Hey everyone, I have yet to stir another facebook debate/discussion with my status. This one started with me simply sharing a bible verse. I could really use and feedback you may have on how to continue to respond to my "friend" Ambri.Thanks.

Me: "If a slave owner hits a slave, male or female, with a stick and the slave dies on the spot, the slave must be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he's not to be avenged—the slave
is the owner's property. " - Exodus 21:20-21

‎Ambri: "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5

Ambri: You focusing so much on what God isn't; you not being able to leave Him alone; you singling Him out to bash shows me that God is still alive and
well because Satan will always war against him. Satan cares less about
the false gods, but he's still pissed at my God, because he's the only
one alive and the only one that's God.

Where have you gone since I last saw you?

Me: I am an atheist now, that's where I have gone. I
was challenged to see what science, philosophy, and the bible all had to
actually say and so I studied them all and this is where the path led
me. There is mountains of evidence showing a natural explanation for our
existence and not one legitimate shroud of scientific evidence for the
existence of a god. Combine that with me realizing how many evil things
the god of the bible commanded and did, the inconstancies,
contradictions, and absurdities, and that's just a small part of why I
could never believe that stuff again.


What do you mean by the following things?:
- focusing so much on what God isn't
- not being able to leave Him alone
- you singling Him out to bash

Could you please be more specific so I know what you seem to be so angry about?

Also, I am the same old Kyle. My lack of religious beliefs doesn't make me any less of myself.

Ambri: Here's something that I was struggling with last semester. I didn't see the whole picture. I felt like God was just trying to play the part of the hero; that he was so selfish to create people just to
send them to hell for not believing in him. That he wanted to come and
"save the day" etc. I wanted to quit being a Christian because it hurt
too much, because it was too hard.

I asked someone who is far better at theology than I and he broke it down to me like this:
The trinity was all there was in the beginning and their love, God's love,
is so great they wanted to create people to share it with. To expound
their love on.
I, of course, said that's stupid. Why can't you just create people that can share God's love, but don't ever go to hell. Tim
(the guy I was talking to) explained that it wouldn't be love without a
choice. If Dane loved me because I was the only one on the earth, would
I believe that he loved me? Probably not? Would I enjoy his love if I
knew he had no other option but to love me? Certainly not. I delight in
his love for me because he picked me out of multitudes of girls and
wanted to be with me, no one else.

That I could understand and relate to, but I still felt like God was just making himself out to be
the hero, and how could one man possibly pay for the sins of all men?
Tim explained that it wasn't a 1:1 ratio. Jesus was man, yet God. God dying
for men... there is no ratio large enough. It's like one man dying to
save cockroaches. That being said, there is nothing glorifying in God
becoming man. It'd be like man becoming cockroach. Nothing glorifying
there. God stepped off his throne, sent his son to pay for the sins of
man so God could have relationship with us. This is where God can be
interpreted as mean. (I have before.) God is a just God. God cannot call
what is bad, good or what is good, bad. He cannot see evil and accept
it, be near it. Holy cannot be with sin. Holy is the absence of sin.
That's why Jesus needed to die. For those who accept him, their sin is
made void.
I know you know all this, but I'm just sharing my walk through some of my struggles with faith. I really hope you're reading
all this and not just skimming.

For me, science affirms God. The more I learn about the world, nature, my body, I have fewer and fewer
doubts that God created it. I'm learning about fertility and
reproductive systems and such as I get ready to get married and it's
blowing my mind. There is so much detail put into it, so much thought,
that I KNOW that only God could've created it.

Talk to me more about your thoughts, I would love to hear them.

You can't be the "same old Kyle."

Me: Just because you think the Judeo-Christian god loves you doesn't make god real: it might offer you comfort, in the same way that a night
light comforts small children afraid of monsters in the closet. It
doesn't make the monsters -or your god -any more real. Additionally,
dying for three days (or 2 1/2) is hardly a sacrifice when it's followed
by being god forever and ever. That's a couple of bad days followed by
an eternity of limitless pleasure and power. Sacrifice is working to
make things better when it sucks, staying in a bad situation to help
improve it, loving people regardless of their faults (not condemning
them to eternal torture for any of the various reasons the many
denominations say that people will be damned). Hell is not a good reason
to love your god -that's like a thief holding a gun to your head and
saying, "Give me your wallet, or die." You effectively have no choice in
a situation where you have to conform to the other party's wishes or
suffer. Also, hell as 'punishment' for not 'loving' her god is extreme
to a huge degree. Eternal torment for finite actions is nothing but
cruel and unnecessary -and it's not punishment. Punishment is behavior
modification, with the ability to change in the future. The Christian
idea of hell offers no such option for future betterment, and therefore
it is merely torture, sadistic and cruel.


Do you believe you will have free will/choice in heaven? Do you believe there will be love in heaven? Through your own admission, "it wouldn't be love without a
choice." And that's where I would disagree from the premise. You can
certainly love just one even if you have no other choice. Did your
parents give you the choice of other gods? Yet you feel love for Jesus,
no? Also, if there is free will/choice in heaven, then it why would it
be any different then here on earth? Would you not still be able to sin?


As for your insistence that God does not do 'bad' things, the bible is filled with god killing children or ordering children to be killed, god
supporting slavery and the beating of slaves, god condoning rape, god
ordering mass genocide, god ordering the execution of homosexuals and
women who aren't virgins on their wedding night, god ordering the
execution of people who work on the sabbath, and countless other evils.
There is no way anyone can claim that any of those things, regardless of
the supposed purpose, is not an evil act.


Also, you never addresses the question of evidence. If studying science affirms your faith in whatever version of god you choose to worship, great -that
isn't evidence for the existence of that god.The idea that science
bolsters faith isn't honest about science or faith. Without picking on
science or faith and the multitudes of issues there, the Bible boils
down to faith. If you don't believe that Jesus did miracles or that he
arose from the dead, then you have no faith. Science is at odds with
miracles. Science is at odds with reanimation. Science is at odds with
human flesh flying away on a cloud. We can't historically or
scientifically vet these claims made so you are left with faith. Science
cannot and does not aid any religion.


Also, your comment about studying the reproductive system and thinking it is evidence for a god is simply a form ofan argument from ignorance. Just because you see
something as complicated and the reproductive track and you cant think
of any other way for it to be other then god is not evidence of that
god. Scientist know how reproductive systems evolved over time and
gradually got more and more complex. Just because you cant think of any
other way something gets here doesn't mean a god did it, it just means
you don't know.


I am certainly the same old Kyle, I just got traded to a different team.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible
gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." --Stephen F Roberts

Ambri: Hey, before I respond, could you send me the OT references that you mentioned so I can look them up. And would you be able to send it to my
e-mail?
*EMAIL OMITTED*

That'd be great! Thanks, Kyle!
PS. Is there a girl in your life yet?

Ambri: Hey, Friend.
I hope your late response doesn't mean you're finished with our conversation. The more I look and ponder your response the more
I read about your hurt and frustration. You sound like you're hurting
or have been hurt. Let's talk about that part. What hurt you? What hurts
you now?
Please respond to either message.

Hope you're having a good day! :0)

Me: I have been really busy at work, thus the delay in my response, I will respond here in more detail as soon as I possibly can. Sorry.

ME: Ambri,

Here are some of those verses that you requested. I tried to summarize
them and categorize them as best I could. If you would like me to
provide more sometime I would be happy to provide them for you. I also
have acquired an extensive list of contradictions in the bible and a
list of events and claims in the bible that we know don't match up with
history or science, but those are discussions best left for another day.
I like to stay on as few subjects as possible at one time. I hope these
show you better what I was reffering to in my last message.

Bible verses about who we should kill:
- Homosexuals (Lev 20:13, Rom 1:26-32)
- Adulterers (Lev 20:10, Deut 22:22)
- Disobedient Children (Deut 21 20-21, Lev 20:9, Exod 21:15)
- Women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deut 22:13-21)
- All non-Christians (Parable told by Jesus - Luke 19:27)
- Those accused of wickedness by at least two people (Deut 17:2-7)
- Anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exod 35:2-3, Num 15:32-6)
*Note for above: "not even to kindle a fire, so no exclusions for ambulance drivers and firefighters.*

Bible verses dealing with women:
- It is "shameful" for a woman to speak in church (1Cor 14:34-35)
- A man must OK his wife's words if they are to have any force (Num 30:8)
- A woman must not teach or hold authority over a man (1Tim 2:12)
- Lot saves the messengers from the men of Sodom by offering up his virgin daughters to "Do to them as you please" (Gen 19:8)
- "Kill for yourself every woman who has slept with a man, but save for
yourself every girl who has never slept with a man." (Moses - Num
31:17-18)

Bible verses dealing with slavery:
-God supports slavery (Lev 25:44-46, Exod 21:2-8, Eph 6:5, Col 3:22)
- Instructions on how to sell your daughter as a slave (Exod 21:7-8)
- When to give your slave a "severe" or a "light" beating (Luke 12:42-48)
- Its okay to beat slaves only if they don't die within 2 days of the beating (Exod 21:20-21)
- How to mark your slave: drive an awl through his ear (Deut 15:17)

Bible verses that deal with marriage:
- It's best if all people remain unmarried. Marriage is a
lesser-of-the-two-evils compromise for Christians too weak to resist
their sexual urges, "For it is better to marry than to burn" (Paul - Cor
7:1-2, 8-9, 25-26, & 38)
- The rapist of an unwed woman must buy her and make her his wife
*Apparently a far more 'holy' union than a genuine, loving, same-sex
relationship* (Deut 22:28-29)

Bible verses dealing with "Justice":
- If a man suspects his wife of cheating he can serve her a cursed
drink: if she becomes deformed, then that proves her guilt (Num 5:12-31)
- 42 children are killed by bears for calling a prophet 'baldy' (2King 2:23-24)
- Its okay to beat you children with a rod, it wont kill them (Prov 23:13-14)
- God commits, orders, or endorses every form of atrocity known to man (Pretty much pick a page of the Old Testament at random)

Do the Old Testament laws still apply?
-Every "jot" and "title" (Jesus- MAtt 5:17-19)

Bible verses that show Jesus isn't quite the role model people say he is:
- We are to hate our entire family and even our own life if we want to be one of Jesus's deciple (Luke 14:26)
- Those who abandon their families will be rewarded (Matt 19:29)
- "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the
daughter against her mother... And a man's foes shall be they of his own
household" (Jesus- Matt 10:35-36)
- "I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Jesus- Matt 10:34)
- If you don't have a sword, sell your clothes to buy one (Luke 22:36)
- Curses fig tree for not bearing fruit in off-season (Mark 11:12-14, 20-21)
- Didn't want to help girl because she was a "dog" gentile (Matt 15:22-28)


Now on to your second email topic, you are not the first Christian to assume that I was "hurt" or am "hurting". The fact couldn't be further from the truth. It always amazes
me how often this assumption is made. I could easily replace "god" with
"unicorns" so that the basic question would be: What hurt you in your
life or is hurting you to make you turn away from unicorns?

My journey into atheism is one of an intellectual journey and emotion
has almost nothing to do with it in the end. It was through my study of
science and philosophy and my reading of the entire bible multiple times
as well as other "holy books" and my contemplation on historical
evidence that I eventually came to the point I am today. I was
challenged several times by several people to stop being so closed
minded and to see what other religions, what science, and what
historical evidence all have to say and then decide what I believe and
why I believe it. I was really confident back then that there was
nothing I could ever learn or see that could change my mind on my
beliefs. I'm here to tell you that the church likes to ignore and hide a
lot. There is a reason why exploration of science and historical
evidence is generally frowned upon and why blind faith is usually held
as a virtue. Science and actual historical evidence show a completely
different story than that of the bible. Also, when the bible is fully
read and studied there is a lot that either doesn't add up or just makes
god look bad. Plus, upon the study of other historical religions
pre-dating the bible, we often find similar stories and ideas that seem
to have been borrowed for use in the bible.

There is just so much evidence that shows the bible to be a collection
of stories put together by a primitive desert people in an attempt to
ascribe meaning to things they didn't understand. So no, my atheism has
nothing to do with me being hurt or me hurting, it has to do with
intellect and observation of evidence.

Oh and to answer your question about a lady in my life, nope. I'm happily single right now.

Hope all is well. Peace.

Ambri: Hey Kyle!

Sorry for my delayed responses. I'm a slow processor. Also things
are crazy here. We're getting married on the 21st and my Dad and
Dane have been working on building our deck and we moved Dane in to
our new apt this weekend. It was so overwhelming. Have you guys felt
much stress from David's wedding yet? They seem pretty on the ball.
Their shower invitations were fancier than our wedding invitations!
ha.

Being that I'm a slow processor, I have a few thoughts from your
response BEFORE this one. Again, excuse my delayed reaction.

Did your parents give you the choice of other gods? Yet you feel
love for Jesus, no?

That line of logic had me thinking. Yes, my parents raised me in a
Christian home, but they also raised me with other elements that I
haven't adopted. The logic that says I only believe in Jesus/am a
Christian because that's what my parents are/ showed me means that I
would also be an engineer like my Dad, because that's the job he
had, that's the only occupation I was exposed to, so I should be an
engineer. He didn't take me around and show me other jobs, he just
talked about his job every dinner and that was that. Yet I was
exposed to different occupations, hence my current non-engineering
job just as I was exposed to other religions. Parents can do what
they can, but their teachings will be permeated with other
teachings. And besides that, you're assuming I can't think for
myself, or that I have no thoughts of my own. I assure you, I do. I,
like your brother David, don't do things I am not convinced are
good. This isn't addressing the validity of anyone's choices, but
just the logic that was used. Do you understand?

Also, here's my other thought since your original message:

If I'm wrong, what happens? I die and that's it. I lived a
fulfilling life and had the "night light"-like comfort of a good
Savior. No harm done, just a lot of inspiring literature over the
course of my life. What if you're wrong? Because one of us is. We
both can't be right. You being wrong is a lot more dangerous. If
you're wrong, you're going to hell for eternity. That's a lot more
dangerous than me being wrong.

Those are my only thoughts for now. My slow processing may slow down
more due to wedding, moving and job stuff, but I am still processing
our conversation. Thank you for continuing it.

Have a great week, Kyle!!

Me: Ambri,

I think that you make a really bad comparison between your Dad's engineering job and your faith. In order to be a valid comparison, your parents would have to take you to engineering
school every sunday, and explain to you all the time that engineering is
love and is the only way to avoid eternal torture. Moreover, there
would need to be a huge majority of the people you interact with also
being engineers and you would need to be given an engineering book at a
young age and told to study it often and apply its teachings to your
life. You would also have to of been told by other engineers (maybe even
your own Dad) that engineering is the only real career choice and all
other career's are bad. (And so on...)

If you get the chance you should visit a deeply Muslim community in Illinois or
a deeply Hindu community perhaps in India and ask them if they have
been exposed to Jesus and if they love him. Yes, we all have a chance to
believe whatever we want to, but time after time we find the religious
views of the parents and community often are adapted as truth by the
child. Nobody is suggesting that you can't think for yourself, only that
your entire life, almost everyone you've known has been working on
building a deeply ingrained bias in your thinking on a particular
topic.


The next subject that you brought up is often called Pascal's Wager. It usually goes something like this:

"If you believe in God and there is indeed a God, you have everything (heaven and immortality) to gain.
If you believe in God and there is in fact no God, you have nothing to lose.

If you don't believe in God and there is indeed a God, you have everything to lose (Hell).
If you don't believe in God and there is in fact no God, you have nothing to lose.

Hence, if you live as though God exists, you could potentially gain infinity, so it's the rational choice."

Pascal's wager is fundamentally flawed. It's a false dichotomy. It assumes two options, either Christian or atheist. Even on the question of a belief
in a god, it's a false dichotomy.
Imagine there's no specific religion
here. There are still the polytheist, pantheist, monotheist, deist, and
atheist positions.

If you dive deeper into specific religions, then which god should you worship? There are thousands of god's throughout human history that
people have worshiped just as fervently as the christian god is today
and they had just as much evidence to support them. In the end, you are
essentially left with choosing the god with the worst hell, in hopes to
avoid going to that one after you die. There is no "faith" in that type
of belief -it's a safety net, a nightlight. Would an omniscient god
even accept that type of worship, and if so, is it a deity worth the
time it takes to worship it?


The next glaring assumption is that an atheist has "everything to lose" if there is a God. Now, this is a rather icky area, because it means that God rewards average or even immoral lives, as long as it's coupled
with blind faith, and then condemns any form of skepticism that resulted
in him failing to prove himself to the person, even if it's entwined
with a moral and worthy life. That doesn't sound very just.

Another assumption is that God would favour blind faith and suspension of reason as opposed to utilizing our capacity for rational enquiry and
evidence. It also assumes that one can "decide" their beliefs to the
extent that it's not a deliberate feigning. You can't decide to love or truly believe in God. It doesn't work that way.

Additionally, the assumption in the second line that as a believer: "you have nothing to lose". I whole heartedly disagree with this. If you live your life
performing pointless and meaningless rituals and prayer, you are
wasting your
life. By praying for someone to recover rather than actively doing
something about it is wasting both your time and theirs. By praying that
God helps the poor and victims of natural disasters (that he failed to
prevent), you are not helping in any way. In fact, I would
consider it to be more of an insult. It's a way of saying you're too
lazy and selfish to actively do something about it yourself, so you'll
"pray" instead in an attempt to prove your supposed "good nature". If
God doesn't exist, all those trips to mass, religion classes,
communions, confirmations, all that money the Vatican thrives on, the
money sent to churches rather than helping the poor etc., immediately
become pointless. So, instead of living your life to the full, you're
potentially wasting it thinking about death and accepting mediocrity
inadvertently becomes easier because apparently in "Heaven", you'll get
all those nice things you currently live without. As Karl Marx stated, "
religion is the opiate of the masses",
and I couldn't agree more. So you do in fact have something to lose; a
life spent accepting and enjoying the fragility, rarity and beauty of
the one shot that you get. Richard Dawkins considers this the
"Anti-Pascals Wager", he sums it up as follows:


"Suppose we grant that there is indeed some small chance that God exists. Nevertheless, it could be said that you will lead a better, fuller life
if you bet on his not existing, than if you bet on his existing and
therefore squander your precious time on worshipping him, sacrificing to
him, fighting and dying for him, etc." -
Richard Dawkins

Views: 95

Tags: Bible, Debate, Verse

Comment by Mr Good Without God on July 31, 2010 at 6:36pm
Hey all, Didn't know if you all knew or not, but I did update the original post on here with a few new entries. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.
Comment by Mr Good Without God on July 31, 2010 at 8:47pm
Thanks Bailey,

I really love getting help and ideas from everyone on here. I like to learn new things from you all and see how far my knowledge and response techniques have come. I am still waiting to hear a reply from her about the bible verses and how I'm not hurt or hurting. We will have to see what she says. I hope you and everyone continue to keep letting me know what you think and any ideas you may have. Take care.
Comment by Mr Good Without God on August 7, 2010 at 2:47pm
Hey all... I finally got another response from Ambri. I will be posting this to the original post as well as adding it as a comment below. Please continue to offer up any advice you may have. Thanks!
Comment by Mr Good Without God on August 7, 2010 at 2:47pm
Hey Kyle!


Sorry for my delayed responses. I'm a slow processor. Also things
are crazy here. We're getting married on the 21st and my Dad and
Dane have been working on building our deck and we moved Dane in to
our new apt this weekend. It was so overwhelming. Have you guys felt
much stress from David's wedding yet? They seem pretty on the ball.
Their shower invitations were fancier than our wedding invitations!
ha.


Being that I'm a slow processor, I have a few thoughts from your
response BEFORE this one. Again, excuse my delayed reaction.


Did your parents give you the choice of other gods? Yet you feel
love for Jesus, no?


That line of logic had me thinking. Yes, my parents raised me in a
Christian home, but they also raised me with other elements that I
haven't adopted. The logic that says I only believe in Jesus/am a
Christian because that's what my parents are/ showed me means that I
would also be an engineer like my Dad, because that's the job he
had, that's the only occupation I was exposed to, so I should be an
engineer. He didn't take me around and show me other jobs, he just
talked about his job every dinner and that was that. Yet I was
exposed to different occupations, hence my current non-engineering
job just as I was exposed to other religions. Parents can do what
they can, but their teachings will be permeated with other
teachings. And besides that, you're assuming I can't think for
myself, or that I have no thoughts of my own. I assure you, I do. I,
like your brother David, don't do things I am not convinced are
good. This isn't addressing the validity of anyone's choices, but
just the logic that was used. Do you understand?


Also, here's my other thought since your original message:


If I'm wrong, what happens? I die and that's it. I lived a
fulfilling life and had the "night light"-like comfort of a good
Savior. No harm done, just a lot of inspiring literature over the
course of my life. What if you're wrong? Because one of us is. We
both can't be right. You being wrong is a lot more dangerous. If
you're wrong, you're going to hell for eternity. That's a lot more
dangerous than me being wrong.


Those are my only thoughts for now. My slow processing may slow down
more due to wedding, moving and job stuff, but I am still processing
our conversation. Thank you for continuing it.


Have a great week, Kyle!!


Ambri
Comment by Velogiraptor on August 7, 2010 at 9:39pm
She makes a really bad comparison between her Dad's engineering job and her faith. In order to be a valid comparison, her parents would have to take her to engineering school every sunday, and explain to her all the time that engineering is love and is the only way to avoid eternal torture. Moreover, there would need to be a huge majority of the people she interacts with also being engineers. Ask her to visit a deeply Muslim community in Illinois or a deeply Hindu community perhaps in India. Ask them if they have been exposed to Jesus and if they love him. Nobody is suggesting that she can't think for herself, only that her entire life, almost everyone she knows has been working on building a deeply ingrained bias in her thinking on a particular topic. She then brings your brother into it, an obvious appeal to emotion and easily disregarded.

As mentioned by Bailey above (kudos) Pascal's wager is fundamentally flawed. It's a false dichotomy. It assumes two options, either Christian or atheist. Even on the question of a belief in a god, it's a false dichotomy. Imagine there's no specific religion here. There are still the polytheist, pantheist, monotheist, and atheist positions. I could be missing some, but still more than two options here. It's kinda like buying two lottery tickets instead of one. Your chances are still infinitesimal, and by the way, the jackpot only grows because nobody's won. ;)
Comment by Mr Good Without God on August 10, 2010 at 10:27am
Bailey Shoemaker Richards, Thanks for the advice about her use of Pascal's wager. I will definitely use your advice along with some other info to easily refute this absurd strategy she is using. Thanks.

badwolf42, Thanks so much for helping with her comment dealing with career choice and influence. I was really stuck on how to respond to this, but you hit it dead on with your response. Thanks.
Comment by Mr Good Without God on August 11, 2010 at 1:41pm
Just thought I should share my responce:

Ambri,

I think that you make a really bad comparison between your Dad's engineering job and your faith. In order to be a valid comparison, your parents would have to take you to engineering school every sunday, and explain to you all the time that engineering is love and is the only way to avoid eternal torture. Moreover, there would need to be a huge majority of the people you interact with also being engineers and you would need to be given an engineering book at a young age and told to study it often and apply its teachings to your life. You would also have to of been told by other engineers (maybe even your own Dad) that engineering is the only real career choice and all other career's are bad. (And so on...)

If you get the chance you should visit a deeply Muslim community in Illinois or a deeply Hindu community perhaps in India and ask them if they have been exposed to Jesus and if they love him. Yes, we all have a chance to believe whatever we want to, but time after time we find the religious views of the parents and community often are adapted as truth by the child. Nobody is suggesting that you can't think for yourself, only that your entire life, almost everyone you've known has been working on building a deeply ingrained bias in your thinking on a particular topic.

The next subject that you brought up is often called Pascal's Wager. It usually goes something like this:

"If you believe in God and there is indeed a God, you have everything (heaven and immortality) to gain.
If you believe in God and there is in fact no God, you have nothing to lose.

If you don't believe in God and there is indeed a God, you have everything to lose (Hell).
If you don't believe in God and there is in fact no God, you have nothing to lose.

Hence, if you live as though God exists, you could potentially gain infinity, so it's the rational choice."

Pascal's wager is fundamentally flawed. It's a false dichotomy. It assumes two options, either Christian or atheist. Even on the question of a belief in a god, it's a false dichotomy. Imagine there's no specific religion here. There are still the polytheist, pantheist, monotheist, deist, and atheist positions.

If you dive deeper into specific religions, then which god should you worship? There are thousands of god's throughout human history that people have worshiped just as fervently as the christian god is today and they had just as much evidence to support them. In the end, you are essentially left with choosing the god with the worst hell, in hopes to avoid going to that one after you die. There is no "faith" in that type of belief -it's a safety net, a nightlight. Would an omniscient god even accept that type of worship, and if so, is it a deity worth the time it takes to worship it?

The next glaring assumption is that an atheist has "everything to lose" if there is a God. Now, this is a rather icky area, because it means that God rewards average or even immoral lives, as long as it's coupled with blind faith, and then condemns any form of skepticism that resulted in him failing to prove himself to the person, even if it's entwined with a moral and worthy life. That doesn't sound very just.

Another assumption is that God would favour blind faith and suspension of reason as opposed to utilizing our capacity for rational enquiry and evidence. It also assumes that one can "decide" their beliefs to the extent that it's not a deliberate feigning. You can't decide to love or truly believe in God. It doesn't work that way.

Additionally, the assumption in the second line that as a believer: "you have nothing to lose". I whole heartedly disagree with this. If you live your life performing pointless and meaningless rituals and prayer, you are wasting your life. By praying for someone to recover rather than actively doing something about it is wasting both your time and theirs. By praying that God helps the poor and victims of natural disasters (that he failed to prevent), you are not helping in any way. In fact, I would consider it to be more of an insult. It's a way of saying you're too lazy and selfish to actively do something about it yourself, so you'll "pray" instead in an attempt to prove your supposed "good nature". If God doesn't exist, all those trips to mass, religion classes, communions, confirmations, all that money the Vatican thrives on, the money sent to churches rather than helping the poor etc., immediately become pointless. So, instead of living your life to the full, you're potentially wasting it thinking about death and accepting mediocrity inadvertently becomes easier because apparently in "Heaven", you'll get all those nice things you currently live without. As Karl Marx stated, "religion is the opiate of the masses", and I couldn't agree more. So you do in fact have something to lose; a life spent accepting and enjoying the fragility, rarity and beauty of the one shot that you get. Richard Dawkins considers this the "Anti-Pascals Wager", he sums it up as follows:

"Suppose we grant that there is indeed some small chance that God exists. Nevertheless, it could be said that you will lead a better, fuller life if you bet on his not existing, than if you bet on his existing and therefore squander your precious time on worshipping him, sacrificing to him, fighting and dying for him, etc." - Richard Dawkins
Comment by Joshua Williams on July 27, 2011 at 4:09pm
Aside from the actual scientific evidence of an existence of a god, the majority of your debate seems to stem from a personal disagreement with religion and particularly Christianity. The religion built around misinterpretations of Jesus's intentions and lesson that is the popular hijacker of the term Christian is nothing more than the natural course of good things put into the hands of humans. We get something good, we create something self serving and evil with it. The example that comes to mind at the moment is atomic energy, I'm lacking in more. I'm not going argue against atheism, that would be incredibly stupid of me on this forum. What I am going to argue against is basing your dissapproval of teaching based on mistranslation, misinterpretation, and the added bits that we've spiced it up with over time. Go back and truly study the original audiences, the original language, the original context of the individual words of the manuscripts of the Bible. A large part of the situation here seems to be the idea of hell. "Whichever God has the worst hell." And so forth. Do a secular study of the actual mentions of hell in the bible. And beyond that, research the words used to describe its length, "eternity, eternal, everlasting" are all translated from the hebrew word "olam" and the greek word "aeon"m both words that their respective speakers used to describe a period of time, not an consitent unending period. You yourself stated that punishment is not punishment without a purpose, its torture, and I agree, and under the context of what the original authors were saying, hell is a punishment, if it exists, and its purpose is to burn off the bad parts of us. The idea of an eternal and conscious hell is a lie that started with, I believe, constantine and pushed through the history of christianity through today. I don't think that anyone would disagree that people listen to that type of reasoning, and its easy to get money and power through fear. And also, when jesus speaks of turning family against family, he's talking about selflessness for the good of humanity. Jesus's message was to help the downtroden and the poor, the sick hungry and cast out, and he told people to go forward and love those people. If you were to tell your wealthy baptist family that you were getting rid of everything you owned and going to the middle east to bring water and supplies to the needy, or even just doing so in your own town, the ramifications from them would be unmeasurable. Think of every straight laced dads reaction to his hippie son joining the peace core in the seventies. To look at an ancient book by todays standards and traditions, and through someone elses interpretation is like asking Jackie Chan to teach English to a Russian with a learning disorder. Go back to the original and figure it out from that, with no preconceptions.
Comment by Joshua Williams on July 27, 2011 at 5:28pm
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