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Let’s Play…FAMILY FEUD! (Round One)

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You know the game.¬† We give you a category or scenario such as “Animals on a farm” and you have to pick the top five answers collected in a survey of the studio audience.

Survey says…

However, in our game today, we are going to ask for the top eight most probable answers to our scenario and YOU the reader will give the answers in the comment section below [this will also help determine if anyone is still reading this blog ūüôā¬† ].¬† Here is our category/scenario:

Top eight reasons for waking up tomorrow morning and not finding your keys:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

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Christians and their Secret Knowledge

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In a typical debate with a conservative Christian regarding the evidence for their supernatural belief system, their defense strategy typically follows this pattern:

1. We have multiple eyewitness sources of people claiming to have seen the resurrected, walking/talking body of Jesus.  This quantity of eyewitness testimony would be sufficient to win any court case.  Therefore, this is all the evidence we need to prove that Jesus is alive and that he is God, Lord of heaven and earth.

Reply:  No, you may believe that you possess eyewitness testimony of people claiming to have seen a walking, talking first century corpse but these claims are contested.  Very much contested.  The fact is that the majority of Bible scholars and historians do not believe that the Gospels, the only historical sources in which anyone explicitly claims to have seen a walking/talking resurrected body, were written by eyewitnesses nor even by associates of eyewitnesses.  Such contested testimony would not be allowed in any court.  It is hearsay.

2.  The many accurate prophecies found in the Old Testament about Jesus prove that he was the Messiah, the Son of God.

Reply:¬† Once again, this claim is contested.¬† For one, the overwhelming majority of Jewish scholars are absolutely convinced that not one single prophecy about Jesus exists in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament).¬† Secondly, if the prophecies in the Old Testament were as accurate as Christians claim, we should find this fact mentioned in public university world history text books, such as:¬† “The futuristic predictions in the Christian Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) are the most accurate predictions of any prophet or fortune teller in all of history”.¬† Nope.¬† You won’t find that statement anywhere but in Christian propaganda.

3.  The principles of philosophy can be used to demonstrate the necessity of the existence of God.

Reply:  So what.  I never claimed that a Creator God does not exist, I only claimed that the evidence strongly suggests that YOUR god (the Christian god) does not exist.

4.  You (Mr./Ms. Skeptic) will never see the truth of Christianity and the truth about our Lord Jesus Christ unless you first repent of your stubborn, willful, sin and believe in him as your Lord and Savior.  Only then will the Holy Spirit give you the wisdom and insight to see the truth of Christianity.

Reply:¬† Don’t give me that hocus pocus, magical, secret knowledge nonsense.¬† Every ignorant, deceitful, conniving cult on the planet uses that argument:¬† “Believe first, then you will see how right we are!”

Hogwash.

I have another idea:  Use your brain, examine the evidence, and then see that all supernatural beliefs are superstitions, and nothing more.  Educated, modern adults should not believe in superstitions.  Period.

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Are Divine Revelation and Science Equally Valid as Sources of Knowledge?

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Epistemic Circularity:  An epistemically circular argument defends the reliability of a source of belief by relying on premises that are themselves based on the source. It is a widely shared intuition that there is something wrong with epistemically circular arguments.

 

In a recent conversation with a Christian friend, I was informed that my secular worldview based on reason and science is just as circular as his world view that the Christian Bible is true because the Christian Bible says it is true.

Really?

It is true that some fields of philosophy hold the view that all epistemic sources (sources of knowledge) are circular, but even if all sources of knowledge are circular, does that mean that all sources of knowledge are equally reliable?

I don’t think so.

Science and reason are not personal.  Divine revelation is.  Many different people of all races and creeds can use the scientific method and principles of logic to evaluate our universe and come up with the same answer.  Not so with divine revelation, as evidenced by the hundreds if not thousands of different religions, sects, and cults on the planet.

No, dear Christian friend.  Science and divine revelation are not equal.

 

 

 

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Dear LGBT Christians: You Don’t Need Jesus’ Approval for Your Lifestyle

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It drives me nuts to see intelligent, educated, liberal Christians desperately scouring through an ancient book full of silly supernatural tall tales, written by scientifically-ignorant, rabidly superstitious people, in order to justify a life-style between two consenting adults which NEEDS NO JUSTIFICATION!

Dear liberal Christian LGBT brothers and sisters: Please stop helping to prop up an evil, ancient institution which has discriminated against, tortured, and brutally murdered tens of thousands of LGBT people over the last 2,000 years. You don’t need the approval of Jesus of Nazareth for your lifestyle and choice of life partner. Jesus is dead. His opinion on this issue has been irrelevant for a very long time.

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“I’m Praying for You!” How should Ex-Christians Respond to that Statement?

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A Christian friend recently sent me an email that began something like this:¬† “With the start of Lent, I was thinking about you and just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you.”

How nice, right?

Well…maybe.

I know my friend meant well.    He really does care about me and my family.  He was not intending to be preachy or pushy.  He was expressing genuine concern.  So how should I respond?

I could get angry and tell him to keep his superstitious conversations with his invisible, imaginary, super-hero friend to himself.¬† I could simply ignore his “I’m praying for you” comment¬†and respond to the other, non-religious, details of his email.

I did neither.

I saw it as an opportunity to educate and an opportunity to engage in a little “atheist evangelism”.¬† After all, if it is ok for him to share his supernatural-based concerns about me, it is only fair that I be allowed to share my non-supernaturalist concerns about him.¬† So I did.¬† I told him I very much appreciated his sharing his deepest concerns about me so I hoped that he wouldn’t be offended if I share my deepest concern about him:¬† I’m hoping¬†that you will see the truth about your religious beliefs; that they are in reality superstitions.¬† Society as a whole would be much better off and much safer without any superstitions.

He didn’t like that.

But that’s ok.¬† I reminded him how much I value his friendship, but that I feel it is best that we avoid the following topics:¬† Prayer, religion, God…and superstitions.

We’ll see how he responds to that suggestion.¬† ūüôā

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The Abortion Debate: It is Never Moral to Kill Children…Except?

 

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The abortion issue is a very difficult moral dilemma for me.¬† I believe in a woman’s right to have the final say about her body (I am pro-choice), but I also believe that every innocent human being should be protected from harm and injustice.¬† How do I resolve this dilemma?

Let’s address the core issue:¬† Is it ever moral to kill children?

Our first instinct is to say, “Never”.¬† But is that really true?¬† What about war?¬† Children are frequently killed in war.¬† If you support war you support killing children under some circumstances.¬† Killing children in war is unavoidable.¬† If you believe that it is always immoral to kill children then you must be a pacifist.

“But that is not the same!” some will say.¬† “Abortion is the targeted killing of children whereas in war the killing of children is an unfortunate unintended consequence.”¬†

Ok.  But what about the intentional fire-bombing of an entire city?  What about dropping nuclear bombs on an entire city?  To target an entire city is to target children.  If you favor fire-bombing cities (such as Dresden); or dropping nuclear bombs on cities (such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki); or you support responding to an attack on your country by launching nuclear weapons against the cities of your nuclear-armed enemy; then you support the targeted killing of children.

The killing of an unwanted child during pregnancy and the killing of a child in a targeted nuclear attack on an entire city is the same, morally speaking, in my opinion.¬† If a person is truly against the targeted killing of children, one must be a nuclear pacifist.¬† One must be opposed to the production, installation, and use of nuclear weapons.¬† How many of today’s conservative Christians are willing to abandon their support for the United States’ production and use of nuclear weapons?¬† Not very many, I suspect.

So why the inconsistency?

On the issues of abortion and nuclear war, there are no “good” choices.¬† Would I support nuclear retaliation against Russian cities if Russia launched a surprise nuclear attack against the United States?¬† Yes, I would.¬† And a lot of innocent children would die.

I support a women’s right to choose, but favor some restrictions on late term abortions.¬† That probably doesn’t please the Left or the Right.¬† But that is where my conscience tells me to stand.

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Gary, What will it Take for You to Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?

I am currently reading evangelical Christian apologists Josh and Sean McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” (As a counter-apologist I like knowing what the other side believes). They spend 22 pages defending the reality of miracles. They give verbose arguments and criticisms of David Hume and other non-supernaturalist philosophers and counter-apologists who argue against the probability of miracles. I had a headache by the time I finished reading the chapter. I came to this conclusion: It is a waste of time to attempt to engage supernaturalists in a rational discussion regarding their miracle claims. I believe it is best that we respond to the alleged reality of miracles in the following fashion:

I will believe in the reality of the resurrected corpse of Jesus (or any other Christian miracle) when I see it with my own two eyes. Until then, I will consider such claims to be the products of the fertile imaginations of superstitious, scientifically-ignorant people, and nothing more. I don’t care how many sincere people claim to have seen the dead Jesus (or his mother). It’s superstitious nonsense until I see it myself. Period.

Christians want us to engage them on this subject as if the subject warrants a rational intellectual discussion. It does not. It warrants no more of our time and attention than claims of Elvis sightings or Martian abductions. Our goal should be to point out the silliness of these claims, not to give them respectability.

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