crow said...

Jason (I'm responding to a comment a few back)you said "No Scriptural doctrines have been corrupted by so-called to be flawed intepretations." You obviously are unaware of the entire soteriological debate centered around the Revised Standard's Version use of the word "saved." There are many other essential doctrines that arose from the creation of the RSV that called conservative theology into question, and raised questions about "liberal" bias in the creation of the RSV. That is one tiny example of something that happened in the 60's. Yes indeed essential doctrine has been corrupted and confused by abuse of language (or proper use of it). That is why there are liberal and conservative ideologies under the 'christian' banner. Pay attention!

Jason said...

Shy, Christians aren't required to follow the same food laws as the OT Israelites so like I said, no Scriptural doctrines have been corrupted as a result of flawed translations.

Jason said...

Crow,

Your example shows precisely why examining the Greek or Hebrew is invaluable in terms of solving English translation issues. At the end, the 'essential doctrine' remains intact.

Shygetz said...

Your example shows precisely why examining the Greek or Hebrew is invaluable in terms of solving English translation issues. At the end, the 'essential doctrine' remains intact.

You must be misunderstanding his argument, then. How do you think the translators make their translations if not by studying the Greek and Hebrew texts? What about numerous areas where the text is known to be altered? You may *think* that you have rooted out all of the spurious passages, but many honest Christians felt the same before the story of Jesus and the stoning of the adultress was found to be fake. You make a bald assertion, sir, that flies in the face of evidence when you state that all Scriptural doctrine is uncorrupted.

DBULL said...

Jesus said that He would give some men the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would lead them into what the truth is or is not. You guys admit that you are not believers, so you have zero chance to be filled with the Holy Spirit so your search for the truth stopped before it ever started. Your prior experience was with an apostate christianity that I myself condemn as a lie, because it's apostate-which made you what as part of that system? A truly sincere apostate? The bible does not say that 1. your phD , MD, ThD, ABCD degree , your 2. superior reasoning skills, 3. other mens scholarly study, 4. men's traditions and collective opinion or 5. anything else besides the Holy Spirit would lead you to the truth.

<< 1 Corinthians 1:20 >>
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

^^^that about sums up all the contributers to this blog

2 Thes 2:10b-12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

You each have your own reasons for refusing to believe the truth, and taking pleasure in unrighteousness. You can blow hotair at me all day, but how are you going to defend yourselves before Him?

Jason said...

I agree that words here or there have been dropped or changed but this has never been able to affect a Bible teaching that spans multiple verses, chapters and books. So here's a challenge for you: show me a single Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrine that is different today then it was a 1000 years ago because of alterations during the translating process.

FYI, the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus (400AD) are two of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Bible, the Aleppo Codex (920AD) and Leningrad Codex (1008AD) are the oldest complete Hebrew manuscripts of the Tanakh, while the Dead Sea Scrolls, written pre-100AD, include text from every OT book except two. There's no evidence in any of these texts that the teachings in the Bibles of then are any different then what they are today.

Jesus is still the Son of God, there were still 12 disciples, Moses still led the Israelites out of Egypt, baptism is still required, the old law is no longer in place, etc. etc. etc.

This is the face of evidence.

Joseph said...

"Jesus said that He would give some men the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would lead them into what the truth is or is not." Dbull, better check with Jason. According to our previous debate, he says those promises are just for the apostles. On the topic of the Holy Spirit--since we're already a little off topic--how do you know that someone has the Holy Spirit? Can you see it? According to Galatians 5:22-23 the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, etc, etc. But I know atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, and Mormons who demonstrate those fruits. Must mean we all have the Spirit, because that's the only empirical evidence the Bible offers up to make that distinction.

"Your prior experience was with an apostate christianity that I myself condemn as a lie, because it's apostate-which made you what as part of that system?" There are so many strands of Christianity that it seems the height of arrogance for you to pronounce judgment on all of our former denominational affiliations. From the sound of it, you've probably had little experience with other churches outside of your own theological bubble.

"The bible does not say that 1. your phD , MD, ThD, ABCD degree , your 2. superior reasoning skills, 3. other mens scholarly study, 4. men's traditions and collective opinion or 5. anything else besides the Holy Spirit would lead you to the truth." Um, how do you think you have a reliable translation of the Bible aside from scholarly study? And if the Holy Spirit is leading Christians into the truth, why is there so much confusion among Christians. You can't get two in a room together to agree on a coherent system of belief, aside from the nebulous, "We believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior."

John writes in 1 John that the test of a real Christian over an antichrist is whether or not a person acknowledges Jesus as having come in the flesh. Most of us believe Jesus was a real, historical figure who lives and breathed, so that rules us out as antichrists.

On the matter of reason, you denounce it, yet you cannot avoid using it for every facet of life--including your comments here. I very seriously doubt that you totally disengage your mind when it comes to reading Scripture, otherwise you would be requiring the Christian women you know to wear veils and remain silent in the church.

jim coufal said...

If the triune God cannot be proven, why then the need, common among most Christian denominations, for believers to attest to the following "Apostle's Creed?"

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell. [See Calvin]

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

dbull, ther cirtcular reasoning of your comments is so childish as to be unworthy of response.

Jim Coufal

WoundedEgo said...

>>>DBull:...So here's a challenge for you: show me a single Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrine that is different today then it was a 1000 years ago because of alterations during the translating process....

Hi, DBull. I come from a different place from many of the posters here, so I have my own "flavor" and my own emphases. I say that because I am hoping that you will not hear other people when I speak. What I say is in many way different from other people. So I beg you to consider it separately on its own merits, rather than lumping me in with a group. We are all inclined to put people into our left or right pocket. I ask you to consider me as an individual. I don't speak for the group. Ok? Thanks.

I like a challenge. Here's my entry...

You refer to the "Holy Spirit." Unfortunately, the word "spirit" is a Middle English invention that did not appear in the Hebrew or Greek languages. It reflects a philosophy that had not been pondered in the Hebrew world. It was not even extant in the first century. The philosophy that espoused this concept and gave birth to this word is "dualism." It is the idea that there exists a "spirit world." The Hebrews had no such concept. Nor did the first century Christians.

The biblical notion was that of intelligent breath. Ie: God gave his own breath (because Jehovah was basically a man) and the dirt became self-aware, and God aware.

So, this fulfills your challenge.

I go into greater detail in my book, "Bible Shockers!"

http://bibleshockers.com

Bill Ross

Shygetz said...

dbull said: The bible does not say that 1. your phD , MD, ThD, ABCD degree , your 2. superior reasoning skills, 3. other mens scholarly study, 4. men's traditions and collective opinion or 5. anything else besides the Holy Spirit would lead you to the truth.

If you think that scholastic study and reason cannot lead to truth, then go back to faith healing and quit using our stuff.

jason said: So here's a challenge for you: show me a single Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrine that is different today then it was a 1000 years ago because of alterations during the translating process.

First, you must decide what is a "Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrine". I just showed you how the doctrine of "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is false. While you may argue that it is not Bible-wide, NOTHING is. Song of Solomon does not mention Jesus as Son of God; neither do most of the epistles (IIRC). If something is mentioned solely in the Gospels, you have to take into consideration that the Gospels are thought (due to considerable evidence) to be largely plagarisms of Mark, and thus largely a single source repeated multiple times.

So, you have to insert your judgement as to which doctrines are substantial enough as to be inerrant, and which are inconsequential. Do you do this circularly (i.e. "whatever is not currently doubted by Biblical criticism is inerrant")? If so, then your faith is doomed to be ever-changing. This may not be a bad thing in and of itself, but it is a version of the "God of the gaps" reasoning; the Bible is inerrant until it is shown not to be. Is there a threshold of repetitions before a doctrine is sufficiently spread to be considered inerrant? If so, what is the threshold, and how did you come to it?

Do you deny my characterizations of your position? Am I making a false claim on your behalf? I am not trying to. Please point out my error.

AG said...

Hello again,

Well it has finally reached the point where i must say goodbye to you all here (like you didnt see it coming). Thankyou for the thoughfull discussions and for strengthening my faith with these discussions. I have come to a couple of conclusions about this site.
1. You are a group of committed 'debunkers' and for that i give you props!
2. I believe that for all the discussion that goes on here, most is argued on totally different ballparks and thus not genuine arguments can come about because we do not start at the same. You atheist people are just as messed up as most of the christians out there and in my mind seem to be no better off for leaving the 'faith', even though i think you left a religion and a church but never really left the 'faith' deep down (i am sure this will stir you up).
3. Whether you like it or not, you will never debunk or bring down christianinty but good luck trying to debiunk as many 'people' as you can, i am sure it will make you feel a little more secure knowing that you have 'converted' others to your side, its about winning right?. The beast is too big to destroy, and for all the chatter and arguing here (which is still so modernistic and emperical in its approach and weak in its philosophical apprroach, where you be when postmodernity begins to take over?) you will never have all the answers even though you expect all the 'christians' to have all the answers (thats a real even playing field)
4. finally, to all the christians here who post, do not waste your time trying to 'convert' people here, they are not open to genuine discussion, and when you stumpt them with something that cannot be emperically measured like 'love' or the very thoughts in someones mind they change the goal posts of the argument. Use your time you spend arguing with this site to do some deep theoligical study yourself. In the end we only have relationships to gauge to give us context for life, and those relationships cannot be boiled down to science or cosmology or to whatever other 'stuff' this site would try to make of it. They have missed what christianity is all about, relationship. You can argue greek, hebrew, history, and propositional truth all you like but you never will debunk the 'faith'. Most of the contributers seem like nice people even though their comments lack any humility or desire for open discussion.
anyway till we meet again?
all the best
:o)

zilch said...

ag says:

Whether you like it or not, you will never debunk or bring down christianinty but good luck trying to debiunk as many 'people' as you can, i am sure it will make you feel a little more secure knowing that you have 'converted' others to your side, its about winning right?

The jig's up, guys: ag has seen through us. Lucifer: forgive me- another soul lost to Christ! But evil will win eventually! Muahahaha!

ag- at least for me, while I enjoy debating the existence of God, the most important thing is that people behave nicely, regardless of what they believe. If you're ever in Vienna, drop me a line, and the drinks are on me.

Jon said...

Alright, I'll bite. I have to admit I'm coming late to this party and though I've read all the posts I'm wondering where to begin. I've attended church all my life, love my faith and am prepared to defend it against all rational attack. There is a rumour going around that Christians are in comfortable denial. Though there is quite a bit I don't know I believe my religious views to be as grounded and logical as any other beliefs I hold, and am prepared to show it.

Nightmare said...

Gordonblood said....
3. Nightmare as far as I know John wants this to be a more less serious forum. Ive never gotten a great deal of hints by his writings that most of this is just an ignorant polemic


The fact that you mistake the original post for "ignorant" polemic, plus the fact that you obviously don't know the meaning of the word polemic, just reinforces my initial assessment.

The original post (minus the parenthetical portions) is precisely what the majority Christianity believes, and thus the claims that they (ie you) must defend if you wish to be taken seriously. By labeling such a notion "ignorant" you unwittingly denigrate and undermine your own religion. (Thank you btw, saves us effort ;) )

I am harsh though for a reason. Like others of your ilk, you remind me of myself a decade or so ago - there was a time when I made similar statements to the ones you do. I however grew up and left behind the Lie that I once clung to, just as John Loftus and the others here did. It is my wish that you and others like you learn from us, one way or the other. But then I am a dreamer.

Jon said...

I'll defend, but first I want to know some things.

Why do you consider the Bible to be borrowed from other sources?

Why do you write that everything we experience has a beginning and end as if that should mean everything you expect to experience MUST have a beginning and end?

Why do you define thinking as weighing temporal alternatives? Why do you feel God is incapable of this?

In what nature would you prefer God to exist?

What better medium would you prefer? Why is history insufficient?

What is poor about ancient times? Some complain Jesus took too long coming!

Why do you feel he condemns all of humanity for the sins of the first human pair? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to be sure because there is more than one way to go on this.

What area of his moral code do you refer to when you say God broke it? Again, I'm not disagreeing, I don't even think it's that big of a deal that God broke it, I'm just wondering where you're coming from.

Why do you feel none have ever made sense of a person who is 100% man and 100% divine? Why do you feel they are obligated to?

Why is there no correlation between punishment and forgiveness? I disagree entirely. Think of it as paying a debt. Loads has been written on this subject in particular.

What double-burden of proof do I incur upon claiming the resurrection?

Why do you suggest the 3rd person has failed to yield his followers into all truth? Why is it not the fault of the followers?

Why do you suggest God judges us when Christianity clearly explains we judge ourselves? Hell's doors are locked from the inside!

What freedom am I losing as a reward that the damned retain? Again, I might not even disagree, but let's get down to specifics.

This is a large claim but a simple one, simpler than the way you have described it at any rate. Most of the issues you have brought up are easily defended or admitted. Indeed many volumes have been dedicated to explaining these exact points. I accept your challenge. I'm no scholar but I'll offer what I can.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, the questions I asked are rhetorical ones. It should be obvious that I don't think you can defend such a large claim. You don't even understand the arguments. If I have to tell you what is meant then you need to read up on these arguments before trying to defend what you believe. If you want to debate me do what I said in red. Everything is argued against in my book. If you do not wish to read it then you really don't want to engage me in a debate.

Cheers.

Jon said...

Send me a copy and I'll read it. I'm not going to go out of my way because I've long given up on the possibility of hearing anything new. I've long understood the issues. The reason I asked is because there are as many positions on these issues as there are discussers. I'm wondering why you brought them up because I want to know which evidence you specifically use to support your position. I'm prepared to defend a similar claim to the one you describe, but lets be positive on what it is you're describing.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, based on what I'm reading from you I don't believe you can defend these things above a High School understanding of the issues. Are you so poor you can't buy the book or something? I don't have any spare copies to give away.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, based on what I'm seeing from you, I think my book would destroy your faith, like it has other challengers. Perhaps you shouldn't read it after all.

Cheers.

Jon said...

Wow you are arrogant. Is this how most of your debates proceed? You're definitely not making a good case for your book. Let the arguments speak for themselves. If you're not going to make any arguments then withdraw your challenge. Insults only cheapen conversation.

By the way, I am so poor. I just spent five years in post-secondary education.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, you don't understand what I was doing here, and if you lack the comprehension skills necessary to understand so little of a thing, then how can I expect you to understand my arguments, much less defend your beliefs against them?

Anyway, my challenge stands. If you don't want to respond to my opening statement found in my book, then that's fine. I'll understand. You need not justify why you don't want to do so.

Jon said...

You could always send the opening statement to me.

Jon said...

...the opening statement alone, electronically, I mean.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon said...I've long given up on the possibility of hearing anything new.

From the looks of your questions about my original post, you will indeed hear something new. I gurantee it!

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, (1) there are things I say in my book that I do not want to get in the hands of people who are only interested in defaming my character, since it's a tell all type of book where I tell people the bad about me. If they are going to do that then I won't give it to them for free. (2) If I do this with you I have no guarantee, even if you promise otherwise, that you won't post the whole book so people won't have to buy it. Do you think the worker is worthy of his wages? (3) Anyone who is interested in reading through the book will buy it.

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, take a look at these recommendations of my book: Link, and Link, and Link.

Cheers.

Jon said...

Maybe I'll add it to my Christmas list. But the way it looks on Amazon, it wouldn't even get here till mid-March. You want me to wait till then?

How about this: I believe the argument from morality found in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is the strongest case for a creator. Could you reply to that for me?

John W. Loftus said...

Jon, see this.

Cheers.

Jason said...

Shy,

Based on your response, I’ll just have to assume there are no Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrines that are different today then they were 1000 years ago because of alterations during the translating process.

Jennifer said...

Woundedego,
Unfortunately, the word "spirit" is a Middle English invention that did not appear in the Hebrew or Greek languages.

I beg to differ. Check into the full meaning of the word "eros". I can recommend a great book if you can't find any sources. The Greeks DID believe in a spirit, or ethereal, world.

WoundedEgo said...

>>>I beg to differ. Check into the full meaning of the word "eros". I can recommend a great book if you can't find any sources. The Greeks DID believe in a spirit, or ethereal, world.

Hi, Jennifer. No need to beg!

What would you want to add beyond this?:

****
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_eros
****

As to "ethereal":

**********
http://m-w.com/dictionary/ethereal
ethereal
One entry found.
ethereal
Main Entry: ethe·re·al
Pronunciation: \i-ˈthir-ē-əl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1513
1 a: of or relating to the regions beyond the earth b: celestial, heavenly c: unworldly, spiritual
2 a: lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible b: marked by unusual delicacy or refinement 'this smallest, most ethereal, and daintiest of birds — William Beebe' c: suggesting the heavens or heaven
3: relating to, containing, or resembling a chemical ether
**********

Bill Ross
http://bbleshockers.blogspot.com

WoundedEgo said...

This is BDAG on the First Century usage of the term "ERWS":

***
ἔρως, ωτος, ὁ (s. ἐράω; Hom. et al.; Herm. Wr., pap; Pr 7:18; 30:16; Philo; Jos., Ant. 1, 302, C. Ap. 2, 244; Just. D. 8, 1 of Justin’s passionate interest in the prophets and Christ’s friends; Tat. 1:3; Ath. 30:3) ardor, fondness ὁ ἐμὸς ἔ. ἐσταύρωται my ardor (for the world) has been crucified (cp. Gal 6:14) IRo 7:2.—S. ἀγάπη 1 end.—B. 1110. DELG s.v. ἔραμαι. Sv.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. "Based on Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Wr̲terbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frhchristlichen [sic] Literatur, sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker." (3rd ed.) (395). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
***

Bill Ross
http://biblehockers.blogspot.com

Jon said...

Either way I don't see the point in differentiating between "intelligent breath" and "holy spirit". They've always meant the same thing. Heck, the reason I already knew that the holy spirit was originally referred to as God's breath is because it was taught to me in church! To Christians it's the same concept.

WoundedEgo said...

Jon... I would really love to know which Church/denomination teaches that. I have never had a reaction such as yours. (Nor your position on slavery. Is that also the position of your Church/denomination?)

Thanks so much,

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.com

Jason said...

Jon's right - why separate them?

Jon said...

I regular attend churches of different denominations. I guess the one I've found the most in common with is Free Methodist but I've been comfortable in all protestant denominations.

Jon said...

To expand on the last post: I've been roommates with Pentecostals, Brethren, Free Methodists, etc. and have learned much from them. I regularly attend Baptist and Evangelical churches but often I do not take the time to learn the denomination of the church I visit. In fact I have no idea what the denominations of the two churches I currently attend are. The difference between denominations is overemphasized by those who do not understand Christianity.

WoundedEgo said...

Jon, I found this on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confession_of_Faith_%28United_Methodist%29

It does not seem to set for the idea of holy breath, but rather of an entirely different person. Ie: the traditional idea that God is three persons, including a son and his father and a spirit that proceeds from both of them.

I'm also wondering how ***Free*** Methodists would be so cozy with the idea of human slavery.

You have also taken another unbiblical position, and one historically disavowed postion that the practice of denominating (separating into named sects) is not a big deal for those who understand Christianity. I mean, Paul said it was antithetical. It was unpracticed until Lutheranism - and then it was taken with great seriousness. Lately, it is like divorce - a very forgivable sin.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Jon said...

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confession_of_Faith_%28United_Methodist%29

It does not seem to set for the idea of holy breath, but rather of an entirely different person. Ie: the traditional idea that God is three persons, including a son and his father and a spirit that proceeds from both of them."

Yes, this is what I believe. And I think this person can be described as the holy breath of God. The trinity is a difficult concept. It suggests something (3 people in 1) that could not possibly be true in this world. We have never experienced anything like it so it is difficult to both explain and understand. Heck, I doubt anyone REALLY understands what is meant. I also don't think we should be afraid to admit such doubts. I don't need to understand molecular structure to know that eating makes me healthy.

"I'm also wondering how ***Free*** Methodists would be so cozy with the idea of human slavery."

You could always write the head office. Don't lump me into the Free Methodists. I don't speak for them and they don't speak for me.

"You have also taken another unbiblical position, and one historically disavowed postion that the practice of denominating (separating into named sects) is not a big deal for those who understand Christianity. I mean, Paul said it was antithetical. It was unpracticed until Lutheranism - and then it was taken with great seriousness. Lately, it is like divorce - a very forgivable sin."

There is an important difference between the denominations of Paul's day and ours. They were split according to beliefs, and this wasn't even intentional. For most Christian communities the problem wasn't that they didn't want to believe what the disciples believed, it's that they had no idea what the disciples believed! See, it was really difficult to transfer information in those days. Most of Paul's journeys were dedicated to traveling to Christian communities to smooth out the finer theological points. Even then, Paul encouraged Christians to find common ground with each other, even if it meant setting aside minor disputes. The only line he drew was on the declaration that Jesus Christ was the son of God who died for our sins. To him anyone who believed that was a follower of Christ and should be welcomed. Of course I'm simplifying. He made some very condemning statements of certain congregations too. But I think I'll leave it at that for now.

It was a very serious matter up to Lutheranism for a similar reason. The Catholic church was paranoid that time and distance might alter their teachings. The last thing they wanted was for some senile border town priest to convince himself and his parish that there were actually three Sabbaths in a week, speaking with the authority of the Catholic church. The church grew over-paranoid, and this amplified exponentially with the more doctrine (especially the ultra-sophisticated ones) they added to the faith. I might not agree with their position, I wish they were a little braver in their tolerance, but I see their point of view.

Today the denominations all share common beliefs (except for extreme ones such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses). It is only in style that they differ. It's kind of funny how the big differentiation between modern churches is whether they let drummers in their worship band or not! My old worship band that played Elvis Costello and Arcade Fire would go over like a lead balloon at some churches! Not because of differences in theology (though I'm sure some would raise a few points), but because some folks just don't like rock. This is why the categorization of denominations is over-emphasized today. We might serve and worship differently, but we all believe the same thing, and if differences are found they are extremely minor and probably unintended.

Jon said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confession_of_Faith_%28United_Me

By the way, this link did not open a page for me. Repost?

Jennifer said...

Bill,
I do have more...I'll be back later when I have more time..tonight or tomorrow.

WoundedEgo said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confession_of_Faith_%28United_Methodist%29

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

WoundedEgo said...

I couldn't get it to work directly either. You'll need to cut and paste it into your browser.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.com

Shygetz said...

Based on your response, I’ll just have to assume there are no Biblically-taught, Bible-wide doctrines that are different today then they were 1000 years ago because of alterations during the translating process.

Why? Because you refuse to clarify yourself? If you leave the definition of "Biblically-taught, Bible-wide" nebulous, I have every expectation that I will be kicking at moving goalposts post haste. Pin yourself down to some standard and we can converse.

bpr said...

http://somebodyshould.blogspot.com/2007/05/blog-post.html

Jon said...

I assume (I think safely) that by Biblically-taught, Bible-wide he means doctrine that the vast majority of Christians accept.

You've made some strong claims about the "cast the first stone" story so you're going to have to give some strong evidence to support it. Pointing out that early manuscripts did not have the story while later ones did is not sufficient for the type of claims you make.

Jason said...

Why? Because you refuse to clarify yourself?

Doctrine is defined as "a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school" (WordNet)

What's an example of a system of beliefs that's been corrupted or changed due to faulty translations?

Shygetz said...

You've made some strong claims about the "cast the first stone" story so you're going to have to give some strong evidence to support it. Pointing out that early manuscripts did not have the story while later ones did is not sufficient for the type of claims you make.

It isn't present in the earliest manuscripts, and only appears relatively late. It is written in a style that is completely inconsistent with the rest of that Gospel, and indeed any of the other books of the Bible. What explanation would you give as to why it suddenly appeared where it previously was not, with a completely different style, telling a story that is told in no other scripture?

As far as a doctrine that has changed, I would point to the teachings of snake handlings/poison drinking. These are popular actions in many Charismatic and Pentacostal Chruches in the rural Southeast, and are based on Mark 16:17-18, which based on our earliest and best manuscripts is almost certainly a later addition.

You want more widespread, fine. The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is based on a mistranslation of the word "alma" in Isaiah by Matthew. "Alma" merely means young woman; "betulah" means virgin, and is used often in the OT.

You want an erroneous scripture that had an effect on post-scriptural theology, fine. The doctrine of the unitary Trinity (three god facets that are one God) is only explicitly referred to in 1 John 5:7-8, a spurious insertion so famous that it has it's own name, the Johannine Comma. Without this verse, there is no direct scriptural support for the idea of a unitary Trinity. The earliest manuscripts show in Matthew 24:36 that Jesus himself did not know when the end of the world would occur, indicating that He was not omniscient like His father, but then that passage was removed in later manuscripts, removing evidence against Jesus' omniscience.

You want to claim that this idea is not "Bible-wide"? Fine; then one can safely disregard any theology that does not directly appear in scripture more than once. So, toss out Herod's murder of the Innocents, the visits of the Magi, the birth of John the Baptist, the flight to Egypt, the manger story...and that's just dealing with the Nativity!

Jon said...

"It isn't present in the earliest manuscripts, and only appears relatively late. It is written in a style that is completely inconsistent with the rest of that Gospel, and indeed any of the other books of the Bible. What explanation would you give as to why it suddenly appeared where it previously was not, with a completely different style, telling a story that is told in no other scripture?"

I'm getting into the realm of speculation because I do not know too much in this area. Still...

What if it was added later on, written by someone else? If it happened, it happened, and it doesn't matter who said it did. Let's not shoot the messenger!

I actually have known about the unique history behind this passage for quite some time. When it appears in my bible is has a big warning sign around it reading, "The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11". There is no attempt to hide this information from Christians. (BTW the same warning appears before Mark 16:9)

I'm also interested in knowing how the style is different. I don't doubt that it is, I'd just like to know the specifics.

As for the rest of the post, you're raising quite a few points, and while they're all valid let's just pick one or two to discuss. I don't want this discussion to be spread thin. I found the following passage to be the most effective since it deals with a core belief in Christianity, so let's deal with it:

"The doctrine of the unitary Trinity (three god facets that are one God) is only explicitly referred to in 1 John 5:7-8, a spurious insertion so famous that it has it's own name, the Johannine Comma. Without this verse, there is no direct scriptural support for the idea of a unitary Trinity."

First I would like to point out that you haven't found CHANGES in scripture, you've found ADDITIONS. And the additions you have found didn't conflict with what was already accepted. Think of it as Bible 2.0.

To be honest I've never fully understood the idea of Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit being the same person. Personally I wouldn't even really care if we did away with the idea. It certainly wouldn't have any effect on my faith. In my view and as it relates to my life it is far from "essential doctrine". The Trinity is essential, not the single-personness of it.

Still, you've shown it to be a late addition, but you haven't shown it to be a false one, or even one that altered Christianity in a meaningful way. Like the other passages, Christians already recognize it as a late addition.

Also, this same doctrine is implied in other areas of the Bible. There are numerous passages in the New Testament that place the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit on the same footing. I don't see the difference in blessing someone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit without believing they are united.

"The earliest manuscripts show in Matthew 24:36 that Jesus himself did not know when the end of the world would occur, indicating that He was not omniscient like His father, but then that passage was removed in later manuscripts, removing evidence against Jesus' omniscience."

Jesus is certainly not omniscient. There are more passages than that one that show it. Only God the Father is omniscient. Here is a bit of a dumb analogy, but it works. Let's say I work in a sandwich shop with two other people, one who knows how to make roast beef sandwiches and one who knows how to make turkey sandwiches, then I am allowed to say that our sandwich shop knows how to make roast beef and turkey sandwiches. Likewise, if God is considered an equal partnership between three people, one of whom is omniscient, then God, as a partnership, can be considered omniscient.

Besides, this passage is also recognized by Christians as having a troubled history. You're not telling us anything we don't already know!

Jennifer said...

Bill,
The best I can do right now is to mention a couple of connections.

The idea of Eros is that of desire which is the medium by which the gods gave men some of the god-like substance.
That seems to indicate a spiritual belief.
Logos comes into play too. Logos is connected with the idea of a spiritual intertwining between man and what came before man.

It is all so meshed and I'm not doing a good job of explaining so I'll leave you with the name of the book I mentioned above.

It is "The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love", by Thomas Moore. He does an excellent job of digging into the context of Eros and how broadly it was seen in Greek art, poetry, philosphy, and culture.

WoundedEgo said...

Thanks, Jennifer. My origianal comment and your references are probably both too vague, in and of themselves, to allow us to forge a meaningful discussion.

One thing I think we can say with certainty is that neither the old Hebrew, Greek or even Latin had a word for "spirit." Instead, they consistently referred to God's "breath." All 3 used the word for breath. Of course, by the time you get to the modern English versions, they all translate as "spirit" most of the time.

Now, the NIV has taken this corruption one step further. They translate "flesh" as "sinful nature." That is another bogus modern concept being forced into the text by the "translators."

What we can say for sure is that the Hebrews were materialists. Like Thales, they believed the universe to be made of water, and immaterial functions, such as thinking, to reside in the physical organs, including the intelligent breath. "Sin," Paul says, dwells in my "flesh" - in my "members." Thus he contrasts the "breath" (not "spirit") to the "flesh."

The Greeks had notions of the elements that seemed to eventually lead into concepts of "spirit" but we don't see it in the scriptures. For example, the rich man, even in Hades, thirsts for water, as the "unclean spirits/filthy little breaths" (mosquitos) also need water to breed. The "heart" does the thinking, and the lord searches the reins (kidneys) to discover our real motives.

I go into this in my book.

If we allow modern concepts to change the meaning of the text, we will have no chance of understanding it.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Jennifer said...

OK, I see what you are getting at.

Just in case anyone else is interested:

The reason "spirit" is used over "breath" in some places.

The use of the word "spirit" in reference to man and animals.

The second does a thorough job of expaining the different uses for "breath" in Genesis while the first link explains why it is sometimes translated "spirit".

Jason said...

Shy,

The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is based on a mistranslation of the word "alma" in Isaiah by Matthew.

The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is based on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke who tell us that Joseph didn't have sexual relations with Mary before Christ was born. With or without the reference in Isaiah, Mary was still a virgin. Mat 1:25, Luke 1:34

WoundedEgo said...

>>>The extended meaning, after the experience of Pentecost, has become dominant,

Thanks for the link, Jennifer, which acknowledges that we are talking about one word, with the clear meaning of breath...though it then defends the usage of "spirit" as an "extended meaning." I will show that this is false.

Pentecost? What happened there? There was a sound "as of a mighty rush of air" - CLEARLY the divine breath (Jesus earlier had breathed on the disciples and said "receive ye the holy breath" - though it is mistranslated as "spirit"). Then what happens - the "speak as the breath gave them the ability to speak" - though again, mistranslated as "spirit." The link between the breath and speaking and communication is seen at every turn. So, the "extended meaning" at Pentecost is simply more of the same - the divine breath is intelligent, life giving and gives the power of speech. It lives in the believer and communicates the divine will in and through the believers.

>>>and pneuma usually refers to a person's inner being (in distinctions from the body) with which the personal Spirit of God communicates and blends as it generates and sanctifies Christians and forms them into the body of Christ (John 3:5-8; Romans 8:14-16; 1 Corinthians 12:7-13; Galatians 5:16-23). In each of these extended meanings, we can still detect in their foundation the image of the wind (pneuma) which blows where it wills (John 3:8).

What this author is trying to do is to say that the "breath" segued into "spirit" at Pentecost. This is false as I have shown. The REASON that he insists that this is so is simply to defend the corruption in the English texts which was introduced a millennium later when they had coined the new word "spirit" from the latin word for breath: "spiritus." It was introduced because philosophic dualism had been adopted as Church philosophy. It was a band-aid on the already FUBAR dogma of the Trinity. How can a man, his father and their breath be three persons? Breath is not a person?! It also served to deal with the fact that the telescope had revealed that there was no host of deities in the sky, just beyond the rigid sky-ceiling. Maybe they are all "spirit" and that is why we can't see them? But in the Bible, when the sky ceiling opened up, one could see the throne room, and the manlike deities there carrying on in a first century manner, with scrolls, thrones, robes...

No, there is no LEGITIMATE justification for the change.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

zilch said...

jason said:

The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is based on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke who tell us that Joseph didn't have sexual relations with Mary before Christ was born. With or without the reference in Isaiah, Mary was still a virgin.

This is assuming, of course, that virgin birth is possible (in which case we would rather expect Jesus to be female, unless that little bird was packing a human Y-chromosome). For those of us who are a bit less credulous, it seems a more likely story that the authors of Matthew and Luke might just have had heard of Isaiah's prophecy, and might just have been inclined to tweak their account of Jesus' birth according to their understanding of it.

Shygetz said...

Jason: Matthew 1:23 specifically refers back to the mistranslation in Isaiah 7:14, and Like 1:31 also references the mistranslation (albeit much more circuitously). Why would Matthew directly reference an old prophecy that had nothing to do with virgin birth when describing a virgin birth? That is a question I leave to the reader.

jon: What if it was added later on, written by someone else? If it happened, it happened, and it doesn't matter who said it did. Let's not shoot the messenger!

First of all, neither Mark nor Luke knew Jesus. Matthew *may* have but almost certainly didn't; John was too late (circa 90-100 C.E.) unless he wrote at an absurdly old age for the time. The story of the woman taken in adultery doesn't first show up until 1200 C.E. So, you're telling me to trust that some scribe in 1200 C.E. was inspired to add in a true story to the Gospel of John over 1100 years after John authored his gospel? That for 1100 years God allowed Christians to not have the correct Bible, but you KNOW that he allowed YOU to have the correct one? Revelation was written circa 70-100 C.E. Need I remind you of Revelation 22:18-19?

I'm also interested in knowing how the style is different. I don't doubt that it is, I'd just like to know the specifics.

The vocabulary and grammar is different from the rest of John, and the storytelling styly is much more reminiscent of Luke (indeed, some late manuscripts insert this story into Luke).

First I would like to point out that you haven't found CHANGES in scripture, you've found ADDITIONS. And the additions you have found didn't conflict with what was already accepted. Think of it as Bible 2.0.

Whoa; additions aren't changes? That's neat. So Mormons are ok, because they only added to the Bible, right? Can I add to the Bible, too?

To be honest I've never fully understood the idea of Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit being the same person. Personally I wouldn't even really care if we did away with the idea. It certainly wouldn't have any effect on my faith. In my view and as it relates to my life it is far from "essential doctrine". The Trinity is essential, not the single-personness of it.

People killed over it; just because it isn't essential to you doesn't mean it isn't essential to Christians.

Still, you've shown it to be a late addition, but you haven't shown it to be a false one, or even one that altered Christianity in a meaningful way. Like the other passages, Christians already recognize it as a late addition.

So the only Christians who matter are the ones who lived after science and philosophy brought about higher criticism in the 19th century? Before that, the ignorant Christians got what they deserved for believing the lies that were inserted in the Bible? Need I remind you that the unitary Trinity remains a central doctrine for many denominations, including Catholocism?

Also, this same doctrine is implied in other areas of the Bible. There are numerous passages in the New Testament that place the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit on the same footing. I don't see the difference in blessing someone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit without believing they are united.

No, it does not. The key point is, if the Trinity is not unitary, then you are not a monotheist--you believe in three dieties who are allied. This is almost certainly why the Johannine comma was added; to secure Christianity firmly into monotheism and make them different from polytheistic pagans. Without it, Christianity has three dieties, all of whom are supplicated to and who work in concordance together.

Besides, this passage is also recognized by Christians as having a troubled history. You're not telling us anything we don't already know!

Wait a second. People claim that no doctrine has changed due to people finding errors in the manuscript. I point out that we know about errors in the manuscript that have changed doctrine. Your defense is (wait for it)... that we know about errors in the manuscript that have changed doctrine.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can't write comedy like this.

zilch said...

shygetz says:

Can I add to the Bible, too?

Ooh, ooh, I want to too! What I would add is this, right at the beginning:

Searchin' General's warning: For those of you searchin' for the Truth, you might find useable bits and pieces here to help navigate the Seas of Life; but don't go 'round believin' the whole thing.

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WoundedEgo said...

Wikipedia dates Apostolic Constitutions as late 4th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_Constitutions

Appeal to "the Vulgate" is an appeal to scrambled eggs:

***
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate
***
[edit] Manuscripts and early editions
A number of early manuscripts witnessing to the early Vulgate still survive today. Dating from the 8th century, the Codex Amiatinus is the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Vulgate Bible. The Codex Fuldensis, dating from around 545, contains most of the New Testament in the Vulgate version, but the four Vulgate gospels are harmonised into a continuous narrative derived from the Diatessaron.

Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Vulgate had succumbed to the inevitable changes wrought by human error in the countless copyings of the text in monasteries across Europe. From its earliest days, readings from the Vetus Latina were introduced. Marginal notes were erroneously interpolated into the text. No one copy was the same as the other as scribes added, removed, misspelled, or mis-corrected verses in the Latin Bible.

About 550, Cassiodorus made an attempt at restoring the Vulgate to its original purity. Alcuin of York oversaw efforts to make a corrected Vulgate, which he presented to Charlemagne in 801. Similar attempts were made by Theodulphus, Bishop of Orléans (787?-821); Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury (1070-1089); Stephen Harding, Abbot of Cîteaux (1109-1134); and Deacon Nicolaus Maniacoria (about the beginning of the 13th century). The University of Paris assembled lists of "correctoria" - approved readings where variants had been noted. Unfortunately, many of the readings recommended are now known to be interpolations.
***

Ya wanna know why Jesus doesn't cast the first stone? Because he also was a sinner.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

I wouldn't bother Martin. Shygetz's last paragraph in his response to my post shows how interested he is in what other people have to say. I would have written a response to show how hopelessly wrong he is about so many of his objections (starting with his assertion that the disciple Matthew almost certainly didn't know Jesus) but I don't waste time on such people.

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shygetz said...

C'mon Jon, I made what I think is a valid criticism. If the tone put you off, I'm sorry. I thought the argument was ridiculous, and I pointed that out. Do you not find the argument ridiculous? Did I mischaracterize the argument, and if so, how? And the majority of scholars place Matthew's authorship at around 70-100 C.E., and indicate considerable borrowing from Mark (who did not know Jesus). Would Matthew had borrowed almost half of his Gospel from Mark if Matthew had seen Jesus himself? Would he have written it 40-70 years after the death of Jesus? Sure, there are some people who argue for Matthew primacy, but they are clearly in the minority and their evidence is not convincing to the majority of scholars. I cede that it is possible that Matthew knew Jesus to recognize this valid scholarly minority opinion, but it is still only the opinion of a relatively small minority.

Martin, you were right to correct me; I miswrote. The Johannine comma does not appear in the Greek (the original NT language) until the 13th century C.E., but it was a local Latin phenomenon in the 4th-5th century C.E.

Bart Ehrman states that the Johanine comma only appears in Greek in late midieval manuscripts. It is further described here, which is largely taken from A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. (Stuttgart, 1993).

The first commentary mentioning this idea as part of the Epistle is in the fourth century by a Spanish heretic in the Liber Apologeticus. It was first quoted by orthodox Latin fathers in 5th century C.E. It was not in Jerome's original Vulgate (codex Fuldensis, C.E. 541-546; codex Amiatinus ,C.E. 716) or the revision by Alcuin (first hand of codex Vallicellianus, 9th century C.E.), but was added later to the Vulgate by Latin scribes, probably as a margin note that eventually got inserted in the Epistle text itself. It does not appear in any Greek manuscripts before the Middle Ages, nor was it quoted by the Greek fathers during their Trinitarian controversies. It did not appear in the Greek tradition at all until 1215. It never appeared in the other ancient traditions (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Slavonic). What we have is a local Latin insertion of 4th to 5th century C.E. that became globalized after the dominance of the Roman church. Saying it was part of the "Christian" tradition is misleading; it became a part of the Latin tradition a few hundred years after the epistle was written.

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shygetz said...

Sorry, I misread your comment; I had been previously discussing the Johannine comma and the implications with the doctrine of the trinity.

Looking back at what I said about the woman taken in adultery, I see that I had confused it with the Johannine comma when writing the dates; it's hard work discussing multiple things with multiple people on the same thread, but I apologize for the error and thank you for correcting it.

Eusebius quotes Papais circa 125 C.E. regarding the woman taken in adultery. Papais clearly states that the story is from the Gospel to the Hebrews, an early non-cannonical gospel. There is a very thorough discussion of the history of the pericope here. It looks like it was a story from early oral tradition that was lifted from a non-cannonical gospel and placed in John circa 4th century C.E. (and sometimes in Luke), and certainly not of Johannine origin.

And if anyone wants to claim that, since it was early it must be authentic, you might want to check out what else the Gospel to the Hebrews said. There was a reason the early church declared it non-cannonical, but I guess some scribes weren't averse to lifting at least one story from it.

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shygetz said...

The Gospel of the Hebrews is largely considered to be a secondary document of the Gospel of Matthew. The Oxyrhynchus Sayings are thought to come from the Gospel of the Hebrews; of the 13 sayings, eight are either not in Matthew at all or differ widely. Analysis of the document indicates that it was significantly shorter than Matthew; given the apparent vast differences and the shorter text, we can conclude that the Gospel of the Hebrews was significantly different from Matthew, but drew heavily from it.

The Gospel to the Hebrews directly contradicts the other gospels, in real ways. When relating the Parable of the Talents, the Gospel of the Hebrews says Jesus spoke of a man who invested his talents, a man who hid his talents, and a man who wasted his talents on debauch. Jesus only condemned the man who wasted his talents, and left the man who hid is talent undisturbed. In the Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus claims the Holy Spirit was his mother, who pulled him by a hair up the mountain Thabor. Jesus claims in the Gospel of the Hebrews only to choose people who are good. Jesus tells people to never be joyful except when they look upon their brother with love. After his ressurection, Jesus gave his linen cloth to a servent of the priests, then appeared to James, who had pledged to go on a hunger strike until he saw Jesus risen. The Lord's prayer is changed to where now it says "Our bread of the future, give us today." It says that the lintel of the temple fell, not that the veil of the temple was rent, during the crucifixtion. The greatest sin is not blaspheming the holy spirit, but rather "if a man have grieved the spirit of his brother". When the apostles of Jesus told him that he should go see John the Baptist to be cleansed of sin, Jesus said "Wherein (what) have I sinned, that I should go and be baptized of him? unless peradventure this very thing that I have said is a sin of ignorance." Jesus says "If ye be in my bosom and do not the will of my Father which is in heaven, out of my bosom will I cast you away.", indicating salvation can be lost for bad deeds. Peter swears and curses when he denies Jesus. When Jesus cleansed the temples, rays of light shot from his eyes that frightened the people out.

As you can see, there are real differences here between the Gospel of the Hebrews and the cannonical readings. I don't doubt that it is from an oral tradition of Jesus, but it was never a cannonized Gospel, and disagrees with standard teachings in many areas. It was certainly not an original part of the Gospel of John, and its insertion there was clearly fakery.

If you insist that it is authentic since it came from an ancient oral tradition, then can I add to the Bible too? I want to put in passages from the ancient Infancy Gospel of Thomas, that recount Christian oral traditions from the Syrians and was set down in the middle 2nd century C.E. We'll just stick them in Luke. I especially like the part where he killed the son of Annas for splashing the water Jesus had put in a puddle. Or when he later killed a boy for bumping into him. Those make the NT and OT blend together more smoothly, don't you think?

Melding ancient stories is fun.

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shygetz said...

Martin, canonization occurred during third and fourth century C.E., during which time the Woman Taken in Adultery was still firmly in the uncannonical Gospel of the Hebrews. The story was added post-canonization (or, at least, late during the canonization process), and so skipped at least an important part of the process that most other portions of the Bible were subjected to. Does that not bother you?

I don't deny that the story is "genuine Jesus tradition". However, I also think the Infancy Gospel of Thomas is "genuine Jesus tradition", just a genuine tradition of a different group of believers (one that ended up on the losing side of history). I do NOT think that the pericope was a genuine part of orthodox tradition, and it certainly was not part of the original John's text.

I guess you have to ask yourself; if God wanted the story to be in John, why didn't He inspire John to write it? Or, why didn't He inspire the writers of the Gospel to the Hebrews to write a gospel worthy of His canonization? Why has He not guided the interpretation of the Bible that He canonized, leading to hundreds of denominations major and minor that differ on matters great and small?

It seems to me that, once you believe in an interventionist Christian God and are willing to accept the evidence of reality, you have to start postulating that God is incompetent, or mischevious, or inconsistent. Otherwise, how do you reconcile a God sufficiently interested in preserving canon to inspire the church fathers (who often disagreed...were only some of them inspired?), but not sufficiently interested to prevent insertion of errors into the text? Nor sufficiently interested to prevent erroneous translations of the texts? Nor sufficiently interested to prevent erroneous interpretations of the text? Nor sufficiently interested to prevent erroneous facts to be inserted into the texts?

Once you postulate that the books were written by mortal humans without divine intervention, and copied, collated, canonized, translated, and interpreted by mortal humans with theological and political agendas through mortal means, these problems are easily resolved.

If God wanted to indicate that the Bible was really his word despite any objections I might have, all he had to do was to insert a bit of factual knowledge that was previously unknown to man at the time of the writing, but that we would discover later. He didn't; the verifiable knowledge included in the Bible was clearly representative of the ancient knowledge of the time among the people who wrote it. Simply using Occam's Razor slices God away from the Bible very cleanly--if you want to believe the Bible is divinely inspired in some meaningful sense, that is of course your perogative, but I don't think you can justify the belief rationally.

WoundedEgo said...

>>>Martin, canonization occurred during third and fourth century C.E....

The Protestant Bible did not exist in ANY form until the 1640 edition of the KJV. Even then, it was based on the Textus Receptus, which modern Protestant scholars consider corrupt, and on the Massoretic, which was not part of the sacred manuscripts until the 11th Century.

But the Bible is a myth... there really is no "Bible" on the planet Earth. There are only sacred lists of books.

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.com

Bill Ross
http://bibleshockers.com

Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Gamble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsheej said...

Dear John,

I will take your challenge but not the way you have slanted it. I have posted my response on my blog to avoid clogging your comments section. Here is the link:

http://thethoughtrevolution.blogspot.com/

Tsheej

Glen said...

Its interesting how John's response to the challenge spiraled into so many tangential issues. I like what he did, and think many people are missing the point. When Christians say they will debate the existence of God, they are not just implying they will defend some vague or general concept of God, but (in the end, if not at the start) the "God of the Bible" and their specific view of that God, and related doctrines--including most or all of what John posted. As I said in other posts, I don't think John and many other Christian skeptics here insist there could be no God. The question is about the Christian God as many fundamentalists understand him. Actually, I'd approach this from another angle. Rather than challenge the challenger to defend all the doctrines John listed, I'd make it simpler, but just as hard for the challenger. I'd ask if instead of debating whether God exists but whether God as depicted in the Bible, and especially the old Testament, is compatible with the concept of an all loving and all merficul being. Is the challenger, or anyone here, prepared to argue that the God who would repeatedly condone, order, and commit the slaughter of thousands of men, women, children, and animals compatible with the ideas of love and mercy? Said another way, knowing whether God exists is largely academic unless we address the more personal question of whether the God of the Bible --if he exists--is worthy of respect, worship or praise.

Lord DoomRater said...

While I don't intend to spend much time on this blog, I'd like to remind anyone who needs to post a long url to use TinyUrl. That should get around Blogspot's nasty habit of scrolling the URL off the page and into oblivion. Drop TinyUrl into a Google search and that should be it.

WoundedEgo said...

That may have a security downside:

"...The convenience offered by a TinyURL also introduces potential problems, which have led to criticism of the use of TinyURLs.

TinyURLs are opaque, hiding the ultimate destination from a web user. This can be used to send people unwittingly to sites that offend their sensibilities, or crash or compromise their computer using browser vulnerabilities. To help combat such abuse, TinyURL allows a user to set a cookie-based preference such that TinyURL stops at the TinyURL website, giving a preview of the final link, when that user clicks TinyURLs. Substituting preview.tinyurl.com for tinyurl.com in the URL is another way of stopping at a preview of the final link before clicking through to it. Opaqueness is also leveraged by spammers, who can use such links in spam (mostly blog spam), bypassing URL blacklists.

A more serious problem with URL resolvers in general is that they create a single point of failure for all URLs passed through the service.

In 2006, MySpace banned posting any TinyURLs.[1]..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TinyURL#Criticism

Bill Ross
http://billrosspolitics.blogspot.com

skeptic grigggsy said...

Doubting John, you might answer the reviews of athesit books at Skeptical Christian.
I'm getting your new book from Amazon next month.

John W. Loftus said...

skeptic grigggsy, just let me know if and when my book is reviewed.

Cheers.

todd katz (endowed chair professor) said...

oy vey, well yes, I will purchase your book and read it, though I suspect i know all the arguments, having been at this debate over thirty years. Curious if, the contrarian position: 'Atheism, should be rejected by modern, intellectual society....' is also on the table forensically and tu quo qe(latin vulgate spelling)? After all, we have the salient and recent historical examples of the atheist genocide carried out by Stalin, Mao, pol pot, khmer rouge, eastern bloc dictators, north koreans, cubans, albanians,etc...is it any wonder that modern theists might be a tad bit nervous about atheists and their ideology coming to the fore and coming to political power here?

Gautham said...

"After all, we have the salient and recent historical examples of the atheist genocide carried out by Stalin, Mao, pol pot, khmer rouge, eastern bloc dictators, north koreans, cubans, albanians,etc..."

Without nitpicking the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide, I'll simply point out that I think the argument is not that atheists or non-believers are less likely to commit genocide, but that believers are more likely to commit wrongs based on their faith, having been provided a pretext for such action that also absolves the individual of responsibility.

Also, many of the instances you (obliquely) refer to - Stalin and the Khmer Rouge among them - may not be religious, but certainly had dogmatic systems used to justify their heinous actions.

Lastly, many of the examples you provide - Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, Mao, Cuba, North Korea, dictatorial communist governments all - suppressed dissent and specifically targeted intellectuals for violence and execution. I would argue that while religious fundamentalism can lead to violence, any kind of fundamentalism that brooks no criticism can be as dangerous.

I would also argue that a modern, intellectual society that freely allows dissent and debate is a valuable protection against violence committed under the umbrella of inflexible ideology.

Shane Littrell said...

I am a 18 year old Baptist preacher. I accidently ran across this blog and I'm glad that I did. I have just one thing to say. If every single one of you atheists don't turn from your wicked ways & sinful living and don't turn to GOD, I'm sad to say that Hell will be your home for all eternity. A place "where the worm dieth not and the fire shall not be quenched." I don't want to see any of you go to Hell; but if you continue going the way you are, your future won't be so bright. Now I know that this will not be posted because it's a sermon & it's disrespectful to you all. But I pray that whoever reads this will please take heed to the offer that CHRIST has made to all people: which is salvation. Fall on your knees, ask forgiviness of all your sins, ask to be saved, & GOD will save you. I pray that all who read this will come to know CHRIST & experience all of HIS many blessings.

Hebrews 6:4-6
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the HOLY GHOST, And have tasted the good word of GOD, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the SON OF GOD afresh, and put HIM to an open shame."

goprairie said...

Shane, you say: "If every single one of you atheists don't turn from your wicked ways & sinful living"
Your judgemental statement is wrong and insulting. Did you mean it to be? We atheists are not engaged in any wicked ways or living sinfully. We are nice people who treat others with respect and kindness and we work to contribute to society and we volunteer to do charitable works for others and for the environment. We do not lie or cheat or steal or kill or damage the environment. We are raising nice respectful kind considerate responsible children who will contrubute positively to the world. You are wrong if you think atheist lack morality and once you figure out that we are as moral as you are, it might rock your world. For if you really are a preacher, you are devoting your life to a myth, a legend, a story wtih no more truth behind it than the santa story or the greek gods or the volcano gods or the sun gods or leprachauns or the tooth fairy. As you study your religion more deeply you will probably find contrdictions and things that don't seem to make sense and you will find that others have written explanations for those and you will find that those 'explanations' just don't quite answer your questions. If you look at all that with an open mind, someday you might begin to figure out that it IS all false. Because you have devoted all your life, your career, your social life, your family life, your hobbies, your thinking, to your religion, when the doubts hit, they will hit hard. I hope we, or some group like this, are here for you to find support in. We will not turn you away for having had such silly beliefs or call you evil or sinful. We will merely be supportive and helpful in our journey to the truth. I hope you find your way back here then. Meanwhile, I have to get back to my productive moral happy life.

goprairie said...

Furthermore, since we atheists are forced to think hard about ethics, we must make up our own minds based on what is best for people and the environment.
It is a little harder work than just following rules from a book, as we have to give it a lot of thought and we have to rethink things every day to keep things balanced and right. But figuring out ethics based on good for society and earth means for example that we don't have to be mean to or deny rights to gays because of Leviticus and that we find ourselves ethically obligated to work for the preservation and restoration of the environments because instead of being told we should have dominion over it by a book, we know we are part of it and must keep it well for the next generations. Instead of freaking out that adultery is of the same kilter as murder because of a set of rules that says it is, we can recognize the true amount of harm various mistakes cause and treat people with compassion and provide them support even if they make mistakes. Instead of seeing the world as us and them because of their beliefs and instead of judging some 'evil' or 'sinful' because of their beliefs, we can treat all people more fairly based on the nature of their words and actions. Instead of regarding the world as simply created by God, we can look into science for the far more interesting and complicated processes that resulted in things being the wacky and amazing way they are. Instead of wasting time in prayer that will never be answered because there is no God to answer it, we can devote that time to meditating on our future plans or on actually getting out and doing thing to improve the world for ourselves and our kids and their kids. It might be a little more mental work to figure out on a continual basis what is the right and best thing to do, but it is a far better system than blindly following the rules in a jumbled contradictory illogical book because we believe in a false god that we claim wrote that defective book.

Apologist said...

I would love to debate you on the topic of the existence of God and/or anything else within Christianity.

Feel free to email me at: quiet4no1@gmail.com

my blog is: http://innovationapologetics.blogspot.com/

Alzuun said...

John et al.,
You fight so hard to prove that God doesn't exist and that we should not worship Him. You think about it night and day. You will argue until the day you die that it is an intrinsic truth...guess what? You believe in god. Your god is that quest of yours to deny your creator. Don't believe me? Heard it before? I'm sure you'll have a flippant answer such as that. What you don't have is an answer as to why everyone is the same way. That's correct. I am asserting that everyone believes in something greater than themselves...or they are depressed until they do or comit suicide. Well if everyone believes thus it means that we are hard wired to do so. God is allowing you free will to choose to not believe in him but your human vessel remains the same: seeking a higher power to believe in. You've pointed your "hard wiring" toward this little blog. I point my "hard wiring" to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his Son: Jesus the Christ. Fight against this all you will...my hope is that you return to your creator spiritually before you die. He has not forgotten you.

Bart said...

Alzuun, I like to poke my head in this blog, and learn things about the debate amongst christians and apostates. Its enlightening to see the debates here.

As for your argument, I stand as an example of how very wrong you are. I grew up in an entirely secular home. Deities were never discussed. I had no concept of god/gods at all, until school. There I was proselytized to endlessly. I finally decided to learn about religion. I read the bible, as well as many other religious texts. I attended churches, synagogue, mosque, etc. I never found any faith worth believing in. I abandoned my search as futile, and went on with my secular life.

Then came George Bush, and his mandate by god himself, to wage war against the muslims, who flew planes into buildings. This brought out a renewed interest in religion, since it seemed realistic that I might die because of someone else's belief.

Far from being depressed, or suicidal, Ive been told by many people that I am an optimist, and a great person to be around. I am generous, and help others regularly. I live my life to be an example to others.

I am a life long atheist. I am a philanthropist. I am a father and husband who lives every day to its fullest.

Alzuun said...

> As for your argument, I stand as an example of how very wrong you are.


I salute a gentleman’s debate then. Step 1: I am putting forth that man is a spiritual being. Either he is or he is not. Which do you think we are?


> I grew up in an entirely secular home. Deities were never discussed.


This means that the Deities were in your home. People just didn't "call a spade a spade". The family car was treated as more than just a vehicle or the sports team in your home was followed...religiously.


> I abandoned my search as futile, and went on with my secular life.


Ignoring the god in your pocket...your iPod. Again: you will argue till you are blue in the face that that little collection of wires is more than that.


> Far from being depressed, or suicidal, Ive been told

Because, again, you have your gods. You become depressed when you sever those attachments. Please re-read what I wrote, sir (if you dare). I assert that we are spiritual beings: you and I...We both worship. Throw your gods away or admit it. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob remains whether you do so or not.

Ricco said...

It is sad that you have taken this route and I admit it could easily happen to me, it is by the grace of God i am what I am. It is true that the Christian faith is full of lies and deceit, the main focus of the Christian faith is not of love but of money (tithes). However the bible does say that you need to study to show yourself approved, problem is that the majority like to be spoon fed, and the pastors who are teaching are very confused to say the least. I thank God that by His Spirit there is not one question that fazes me yes i have read a lot about what you believe and am amazed because the bible answers every one. Also there is nothing wrong about asking questions, this is another wrong in the Christian faith, they are afraid to ask questions. I know that deep down inside whether you accept it or not, you know that God exists after all He is the one who put you here on earth, and even after all this He still loves you, for He is a God of love.

Jerry D. McDonald said...

Well, John, I do not have the book you mentioned, but I did just receive your book "Why I Became An Atheist." So I guess I could just rebut each chapter on my Challenge website at http://www.challenge2.org and that would work just as good wouldn't it?
jdm

John W. Loftus said...

Sure Jerry, see what you can do with it.

Cheers.

Jerry D. McDonald said...

I have an intro completed. I'll start chapter one (which will be an analysis of your chapter two) tomorrow. Right now it is time for me to get to bed.

In Christ Jesus
Jerry McDonald

http://www.challenge2.org/whyoneshouldnot.pdf

Jerry D. McDonald said...

I noticed some discussion on 1 Jn. 5:7. Here is my take on it:
http://www.challenge2biblicalexamination.org/1jn57.pdf

In Christ Jesus
Jerry D. McDonald

bfniii said...

"Do You Want To Debate Me On the Existence of God?"
this is a ridiculous challenge. there is no way one person can refute the centuries of scholarship on the existence of God. for starters, the problem isn't merely God's existence but, the alternatives. those have been wiped clean by generations of academic inquiry. no one has ever been able to explain why there is something rather than nothing and no one ever will.

the issue isn't a rational issue because for every non-christian argument, there is a christian response. the issue is personal preference; to accept the obvious existence of God or to produce excuses as to why not.

John W. Loftus said...

bfniii, I see you're reading and commenting here at DC. Thanks. You do realize that there are many believers like you so convinced of their faith too, don't you? You see, brainwashed people do not know that they are brainwashed. The ONLY way to know whether you are one of the brainwashed is to subject your own faith to the same level of skepticism that you use to evaluate the other faiths you reject. You must require hard evidence for that which you accept. Hard evidence convinces others.

David L. Adrean said...

Let's use man's definition of God being more powerful than man, like Atlas holding the earth on his shoulder which no man can do.

Let's move onto that the Bible say we were created in God's image and know that this is not referring to a Being with just a head body and appendages, but created in God's image means that man was created as a "Creative Being." We create Space Shuttles. Smart Weapons and GPS systems to track enemy troop movements by Satellite.

I am a 67 year old "Jesus Freak," who helped build the Space Shuttle Fuel System components, the "Top Secret," fore-runner to the GPS System that could track a man within 500 feet using a weather balloon carried telescope and if the person was "electronically bugged."

So I deal in facts that can be proved as far as what "Man" has accomplished when the Bible says "Knowledge will increase in the Last Days!

I. Holy Bible = He Only Loves You Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

II. 50 years ago people believed that Christians accepted things that were not scientifically possible. Today with knowledge on the increase 5 Factual man made events have occurred:

01. First the Virgin Mary is found pregnant with child without having intercourse by-Incarnation! Now Man through Science "Artifice Insemination,” we can “Inseminate” a 14 year old Virgin girl at puberty and make her pregnant (without intercourse).

02. Today Science is proving that it is possible to take a piece of living cells, like found in Adam's rib when GOD-Eloheim-in Plural, made women from man, saying: “Let us make Man in our image.” Science using living DNA cloning by using living cell tissue (like from the bone marrow of a rib) to clone Sheep, Cattle, Horses and other life forms. And, yes, Man can even pervert mankind by creating "Christine Jorgensens," by surgical sex changes.

03. Unbelievers have mocked and laughed that Christians believe that GOD the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth could create a Great Fish that swallowed Jonah in the Bible School Story of Jonah and the Whale and again man having the form of Godliness in his own CREATIVITY, Man creates a submarine that has something far more dangerous the acid in a Big Fish’s belly, that being able to contain Radiation at safe levels in a Nuclear Reactor and providing air to breath for a crew of 200 men or more men for 3 months (not just 3 days like Jonah in the Big Fish’s belly).

04. So if God is more powerful than man, certainly what man can create, God should be given credit and the He should be respected “As the Creator of Heaven and of Earth by His intelligent design,” creating as we can see in microbiology, one atom of many atoms of each individual cell within your Human body being made up of a Proton, a Neutron-like a small Solar System-with an orbiting electron held together (not by Gravity) but by a DNA pattern-DNA meaning “After its own kind.”

David L. Adrean said...

Continuation of Jesus Freak David's
Comments:

05. Science is studying the one factual example of something Eternal, showing that the Space we travel in to get to the moon is Eternal; The Universe, Galaxies, Solar Systems and even Stars are not eternal because Science has discovered “Sun Novas” and “A Black Hole in Space,” that swallows Planets and even Solar Systems, “A Bottomless Pit,” (a bottomless pit mentioned in the Bible as a place prepared for satan for 1000 years, starting in space-the home of the “prince of the air” and ending in the Fiery “Core of our Earth,” where literal “Lakes of Fire,” flow from Volcanoes on our Earth).

06. Why can Man in “High Offices” (President and Governors), pardon criminals from “Death Row, saving a human’s physical life” but Man
will not believe in God Who pardons those who break God’s Laws and Commandments, to save a Man’s Eternal Life. Don’t say that there is no proof of anything Eternal.

a. As mans laws have consequences when you use your pro-choice to disobey them. You intellectually know that Ethics and man made laws come from the Old and the New Testament of the Bible. I cannot understand that an intelligent man knowing that all of mans laws are taken from the OLD and the NEW Testaments is to prevent Man becoming victims of Criminals who act like animals. If you would not break man's laws because you don't want to go to Jail or you do not break man's laws because you think that you are an Ethical and Morally good person, why then would you break God’s Laws (The 10 Commandments) and chose not to believe that God can also have a Jail, that God calls HELL.

b. People who commit a crime and are offered a GOVERNOR or PRESIDENTIAL PARDON will accept that Pardon in an instant. YET, THEY WILL SCORN A GOD WHO's MERCY OFFERED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND GOD's FULL PARDON IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GOVERNOR or PRESIDENTIAL PARDON for a physical Life of 70+ years, COMPARED TO A PARDON FOR ETERNAL LIFE AND DESTINATION- HELL!

c. How can you break A HOLY GOD's Laws and not see that your Judge is JESUS Who shed HIS Blood for GOD's Pardon and for the remission of your sins, like bearing false witness-lies, stealing and selfishly want another's possessions, wife or anything of your neighbor, how do you think, as an intellectual, that you can get away with crimes against GOD and man!

d. Wake up! Are your ears so dull that you cannot listen to those who have experienced death and testified of an out of body experience before being revived on respirators in Emergency Vehicles, Doctors Offices or in Emergency Hospital Rooms? Can’t you see that you’re choosing a judgment of spending your eternal life in a "Lake of Fire," that was prepared for satan and his followers?

e. No one is good, not one is righteous. If GOD spared not his own Angels, will GOD spare man? Learn from satan and 1/3rd. of GOD's Disembodied Angels-now evil spirits, or learn from Adam and Eve when they saw death for the first time in the disembodiment of Able their son, when Cain, their other son murdered Able.

David L. Adrean said...

05. Science is studying the one factual example of something Eternal, showing that the Space we travel in to get to the moon is Eternal; The Universe, Galaxies, Solar Systems and even Stars are not eternal because Science has discovered “Sun Novas” and “A Black Hole in Space,” that swallows Planets and even Solar Systems, “A Bottomless Pit,” (a bottomless pit mentioned in the Bible as a place prepared for satan for 1000 years, starting in space-the home of the “prince of the air” and ending in the Fiery “Core of our Earth,” where literal “Lakes of Fire,” flow from Volcanoes on our Earth).

06. Why can Man in “High Offices” (President and Governors), pardon criminals from “Death Row, saving a human’s physical life” but Man
will not believe in God Who pardons those who break God’s Laws and Commandments, to save a Man’s Eternal Life. Don’t say that there is no proof of anything Eternal.

a. As mans laws have consequences when you use your pro-choice to disobey them. You intellectually know that Ethics and man made laws come from the Old and the New Testament of the Bible. I cannot understand that an intelligent man knowing that all of mans laws are taken from the OLD and the NEW Testaments is to prevent Man becoming victims of Criminals who act like animals. If you would not break man's laws because you don't want to go to Jail or you do not break man's laws because you think that you are an Ethical and Morally good person, why then would you break God’s Laws (The 10 Commandments) and chose not to believe that God can also have a Jail, that God calls HELL.

b. People who commit a crime and are offered a GOVERNOR or PRESIDENTIAL PARDON will accept that Pardon in an instant. YET, THEY WILL SCORN A GOD WHO's MERCY OFFERED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND GOD's FULL PARDON IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GOVERNOR or PRESIDENTIAL PARDON for a physical Life of 70+ years, COMPARED TO A PARDON FOR ETERNAL LIFE AND DESTINATION- HELL!

c. How can you break A HOLY GOD's Laws and not see that your Judge is JESUS Who shed HIS Blood for GOD's Pardon and for the remission of your sins, like bearing false witness-lies, stealing and selfishly want another's possessions, wife or anything of your neighbor, how do you think, as an intellectual, that you can get away with crimes against GOD and man!

d. Wake up! Are your ears so dull that you cannot listen to those who have experienced death and testified of an out of body experience before being revived on respirators in Emergency Vehicles, Doctors Offices or in Emergency Hospital Rooms? Can’t you see that you’re choosing a judgment of spending your eternal life in a "Lake of Fire," that was prepared for satan and his followers?

e. No one is good, not one is righteous. If GOD spared not his own Angels, will GOD spare man? Learn from satan and 1/3rd. of GOD's Disembodied Angels-now evil spirits, or learn from Adam and Eve when they saw death for the first time in the disembodiment of Able their son, when Cain, their other son murdered Able.

David L. Adrean said...

Final and the most impportant continuation of David L. Adrean's Comment

Understanding, Reading Comprehension and Wisdom can come from a simple prayer:

PRAYER

ABBA Father GOD, I ask You in JESUS Name, under the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT, even the SPIRIT of TRUTH, help the reader of this article, find an intimate, Personal relationship with You LORD JESUS CHRIST as their LORD and Savior, because JESUS, You laid YOUR LIFE down in their place as a ransom for GOD’s Pardon, because without the shedding of YOUR BLOOD, LORD JESUS there could be no payment for our sinful rebellion against our Father GOD’s Will, Plan, Purpose and HIS Design for the gift of our Eternal Life. Give us wisdom (The beginning of Wisdom is the FEAR of you GOD).

Help us to know the TRUTH that You LORD JESUS CHRIST are “The WAY,” “The TRUTH” and “The LIFE;” “no one can come unto you as your child crying ABBA Father GOD accept by you Lord, JESUS CHRIST.

Help us now LORD JESUS to confess YOU before man, because; If we will not confess YOU before man, than YOU, LORD JESUS will not confess us before YOUR FATHER, Who we call GOD! JESUS You our Hope for Almighty GOD’s Pardon from Eternal “Death Row – Hell.”

Please LORD Jesus we do not want to lean to our own understanding, YOUR Ways are far above our ways. Help us starting right now to minister YOUR GOSPEL and GOOD NEWS and show others that You provided the Pardon, JESUS, because You came not into the WORLD to Condemn Man but to save Man. In JESUS’ Name, AMEN and AMEN!

bfniii said...

"brainwashed people do not know that they are brainwashed."
of course you would use this excuse to avoid dealing with the issues. it's called ad hominem.

David L. Adrean said...

QUESTION: Does it take more Faith to believe in “Intelligent Design by a Creator or to believe that if you are walking in the Sand along the Beach Shore by the Ocean and you stubbed your toe on an object in the Sand evolved from the Sand grains over millions of years.

You stop to see what it was and as you move the Sand away from it, you find that the tip of it is a metal cone shaped object.


As you dig deeper this Metal Cone object is so huge that now you have attracted a crowd of people who start digging in the Sand with you. Then to your surprise after digging about 8 feet in the Sand this object you stubbed your toe on just seems like the “Tip” of something much larger and the City Authorities have now become interested in this object and they assign working crews to help unearth this object. After two weeks of digging they now call the Federal Government who then sends a group of Scientists to examine this object you discovered when you stubbed your toe on the “Tip of it.” And now they are ready to reveal to all the Newspapers, Radio, Internet and Television Media what you found! Now they announce that the object is a Space Shuttle and the Evolutionists are looking all around the excavation site for an evolved “Man Monkey like man, dressed in a Space suit to fly this evolved Space Shuttle.

We have to give credit where c redit is due and that is to man’s creative ability by intelligent design, now how about giving credit to the Commander Creator along with the Word who was in the begiinning with God (Let us make man in our image, Jesus who is God and everything that was made nothing was made without Him and even the Holy Spirit Who breathed the breath of life in man so man became a living being made a "Little lower than Angels to judge "Fallen Angels," instead of being an evolved Monkies Uncle!

David L. Adrean said...

Hello this is your friendly 67 year old Jesus Freak-David L. Adrean reminding you that in debate, I have already answered:
We Should Only Accept What Science Tells Us.-By John W. Loftus at 2/25/2010 118 comments:
That's what I think. Since science tells us prayer doesn't work then it doesn't work. It tells us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. It tells us we evolved. It tells us there was no Israelite Exodus from Egypt. It tells us the Nativity stories in the Gospels could not be true. It tells us virgins do not have babies. It tells us that dead people do not bodily rise from the grave. Christians must denigrate science in order to believe. Science or Faith? Science has a track record. Faith flies planes into buildings. Science all the way, hands down. End of story.

I did this in facts that man has done what he makes fun of Christians who believe that god does what LOFTUS says God can't do above.

The only comment I got on my debate was that I am BRAINWASHED, so I am going to factually answer the BRAINWASH tag by using the "word" PROGRAMNED as a synonym for being called BRAINWASHED. We have been programmed like a computer since Kindergarten, Grammar Schools, High School, Junior Colleges and by Universities and on the job training secular and religious jobs, since I am a Senior Pastor.

I also admit by my Free Will Choice, I chose to believe the Bible when it says to me that I am not to lean to my own understanding, but I am to faithfully trust that God’s ways are not my ways and that His ways and His understanding is far above my ways!
THIS IS MY FREE CHOICE JUST LIKE AN ATHEIST FREELY CHOOSES TO BE PROGRAMNED BY WHAT JOHN W. LOFTUS WRITES.

I freely choose as you freely choose to be PROGRAMNED! God gave us FREE WILL to choose whom we will serve “Mammon- the world and materialism of God. But we cannot serve two masters because we will end up hating one for the other. So I choose to be in this World-NOT OF THIS WORLD-The ways of the Worldly man who choose the things of this 70 plus year physical lifetime over where they spend their Eternal Life in HEAVEN or HELL-the lake of Fire seen in all Volcano Eruptions!