Hey guys!

So my parents (who are Christians) and I just had a huge debate about the supposed "truth" of Christianity, homosexuality and reasons for belief. I'd love to hear some rational opinions about some of the points they made (which I wholeheartedly disagreed with). Feel free to pick any points you'd like to discuss. Here they are:

"When it comes to homosexuals, I don't hate the sinner, I hate the sin. The human body is not designed to have sex with someone of the same sex. That's why God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."

"The Bible has PREDICTED the fall of Israel, it has also predicted an event in which the sky went black and there was fire, but no scientists had an explanation for what happened."

"There have been people diagnosed with incurable cancer and the doctors had no idea what it was but the person prayed and they were cured."

"Evolution doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense how there was one organism, an amoeba or whatever, that just divides and evolves into different species. And where did that come from? There has to be a creator."   <---This is one where I brought up circular reasoning. Also, can someone provide some good sources for abiogenesis for me? I admit I had a hard time explaining this one (and they simply don't understand the process to begin with).

"I've read bits about other religions, Islam, Shintoism etc and they just don't make sense to me the way the Bible does."

"The Bible does not condone slavery or rape or any of those things. When people read that stuff they read it out of context, but when you read the rest of the chapter it actually makes sense."

"People always ask 'Why did God create Cancer?' - well God didn't create cancer, cancer is just something that's part of man's existence. But either way he allows it so that people can learn to be closer to God. People always bring that up when it comes to suffering kids, but God has a reason why he does certain things."

"People are all born into sin. Babies are a product of their sinful parents so it's up to them to repent when they become familiar with the word of God."

"What people need to understand is that not everything in the Bible is supposed to be taken literally. A lot of it is figurative."

"Sure there are people from all different religions, but the Bible says that they'll all be introduced to the word of God and it will be up to them to decide whether they follow Jesus or not, but only those who follow Jesus will be saved."

"People come across tough times in their lives, particularly when they're not aligned with the word of God, but then they realize that as soon as they start to read the Bible and live by God that things start to look up. That's no coincidence."

"God sent his own son down to wash away the sins of man. Man has a choice to be sinful, God gives them free will. There's a set of laws that God sets out for people to follow and if they don't, there are consequences."

"What I know is that the disciples who spoke to God were the ones who wrote the Bible, actually, Moses was one of the only people who was PROVEN to have seen God, but their word is good enough for me. "


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Thank God you are an atheist in that home!

Amen! Haha. Just sucks being completely alone in my views though. They're logical otherwise but when it comes to religion, all that just goes out the window. 

TA is my savior! I can do all things through it! Lol <3

The statement Adam and Eve is stupid because there was no Adam and Eve for one.  You notice they never say anything about Eve and Eve.  Its such a male centered point of view. This is what always amazes me about these arguments.  So you are telling me your omnipotent and omnipresent God decided to make a man who would like a man as some cruel joke?  Of course this if to pay for someone's else's sin the past.  This is a just God?  I can go on and on about that.

People pray everyday for some cancer to be cured.  So that statistical probability of about 1-1,000,000 works out and that's a miracle.  A miracle would be if 70-85% who prayed to God and were true believers got healed . It doesn't happen.  Another thing there is no decease that is 1005 fatal.  There will be those people who for some reason their body fights cancer.   And that to be closer to God excuse is bullshit too.  Its amazing how god is held to such low standards.

Yeah, ironically they used Adam and Eve to refute homosexuality, then went on later in the conversation to say that the Adam and Eve was a story. SMH. They added the whole "free will" argument into it after that, like they don't care that someone is gay but if they decide to partake in sexual relations with their partner then that's a sin. The logic inspires the mightiest of facepalms.

I think people have some pretty low standards for what can be considered a "miracle". Almost seems like anything that defies the scope of their understanding is miraculous. It's so sad to see.

Yeah, that bit about instilling suffering to be "closer to God" really bothered me. It was backed up by the notion that "God" also decides when it's someone's time to go (in response to why kids die), no real reasoning as to why suffering is the best method to achieve that "closeness". Sounded like a pile of sadist horseshit to me .

Sometimes cancer goes into remission for no known reason. If this happened to a devout pagan, would it be proof of the existence of their gods?

How do you decide what is a fast and hard law of the bible and what is to be taken figuratively? Can't we decide to take it all figuratively and just call it a day.

Pull out your bible, find the passages about rape and slavery on skeptics bible and read it to see i they actually have any ground to stand on here. Then ask your parents how the rest of the chapter "undoes" the evil parts. 

Of course the bible makes sense to them and shintoism does not. They are westerners, steeped in the tradition of christianity. Football makes sense to Americans and soccer makes sense to the rest of the world. Who can say which is better? 

Exactly. People just seem to think that because something improves under unlikely circumstances that it must be attributed to something supernatural. I think people have a hard time distinguishing a personal experience from actual proof. 

Yeah no kidding. Just seems like anything that's inconvenient to them can be considered "figurative", then in the same breath go on to say that everything in the Bible is up for interpretation. The mental gymnastics must be exhausting. 

I don't think it really matters what verses I bring up, they'll always find a way to consider it "out of context" or only meant for  "certain people". Logic is futile, it seems. 

It all boils down to how they were raised (my mum actually admitted to that being a factor) - but then any suggestion that people of other religions see THEIR beliefs to be true is met with "well, they're still exposed to the word of Jesus and it's up to them to decide what's right." *bangs head on desk*

My head hurts just trying to think where to start! I think I would rather replant my strawberries, and get my garden preped. I wish you luck!

Haha aww c'mon, the strawberries can wait! Pick a point, any point and lets explore it! :)

Dear Reesie:

I quess I 'could', but I have other things I am working on that seem to be more helpful. I shall look in time to time to see how it is working out....

To the first point, there were no first humans (Adam and Eve), as Richard Dawkins does a good job of explaining in The Magic of Reality.  Your parents are exactly the same species as you are, and the same species as their parents.  We all inherit our traits from our parents and then pass them on, but variation occurs and over time this allows a lineage to change over time.  That also leads into the point on evolution.  For some reason, however, all of these points will fall on deaf ears in your house (which is unfortunate).

Slavery....look at the passages right after the 10 commandments are listed and it not only condones slavery, it tells you how to best handle your slaves.

Cancer.  I can't remember which person it was, but one of the major atheists made the point that our belief in the infallibility of doctors leads us to believe that a miracle happens when someone suddenly is cancer free rather than the doctors made a mistake.  Occam's razor is a good one to use here

Abiogenesis is a tough one for me too.  I don't have any sources for you, but I do remember that the idea floating around from my bio class is that the origin of life is also an evolution.  It starts with the RNA world (RNA molecules in the soup that can replicate), and then the RNA is incorporated into self-assembling bubbles of lipids (like soap, they form bubbles on their own), and then the conversion to DNA (which is much more stable than RNA due to the double strand making it less reactive).  Even without the cell membrane of lipids, RNA can replicate.  Viruses and viroids are RNA based (I think).  Prions are infectious bits of proteins, merely comprised of amino acids.  The chain of replication of biological material has RNA that serves as the middle point between DNA and proteins.

Many of the other points, like cancer and being born into sin, show masochistic tendencies in their thought processes.  Whether or not you bring this point up to them is up to you, since exposing this problem will probably make them uncomfortable or they will be unwilling to see it in that light.  It is convenient to claim the beautiful, the marvelous as God's creations, but then discard the evils, the ugly or the pain ridden things as inherent in man's existence outside of eden or as a part of his sinful nature.  I suppose this is the proper time to say you can't have your cake and eat it too.

The inheritance of sin is wrapped up in a convoluted guilt complex i'd say.  To say that we inherit sin is to say that we inherit the sins of our father/mother/parents.  If that is true, then the concept of original sin is an important one, leading all the way back to the fall of man from the garden of eden.  So do we inherit the sins of our fathers?  Is that fair to us if so?  The other point about this is that sin results from our free will.  Since God created humans with free will, then do we have the right to make our own decisions about what to do with our bodies, who to sleep with, etc.?  Does God impose a moral system upon us and then give out eternal reward or punishment based on our adherence to that system?  Does eternal torture really allow us to make a free choice?  Probably not.  An argument for sin based on free will leads to a fallacy in the concept of free will based on a system of reward and punishment as severe as heaven vs. hell.

Going back to Adam and Eve: if there was no first couple who fell in the garden of eden, there is no original sin.  If there is no original sin, then what is it that Jesus died for?  If the argument is that there is original sin and we inherit it from our predecessors, then that argument fails because it is false according to our understanding of human history not only through biology, but archaeology as well.  If Jesus died for our sins that we commit simply because it is part of human nature, then it is god's fault for making us sinful and yet he demands that we not be so.  What cruelty such a creator shows toward his creation.

Additionally, the sacrifice undertaken by Jesus apparently binds all of us, with or without our consent.  Are we really endowed with free will if we have no choice in our own lives about how to behave and what to believe?  Did we have a say in the torture of someone (fictional or real) that supposedly happened 2000 years ago?

A lot of these arguments can be taken to a deeper level about how believers view themselves in relation to their supreme being.  Christianity tends to take things down to a level of servitude, inducing guilt for having the audacity to think for ourselves and having to take responsibility for our own actions.  The bigger points that have been made to you reflect an attitude of masochism and servitude; two rather unflattering character traits to have.

You're absolutely right. It ultimately boils down to them just not understanding evolution (my dad thinks evolution is ridiculous because a frog isn't just going to morph into a human over time. For pete's sake.)

Yup, pointed out the whole slavery issue and it was flat out denied. Excused by the notion that the "slaves" of that time are "not what you think" and they volunteered to be slaves. Still doesn't justify owning another human being and beating them. Apparently regulating how to treat your slaves doesn't necessarily mean condoning slavery in their eyes.

"one of the major atheists made the point that our belief in the infallibility of doctors leads us to believe that a miracle happens when someone suddenly is cancer free rather than the doctors made a mistake. Occam's razor is a good one to use here"
That's a great point! People seem to forget that doctors are still human and we have a lot to learn in the medical field, but they fail to realize that this fact is still not proof that any gods exist.

The whole abiogenesis thing had me stumbling for quite some time. I found myself instead talking about particles, unicellular organisms and dark matter rather than RNA and protein lipases. Luckily their ignorance to the very concept of abiogenesis prevented them from challenging me in any of my points. Even though the theory is still in development, it's a much more plausible explanation than the circular argument of "everything needs a creator, therefore god, but god always was."

"Many of the other points, like cancer and being born into sin, show masochistic tendencies in their thought processes. "
Absolutely. I was shocked to hear them defend such disgusting viewpoints with a straight face. It took me some work to finally drill into them that the ultimate creator of everything had to be responsible for good as well as the bad. They were blatantly taking "God" out of the equation when it came to anything bad. I even challenged their free will argument by pointing out that if their God is omniscient and omnipresent, has a plan for everything and knows everything that will happen before it happens, then the idea of "free will" can't simultaneously be true (predictibly met with twisted faces, laughter in disbelief and "NO IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY". They don't understand the difference between an ultimatum and free will. Giving people two choices that cause a lose-lose situation doesn't exactly sound like the ideal version of "free will" to me. The author of free will and human nature can't just punish his creations for exhibiting exactly the qualities he instilled and be expected to be considered a "just" god.

What bothers me the most about this whole thing is that they're basing their entire world view off of something that they know they have absolutely no evidence for, then proceeding to use the Bible to prove the Bible. I just wish there was something I could do.


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