If Jesus is the Word of God…

Christians consider Jesus to be the Word of God, based on at least two verses of scripture.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13 ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

And the Bible is considered to be the Word of God, so when you read the Bible you are reading Jesus! Glory!

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

Christ-returns-white-horses-Rev19-bylined

If Jesus is the Word of God and the Bible is Jesus in written form, then the Bible must be Perfect, right? And, indeed, Christians do believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible. Believing that Jesus is the Word of God sounds great…until you consider the contents of the Bible. Let’s take a brief look at just a few troublesome verses.

It doesn’t take long to run into trouble. In fact, the very first verse of the Bible is wrong, and things just go rapidly downhill from there.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

The universe was not created by a god, and billions of years separate the beginning of the universe from the formation of our solar system and the earth.

Genesis chapters 1 & 2 contain contradictory creation myths and the account degenerates rapidly into a ridiculous myth involving two obviously mythical people (Adam and Eve), a talking snake, and magic fruit from magic trees.

adam-and-eve

If the Bible is the Word of God, shouldn’t it reflect reality as it actually is instead of containing ancient mythology? A real creation account from a real, existing omniscient God would make the fields of cosmology and astronomy and astrophysics superfluous because all of that knowledge would be there for us to simply read, courtesy of God in the Bible.

Christians believe that Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus, calling him the prince of peace.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

Back in the late 1980’s, Twila Paris had a hit song entitled “Prince of Peace”, which I loved back in my Christian days.

But, if Jesus is the Prince of Peace, shouldn’t the Bible be a book of peace? Shouldn’t it promote love and tolerance and understanding toward all of mankind? What we find instead when we actually read it is a book absolutely loaded with shocking brutality and violence.

Jeremiah 19:9 – “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.”

Hosea 13:16 – “Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.”

Psalm 137:9 – “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

Leviticus 26:29 – “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”

The Bible contains many shocking atrocities, too numerous to list here, many of them depicting God either ordering or directly committing mass murder or genocide. Relevant link:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html

The brutal beating that Jesus took while supposedly paying for our sins would be considered an act of brutality today, and if it was in any book other than the Bible, most people today would be repulsed by it.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

christ_passion_movie_cross

I wrote about the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, a barbaric idea by today’s standards, not too long ago. Relevant link:

http://religionisbullshit.me/doctrine-substitutionary-atonement/

I could go on, but I think this post is getting long enough, and I think I have made my point. Glory! 🙂

Christianity – A Clear and Present Danger

Christianity is not a benign or positive belief system. The reality is that it is a clear and present danger to everyone who encounters its teachings, and particularly to those who have the misfortune of getting sucked into the cult. Christianity is a toxic and harmful set of teachings, and the potential for significant psychological harm is great.

christianity defined

Christianity is an absurd and hilarious belief system, but it’s not so funny, considering the harm that it causes not just to individual believers, but to the world as a whole. On an individual level, Christianity causes all kinds of needless psychological suffering — a tremendous amount of fear, guilt, and shame — none of which has any basis in reality. Christianity is damaging to the world as a whole not just because of the psychological damage is causes, but because it teaches and promotes the hatred of entire groups of people (such as homosexuals), and it teaches that all non-Christians are destined for an eternity of endless suffering in a flaming Hell.

The core teaching of Christianity is that mankind has fallen from grace and needs a savior, and that savior is Jesus Christ. As the mythical story in Genesis relates it, God created mankind perfect and sinless, but because of the influence of a lying serpent (the devil), Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, and their rebellion caused the spiritual deaths of all of mankind that would follow. A savior is promised in Genesis 3:15, and Christians believe that Jesus is that savior and that he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Christianity teaches that all men are born into sin and that without a savior we deserve to burn in Hell forever. As John 3:18 puts it (speaking of Jesus, of course):

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And consider Isaiah 64:6:

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

With such a warped and false view of mankind — that we are filthy sinners deserving of Hell — how are believers supposed to develop a healthy sense of self-love? If, as a believer, I believe that I was born so bad that I deserve to burn in Hell forever, how am I supposed to feel good about myself? Or, as I asked myself in writing a few years ago:

With this kind of belief drilled into me for years, how can I be expected to honestly feel good about myself? How can I possibly really love myself and see myself as worthy of love with this kind of toxic garbage still infecting my thought processes and my sense of self-worth? How can I possibly have a healthy sense of self-esteem having believed this of myself for so long? I am fully aware now intellectually that “sin” is a religious concept with no basis in reality but after so many years of fearing and hating my supposed sinfulness and asking God often to forgive sins both of commission and omission and so often feeling judged and condemned and not forgiven and disregarded or forgotten by God, how do I overcome those toxic beliefs and find healing? How do I go from the “sin consciousness” that was drilled into me by the Christian cult to accepting and loving myself as I am – a flawed and imperfect but basically good and loving human being? Hmmm… I am indeed imperfect as everybody is, but am I really “flawed”? Such is the pervasiveness of toxic teachings, even after years away from the church.

Christianity is false and dangerous because it gets the basic facts about human nature horribly wrong. Contrary to what Christianity teaches, humans are not born evil or depraved, and we certainly are not born deserving to be barbecued forever in a flaming Hell. The truth is that, as a species, we are basically good. Most people in this world are good people who want what is best for themselves and for those that they love. Most people, given the opportunity, will enthusiastically do what they can to help others and do what they can to leave the world a better place than they found it. I have lived on this earth almost 50 years, and while I have encountered a few genuinely evil people, the vast majority of people I have encountered have been good, well-meaning folks.

From the tragic error regarding human nature, we get the doctrine of sin. Sin is usually defined simply as “missing the mark”, and in Christianity it means failing to live up to the supposed holiness and perfection of God. How much needless human suffering has this one religious concept caused? Christianity teaches that mankind is lost in sin and that our very nature is offensive to a holy God. Despite the fact that sin is a religious concept with no discernible basis in reality, millions of good human beings down through the ages have suffered needlessly from guilt and shame caused by this false and toxic teaching. How many genuinely good people have been trapped in mental religious prisons of guilt and shame from which they may never escape? Christians celebrate the freedom they supposedly enjoy in Jesus, but how free can you really be when you view your own basic nature through a warped religious lens and you spend your days constantly monitoring and censoring your thoughts and actions in an effort to please God? How happy can you be when your whole existence consists of trying desperately not to piss Jesus off? Christians spend their lives trapped in a tragic cycle of believing they have sinned and angered God and then having to ask forgiveness for that sin. What an awful way to live life! It is impossible to enjoy life when you live it constantly worried about pissing Jesus off!

There are two religious concepts that Christianity teaches that are extremely toxic and harmful — the doctrine of the sinfulness of mankind and the doctrine of eternal conscious torment. The doctrine of of the sinfulness of mankind constitutes an egregious basic error concerning human nature. What Christianity teaches about human nature is diametrically opposed to the actual truth. The foundational lie that the Christian religion is based on is that mankind is basically evil, while the truth is that we are basically good.

Eternal conscious torment? That’s what Christianity teaches is in store for all non-Christians. Depending on denomination, Hell is either a flaming torture chamber of fire and brimstone or simply “separation from God” (not biblical, but proposed to make the concept of Hell more palatable to civilized, modern minds). It’s what Christians live in fear of for themselves and those that they love and what they believe we are born deserving. If there is a teaching more morally reprehensible and egregiously wrong than the doctrine of sin, this would be it. This has got to be the most evil and demented concept ever dreamed up by mankind. Religious belief warps the moral compasses of men beyond recognition. Can you imagine a future more awful for the billions of good, decent, loving, caring, compassionate, well-meaning people who have lived their lives as non-Christians? According to this teaching, every atheist, agnostic, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, and everyone else who failed to put their trust in Jesus as Savior is destined to be tormented consciously forever, without any hope of reprieve. I personally cannot think of a more heinously evil or morally reprehensible and repugnant teaching than that of the eternal conscious torment of nonbelievers.

So… in Christianity we have a religion that gets the basic facts about human nature egregiously wrong and a religion that locks believers into endless cycles of religious fear, guilt and shame (think you’ve sinned/repent, think you’ve sinned, repent, think you’ve sinned/repent, endlessly, always living with the fear that you have sinned and angered God), a religion that teaches that we are born deserving Hell, and a religion that teaches the eternal conscious torment of all nonbelievers. I can’t think of any religion that I would run the other way from faster than Christianity for my own mental health, peace, happiness, and sanity.

Two Adams, Two Myths…

I just posted this thought to Facebook and thought I would expand upon it here:

Somehow, I don’t think that rejecting the idea that the world is as it is because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people to eat magic fruit from a magic tree makes me a bad person or worthy of being tormented forever in a flaming hell. I also reject the idea that Jesus was the second Adam because, obviously, there never was a first Adam. The foundations of the Christian religion crumble under even the slightest rational scrutiny…
Rejecting such ridiculous stories/ideas makes me a thinking person and a citizen of the scientifically advanced 21st Century. Many of us have moved way beyond looking for answers in ancient holy books and ridiculous myths. We are waiting impatiently for the rest of the world to catch up and hoping that they do so before we destroy ourselves over whose Imaginary Friend is better or more powerful…

Obviously, rational thinking people don’t believe in talking snakes or in magic fruit from magic trees. But, what about Jesus? Plenty of people in our modern world revere Jesus either as God in the flesh or as a great moral teacher or…something along those lines. But, let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about who Jesus was and what his mission was. This is not going to be an in depth or deep theological piece. I just want to take a look at some basic claims and subject them to rational scrutiny.

There are two contradictory and absurd creation myths in Genesis that lay the foundations for the Christian religion as we know it today. Putting aside the contradictory accounts of when plants and animals were created, let’s focus on the story of Adam and Eve and the talking snake.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-23)

For thousands of years, this creation myth seemed like a good explanation of how mankind came to be. But then, along came modern scientific knowledge. We now know that mankind was not magically created by a god some 6000 years ago. We evolved from a long line of hominid species over a period of millions of years. Modern scientific knowledge renders the biblical creation myth(s) ridiculous or just plain silly. No scientifically educated modern person can or should take these accounts seriously. The first Adam, presented to us in Genesis, is quite obviously a myth. Adam never actually lived and neither did Eve. And a talking snake? C’mon… get real…

What about the second Adam, Jesus Christ? Let’s look at a passage of scripture from Romans 5:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[e] because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass[f] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness[g] leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21 ESV)

And, also, Genesis 3:15 (commonly believed to be a Messianic prophecy) and 1 John 3:8.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

According to Christian theology, the first Adam’s sin caused the spiritual death of all who lived after him. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, appeared to destroy the work of the devil (the talking snake), who was responsible for deceiving Adam and Eve and convincing them to eat the magic fruit from the magic tree, which if the story is to be believed, caused the spiritual death of all of mankind. The first Adam is a myth, and so is the second. Without a first Adam, there can be no second Adam. If the story about the first Adam isn’t true, then neither is the story about the second Adam. The foundations of Christianity crumble to dust with just the slightest critical scrutiny… Glory!

christianitygameover

Ending Biblical Brainwash

This glorious article appeared several years ago (circa 2002) on a now-defunct website.

Imagine that you’re a psychiatrist. A new patient comes to see you and says that he regularly talks to an invisible being who never responds, that he reads excerpts from one ancient book and that he believes wholeheartedly that its contents must be accepted implicitly, if not taken literally. The patient goes on to say that that the world is only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs never existed. He brazenly rejects modern science’s observations and conclusions, and subscribes to the notion that after death he will live in eternal bliss in some alternate dimension. And throughout your meeting, he keeps handing you his book and urging you to join him, lest you end up after death in a far less desirable alternate dimension than him. Is this a mentally healthy person? If you were a responsible psychiatrist, how could you answer yes? These symptoms border on delusional schizophrenia, which the American Psychological Association’s DSM-IV describes as involving a profound disruption in cognition and emotion, assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events and holding fixed false personal beliefs. So, should you insist on follow-up appointments along with some strong medication? Well, quite obviously, the patient is a religious fundamentalist. So he would most likely not be diagnosed with a psychological problem. In fact, such a diagnosis could land you in hot water; the patient’s religious beliefs are constitutionally protected. Yet, perhaps it’s time this changed, and that we made religious fundamentalism a mental and cultural health issue. People should be able to believe what they like, but only so long as their convictions don’t harm others or, arguably, themselves. Fundamentalism, however, breeds fanaticism and often leads to terrible violence, injustice and inequality. If society can force drug addicts into rehabilitation because they’re a danger to themselves and the public, then we should be able to compel religious fundamentalists to undergo treatment as well.

Religion as virus of the mind

The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins considers religion an opportunistic and dangerous virus of the mind. Comments such as these have a long history, as religion has been a particularly popular target in the post-Enlightenment age. Marx claimed that religion was the opiate of the people. Freud claimed that it was an infantile need for protection in place of the parent. Ayn Rand thought that belief in God was demeaning to man. Nietzsche put it this way: “Is man one of God’s blunders, or is God one of man’s blunders?” Dawkins’ theory has much merit. He describes religion as a “meme,” an idea that gets passed from person to person and generation to generation like a virus that infects hosts to reproduce its genes. Under this view, religion is a potent memeplex that works at a cultural and psychological level. Some psychologists even believe that the human brain is hardwired for spirituality, perhaps to help rational and intelligent organisms remain sane and functional while dealing with the confusions of existence. Regardless, the human psyche has proven fertile ground for religious memes, which have evolved and withstood selective pressures over time and, as a result, now “organize” their hosts in such a way that institutions, including the legal system, have come to their protection. Evangelical memes — such as those of Jesuits and Jehovah’s Witnesses — are some of the best at reproducing.

When faith goes bad

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Under memetic theory, any idea that gets reproduced is a meme. So when do religious memes go bad? What distinguishes fundamentalism from other types of religious belief systems? Philosopher Daniel Dennett, in an essay called “Protecting Public Health,” provides some guidance. “As science and technology eliminate the barriers and friction that have heretofore constrained our human powers and thereby limited the scope of our moral choice, mankind’s need for a reasoned, consensual, and open-minded ethics will become ever more pressing,” he writes. Dennett is concerned with the fallacies and misinformation that people cling to — including conspiracy theories, superstitions, mysticism, astrology and, especially, fundamentalism. He states, “Fanaticism of every sort, on every issue, is bound to compete for our attention…[and] unfortunately, many people cling to the simple wrong answers, and are even prepared to die — and kill — for them.” Intervening in people’s thinking, however, is a sensitive issue, as it touches upon freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression. People have the right to be foolish, naive or dogmatic, just as they have the right to smoke cigarettes and drink too much alcohol. So at what point do a person’s convictions become a health issue? In my opinion, the answer is this: A belief becomes cognitively unhealthy when the believer’s free will and normal critical processes have been damaged by the belief system’s dialectic. I argue that fundamentalist religions, insofar as they cripple a believer’s ability to have free will, exhibit rational choice and appropriately assess the nature of the physical environment, have already passed this threshold.

Danger to society

Moreover, the effect of fundamentalism on society is as detrimental as the effect of fundamentalism on believers. Fundamentalists are the ones who fly planes into skyscrapers and murder doctors that perform abortions. They are the ones who deny the existence of proven physical phenomena while rabidly insisting on the existence of clearly unsubstantiated marvels. They are also incapable of recognizing that they have a problem, and are often amongst the most intolerant people on this planet, commonly referring to non-believers as pagans, heathens, or infidels. And historically, underdeveloped sciences, mystically perpetuated pseudo sciences and false assumptions about the nature of reality have resulted in misery and countless social injustices. The more rational the understanding that humans have about their existence, the better off they are in dealing with the hazards of life and developing humane moral philosophies.

Acceptable belief systems Of course, some beliefs and worldviews are more debilitating than others (both to the believer and to the society around them). Orthodox and literalist theologians apply a very limited worldview to reality, often basing their perceptions of existence on ancient texts and mythologies. Fundamentalist Judeo-Christians are no exception, as many still believe in Creationism, a 6,000-year-old earth and Noah’s Ark. But what about more moderate beliefs? What about belief in an immaterial soul? Or that Jesus performed miracles? Is it mentally unhealthy to believe such things? When do we cross the line and infringe upon constitutional rights? Ultimately, belief in the soul or Jesus’s resurrection is not so unhealthy as to render believers dysfunctional. Some of the brightest and most creative contributors to society were (and are) staunch Christians. It was Bach, after all, who composed music for the glory of God. Furthermore, most people in the West rarely think about the deeper ramifications of their existence and humanity’s relationship with God. Sermons are no longer fire and brimstone threats but, instead, poignant stories about why we should love and help our neighbors — issues that I would categorize as self-evident truths, and hardly the monopoly of religious doctrine. Modern religions are useful in that they have taken on the character of moral philosophies which help followers with interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Religions form an important, if not essential, role in society. They offer community, existential explanations, compassionate and valuable moral codes and an outlet for the human need for spirituality. (Personally, I am agnostic, as I recognize just how sublime and mysterious the universe really is.) Also, neither modern scientism nor any other contemporary belief system is perfectly healthy. In fact, stubborn Western empiricists could learn a lot from Eastern philosophies. As Freud once said, “It is a mistake to believe that a science consists in nothing but conclusively proved propositions, and it is unjust to demand that it should. It is a demand only made by those who feel a craving for authority in some form and a need to replace the religious catechism by something else, even if it be a scientific one.” The differentiating factor must be this: A belief system is a mental disorder when it causes believers to deny the observations of empirical methodologies. With fundamentalists, this involves denying the nature of the physical world as it is being presented in favour of archaic and unyielding irrational orthodoxies; their brains have been infected and debilitated with unsubstantiated nonsense. Kill the meme, not the patient Since I’m arguing for categorizing something as a disease, it only makes sense for me to also propose a cure. And it is this: Engineer fundamentalist memes out of existence. Fundamentalists have been mobilized by an unconscious meme that seeks to protect and propagate itself at all costs, even at the expense of a host’s mental well-being. Viruses do exactly the same thing, often killing a host as they seek out transmission vectors. The best way to prevent a meme from gaining a stranglehold on a host is to prevent it from reproducing in the first place. With religious fundamentalism, I propose two key elements for memetic immunization. The first is responsible and accountable education and reporting of information to the public (including educational institutions, the media and the government). Children who are taught Creationism rather than natural selection, for example, are being primed for memetic infection. The second is raising the standard of living of all people. Assisting Third World nations would help alleviate problems of disenfranchised youths who become desperate and turn to religious fanaticism. As proof of this strategy, we need only look at how the Taliban recruited members: They attracted poor and uneducated boys who easily accepted radical Islam as an outlet for their frustrations. And without proper education they were unable to properly distinguish religious gibberish from fact. An important point needs to be made here, however: Killing a cultural artifact is not analogous to killing people. Culture is not self aware. Irrational fundamentalists should be treated as we treat others suffering from psychological ailments and offered immediate help. We should see them as suffering from a disease and help them to accept a more moderate religious stance and develop a more balanced life. Hopefully, this will return to them free will, rationality and self-respect. In my opinion, these are the elements that give human lives meaning and purpose.

Our Founding Fathers were not Christians!

Saw this Phil Robertson quote posted to Facebook and had to respond.

robertson christian nation

Um… no. America was founded by men who were primarily Deists and who also understood the dangers of religious tyranny and theocracy. If you take the time to do the research and read what our Founding Fathers actually had to say about the Christian God and the Christian religion, you would find that they had very unfavorable things to say about both. Thomas Jefferson took the time to create his own version of the Bible, which is still available today. He took out all of the supernatural bullshit and left in the stuff that he liked. Needless to say, with the supernatural bullshit gone, Jefferson’s Bible is a much thinner book than most Bibles are.

America is not a Christian nation. America is and always has been a secular constitutional republic.

For more on what our Founding Fathers had to say on religion, see these glorious sites:

http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/35-founding-father-quotes-conservative-christians-will-hate/

“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” – 1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams

Why the Christian God is Impossible

Introduction

Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth. This assumption is false, not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory.
Proving a universal negative

Many Christians, as well as atheists, claim that it is impossible to prove a universal negative. For example, while we may not have evidence that unicorns or dragons exist, we cannot prove that they do not exist. Unless we have a complete knowledge of the universe, we must admit the possibility that somewhere in the universe, there might be such creatures.
But the claim that omniscience is needed to prove a universal negative presumes that the concept which we are discussing is logically coherent. If the attributes which we assign to a hypothetical object or being are self-contradictory, then we can conclude that it cannot exist, and therefore does not exist. I do not need a complete knowledge of the universe to prove that cubic spheres do not exist. Such objects have mutually-exclusive attributes which make their existence impossible. A cube, by definition, has 8 corners, while a sphere has none. These properties are completely incompatible — they cannot be held simultaneously by the same object.

I intend to show that the supposed properties of the Christian God Yahweh, like those of a cubic sphere, are incompatible, and by so doing, to demonstrate that Yahweh’s existence is an impossibility.

Defining YHWH

Christians have endowed their God with all of the following attributes: He is eternal, all-powerful, and created everything. He created all the laws of nature and can change anything by an act of will. He is all-good, all-loving, and perfectly just. He is a personal God who experiences all of the emotions a human does. He is all-knowing. He sees everything past and future.
God’s creation was originally perfect, but humans, by disobeying him, brought imperfection into the world. Humans are evil and sinful, and must suffer in this world because of their sinfulness. God gives humans the opportunity to accept forgiveness for their sin, and all who do will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven, but while they are on earth, they must suffer for his sake. All humans who choose not to accept this forgiveness must go to hell and be tormented for eternity.

These attributes of God are related by the Bible, which Christians believe to be the perfect and true Word of God.

One verse which many Christians are fond of quoting says that atheists are fools. I intend to show that the above concepts of God are completely incompatible, and reveal the impossibility of all of them being held simultaneously by the same being. There is no foolishness in denying the impossible. Foolishness is worshipping an impossible God.

Perfection seeks even more perfection

What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely?
God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete — it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing the elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.

Perfection begets imperfection

But, for the sake of argument, let’s continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God’s image and had the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, yet this “perfect” God created a “perfect” universe which was rendered imperfect by the “perfect” humans.

The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot make itself imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.

The Freewill Argument

The Christians’ objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God’s originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.

Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.

Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?

The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

All-good God knowingly creates future suffering

God is omniscient. When he created the universe, he saw the sufferings which humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans. He heard the screams of the damned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.
Infinite punishment for finite sins

God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment. God’s sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely injust. The absurdity of this infinite punishment appears even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of the human’s imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.
Belief more important than action

Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the “gospel” of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire for not believing in Jesus. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.
Perfection’s imperfect revelation

The Bible is supposedly God’s perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means for overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books called the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man. No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigma. And yet the perfect God expects the imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
Contradictory justice

One need look to no source other than the Bible to discover its imperfections, for it contradicts itself and thus exposes its own imperfection. It contradicts itself on matters of justice, for the same just God who assures his people that sons shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers turns around and destroys an entire household for the sin of one man (he had stolen some of Yahweh’s war loot). It was this same Yahweh who afflicted thousands of his innocent people with plague and death to punish their evil king David for taking a census (?!). It was this same Yahweh who allowed the humans to slaughter his son because the perfect Yahweh had botched his own creation. Consider how many have been stoned, burned, slaughtered, raped, and enslaved because of Yahweh’s skewed sense of justice. The blood of innocent babies is on the perfect, just, compassionate hands of Yahweh.
Contradictory history

The Bible contradicts itself on matters of history. A person who reads and compares the contents of the Bible will be confused about exactly who Esau’s wives were, whether Timnah was a concubine or a son, and whether Jesus’ earthly lineage is through Solomon or his brother Nathan. These are but a few of hundreds of documented historical contradictions. If the Bible cannot confirm itself in mundane earthly matters, how are we to trust it on moral and spiritual matters?
Unfulfilled prophecy

The Bible misinterprets its own prophecies. Read Isaiah 7 and compare it with Matthew 1 to find but one of many misinterpreted prophecies of which Christians are either passively or willfully ignorant. The sign given by Isaiah to King Ahaz was meant to assure him that his enemies King Rezin and King Remaliah would be defeated. The prophecy was fulfilled in the very next chapter. Yet Matthew 1 not only misinterprets the word for “maiden” as “virgin,” but claims that this already-fulfilled prophecy is fulfilled by the virgin birth of Jesus!
The fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible is cited as proof of its divine inspiration, and yet here is but one major example of a prophecy whose intended meaning has been and continues to be twisted to support subsequent absurd and false doctrines. There are no ends to which the credulous will not go to support their feeble beliefs in the face of compelling evidence against them.

The Bible is imperfect. It only takes one imperfection to destroy the supposed perfection of this alleged Word of God. Many have been found. A perfect God who reveals his perfect will in an imperfect book is impossible.

The Omniscient changes the future

A God who knows the future is powerless to change it. An omniscient God who is all-powerful and freewilled is impossible.
The Omniscient is surprised

A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife’s infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may react emotionally.
We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.

The conclusion of the matter

I have offered arguments for the impossibility, and thus the non- existence, of the Christian God Yahweh. No reasonable and free thinking individual can accept the existence of a being whose nature is as contradictory as that of Yahweh, the “perfect” creator of our imperfect universe. The existence of Yahweh is as impossible as the existence of cubic spheres or invisible pink unicorns.
While believers may find comfort in being faithful to impossibilities, there is no greater satisfaction than a clear mind. You may choose to serve an impossible God. I will choose reality.

© Chad Docterman, 1996

LINK: http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/library/cd_impossible.html

The Journey from Christianity to Atheism

I have tried a number of times over the years to explain to people who have never walked the path from Christian –> ex-Christian –> Atheist what that journey is like and what it means to me and to others like me. It is not an easy path to travel at all. The journey from devout Christian religious belief back to the real world is one filled with doubts and questions and a great deal of strong emotion. As I explained it to my high school band director a couple of years ago or so:

My journey from devout religious belief to atheism has been a long and interesting one. I spent 15 years as a very devout fundamentalist Christian. I was the type who annoyed everybody. I wrote evangelistic letters to my family. I tried to convert my friends and co-workers. I handed out those ridiculous Chick tracts to convenience store clerks and toll booth operators. I was at church every time the doors opened, including early morning prayer meetings. I forced my beliefs on everybody all the time and though I meant well, I made a huge nuisance of myself. Despite all of that religious activity and belief, I still had questions that that seemed to have no good answers from my pastors or from the Christian apologists I read. Those questions finally built up to the point where I could no longer ignore them or write them off as coming from the devil.

In early 2000, I got on the Net as it existed back then and started researching my faith on both sides of the fence. I was absolutely stunned to find that the religious skeptics had far better answers than I had encountered from Christian apologists and I was also very surprised to see how easily they ripped my once cherished beliefs to shreds, not through ridicule but with facts. I started reading the skeptical side at www.infidels.org and went from there.

After I got over the shock of having my Christian worldview ripped out from under me, I became very very ANGRY! The fact that I was also very mentally ill at the time with not well controlled bipolar disorder didn’t help matters any. I felt foolish, used, and betrayed when I realized I had been intentionally lied to for 15 years and I had bought into it hook, line, and sinker.

Having doubts and questions about religious beliefs is normal if you are a reasonably intelligent thinking person, but in fundamentalist religion, doubting and questioning is strongly discouraged. Just pray about it and have more faith, we are told, and God will take care of it. Sounds nice, except for the fact that it isn’t true. For Christians who want answers to their questions, a whole industry of apologetics has come into being over the past few decades. For some Christians, the answers given by Christian apologists may be enough to keep them in the faith. For others like me, the answers were not satisfying. They did not resolve my doubts or my questions, so inevitably, I went looking elsewhere and found good answers that made sense to me from the place that I least expected it at the time — from the skeptical side of the fence.

I can’t speak for everyone who has made the journey from devout Christian belief to Atheism. But I can share my own personal story and what my journey was like.

I was raised United Methodist until I was ten years old. At that time, I asked my parents if I could stop attending church because I didn’t believe what they were teaching. Since we attended church mostly for social reasons anyway, they agreed. For reasons that I cannot recall now, I was back at that church when I was in my early teens for the Confirmation process. I didn’t think much about religion after that until we moved across town and I got into some interesting religious conversations with my new fundamentalist Christian neighbors. I was a teenager at the time, and Bob and Roxanne were nice people. I discussed religion with them a lot and even attended church with them at least once, but at the time religion just didn’t “take” with me. I became a typical teenage party animal and was totally turned off by religion. A few years later when I was in college, I met a guy named Mike who was a devout Christian. He shared his faith with me and I gradually became more receptive to it. Mike finally got me out to his car to read some Bible verses, and when we read Hebrews 4:12 I felt something stir inside of me, and I thought maybe there really was something to this “Jesus” stuff. Shortly after that, I went to a public showing of the Jesus Film put on by a local Baptist church. I was extremely moved by the movie, and I knew by the time that film was over that I wanted what this Jesus had to offer, and I became a Christian on March 7, 1985. My transformation from a typical teenage party animal to a devout fundamentalist Christian was rapid and dramatic. I stopped drinking and using drugs and threw myself totally and enthusiastically into my new-found faith. I made friends with the music director at the local Baptist church, and I hung out a lot with my friend Mike. We engaged in a whole lot of religious activity and talked about how wonderful and awesome Jesus was all the time. Mike introduced me tho the popular Christian music of the time, and I fell in love with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and particularly with Keith Green. I loved Keith Green’s music and his strong and uncompromising approach to the Christian faith. I wanted to see him in concert badly, and when Mike informed me that he was dead (plane crash in 1982), I was devastated. Shortly after my conversion, my mother bought me a nice Bible and she arranged for me to attend East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, TX. I arrived there expecting a church-like atmosphere and students who were just as devout as I was. What I found was indeed a religious school, but my fellow students, for the most part, were just typical young adults who happened to have religious beliefs. That was, I suppose, the beginning of my disillusionment and questioning. While I was at ETBU, I began to have serious doubts about my faith. I can remember a friend of mine there using his wallet as an evangelism tool. He tried to assure me that Christianity was for real and that once I was saved that was a done deal that I could never lose.

We did not know it at that time, but I had bipolar disorder that was not diagnosed and so was untreated. What began at ETBU was a cycle of swings between devout religious belief and periods of doubt and unbelief featuring severe substance abuse that I would be trapped in for 15 years of my life. I had a great time at ETBU while I was religious. I was able to put my doubts and questions aside enough that I could keep the faith, at least for a while. I had a great time traveling across the border to Louisiana for Christian concerts featuring the stars of the time. I particularly remember seeing a band called Cruse 2 and Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart. Mylon’s music was awesome and I loved the sincerity with which he delivered his message. I jammed for Jesus to their music for years! Back home near Houston, TX I went with my friend Mike to see Michael W. Smith and Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart. I had some really fun times in my younger Christian days! Here’s just a sample of his music from back in those days. I still love the music, though I no longer believe the message.

I had my first bout of doubt and unbelief while I was at ETBU and I started drinking and using drugs again — at a Christian school! Needless to say, they were not happy with me, and they kicked me out after the first summer semester of 1986. If I remember correctly, it was officially an academic suspension because I was not doing well in my classes.

Back home in the Brazosport area of Texas, I soon found a really fun church — Church on the Rock in Brazoria, TX. It was located several miles out of town on Hwy 521. It was a very fun place as churches go. I made friends with the pastor and other leaders of the church, and loved the Charismatic-style praise and worship services, and for a while I participated in the praise and worship choir. I sang solos frequently, and when I could manage to drag my young body out of bed early enough, I attended the 6:00 am prayer meetings. At that time, I was engaging in a great deal of religious activity. I prayed a lot, I worshiped for hours daily, I read my Bible frequently, and I told everyone who would listen about Jesus. I also frequently handed out those Chick tracts, which I thought were an awesome evangelism tool at the time. But even with all of that religious activity, doubts were creeping in. I suppose I could never see the connection between my cherished religious beliefs and the real world, and I know now of course, that that is because there is no connection between religious belief and the real world. I never read anything in the Bible that made me question my beliefs because at that time I had not been exposed to much of the Old Testament, other than scripture that was supposed to be about Jesus. I remember at one early morning prayer meeting, I was so filled with doubt and unbelief that my friend Mike had to pray me through to belief again so that I could enjoy the rest of the prayer meeting. I guess I found it hard to believe in God at 6:00 am in the morning. 🙂 There was also a time during one particular praise and worship service that I was so filled with doubts about the reality of it all that I couldn’t enjoy the service, but everybody else was experiencing a “powerful move of God”, as if we were getting a small taste of what Heaven would be like. Everyone else was awed by how awesome God was, but I felt nothing. I remember testifying later in that service about how I had missed out on the blessing of the awesome worship service, but that God had blessed me anyway. I don’t remember now how I thought God had blessed me or what I said, though. That church was fun. We had slogans for each year such as “Storm the Gate in ’88” and “Draw the Line in ’89”. A few times, the pastor allowed me to spend the night at the church. I played Christian music through their awesome sound system and prayed and worshiped and sought God all night long. At the time, it was an awesome experience, and I was grateful that the pastor trusted me enough to leave me alone in his church all night.

By the time the early 1990’s rolled around, I was working for my mother at her travel agency in Lake Jackson, TX and I had found a new church that I also enjoyed — Brazosport Christian Center. I made friends with the pastor there too, and I sang solos there as well, though not as frequently as I had at Church on the Rock. I made many good friends at both churches, and we all had a great time hanging out together. In 1992, I had the opportunity to perform one of my favorite songs at the time, Dallas Holm’s “Rise Again” at the Brazosport College Follies. I still have the video of that performance:

The next several years I was still a believer, but I was not nearly as religious as I had been when I was a bit younger. But I still believed in God and I still believed that the Bible was His Word. But by early 2000, my doubts and questions had built up to the point that I could no longer write them off to tricks of the devil, and I was not getting good answers from Christian apologists. As I related earlier, I got on the Net as it existed in early 2000, and went looking for information that was critical of the Bible and the Christian religion. I honestly was not expecting to find much. After all, the Bible was the inerrant, infallible Word of God, so what could really be said against it that was valid? I stumbled across http://www.infidels.org and I quickly began to get an education. I found my cherished Christian religious beliefs brought into serious question and basically debunked not with ridicule or derision but with solid evidence and facts. I soon also discovered http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net and my education continued. The author of that site unemotionally but thoroughly debunked the Bible and showed it for what it really is — a collection of ancient religious mythology, most of which was written anonymously. I became aware for the first time that Adam and Eve were not real historical people but rather they were part of an ancient creation myth that makes no sense to modern minds when taken literally. I learned that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are pure mythology. I was exposed to parts of the Old Testament that I had never laid eyes on before, and I learned that on numerous occasions that God had either ordered or directly committed mass murder and genocide. I began to learn that the character of the God of the Bible is not loving as I had been taught. I learned about failed prophecy in the Bible, and that was a shocker at the time because I had been told that fulfilled prophecy was a proof that God had inspired the Bible and that Jesus was the Messiah. I learned many things that brought the beliefs that I had held as Christian into very serious doubt. When I looked into what Jews had to say about Jesus, I was shocked again at how easily they proved from their own scriptures and religious beliefs and traditions that Jesus was not their long-awaited Messiah. I learned also that the two contradictory creation myths found in the book of Genesis have no scientific basis, that the Noah’s Ark story was borrowed from the much earlier Epic of Gilgamesh, the Exodus event never happened, that the events depicted in the Tower of Babel story is not how different languages came into being, and much more. I learned about the hundreds of meaningful contradictions contained in the Bible, which are graphically illustrated here. I learned about the atrocities in the Bible and also about the absurdities in the Bible, many of which I now find hilarious. For example, the book of Leviticus makes the claim that insects have four legs (Leviticus 11:20) and Psalms makes the claim that snails melt (Psalm 58:8). The Bible also clearly teaches a flat earth (see Isaiah 40:22 and Daniel 4:11 and Matthew 4:8), and the first chapter of the book of Genesis depicts a solid dome firmament (Genesis 1:7) with the stars stuck in it covering our flat world, which is supported by pillars (I Sam. 2:8).

While I was discovering all of these things and processing this new knowledge, I had some strong emotions to deal with. I became very, very angry that I had been sold a pack of ancient myths and lies for 15 years of my life and that I had mistook them for Divine Truth. I was rapidly losing my belief in God and I was realizing that Jesus was not and could not have been God in the flesh. He did not rise from the dead and he was not alive forevermore in heaven. Losing religious faith is a very painful and very emotional process. I didn’t just wake up and decide one day that I no longer believed in God and that I was no longer a Christian. It was a process that took months, and once I was no longer a believer, processing the anger and rage and betrayal that I felt for having years of my younger life stolen from me by a cult took several years to process, and it was not helped by the fact that I was dealing with serious mental illness at the time. It took a lot of research and a lot of time and a lot of thought for me to make the journey from devout Christian religious belief to atheism and the real world.

Leaving the Christian faith and becoming an ex-Christian does not automatically mean becoming an atheist, though that’s what it meant for me. Many former Christians find other faiths that they are happy with. I no longer find the Bible believable as the “word” of a God and my beliefs about Jesus have changed from “He was and is God in the flesh” to the much more realistic and mainstream among serious Bible scholars “he was an ancient Jewish apocalyptic preacher” who was the historical person behind the myths we find about him in the Bible.

There are five stages of grief that are generally recognized as valid, and I had to go through every single one of them as a part of losing my religious faith. I wrote about it recently on the http://www.ex-christian.net forums and I’ll re-post it here for your consideration. I apologize for the overlap and repeat of some of what I have already had to say.

The first stage of loss/grief is Denial and Isolation. I can’t really say I was in denial for very long about there being serious problems with my faith, but when I first started looking for information that was critical of the Bible, I honestly didn’t expect to find much! After all, the Bible was the Word of God, so what could unbelievers really have to say about it that would mean anything? I seriously roll my eyes now that I was once so uneducated and so naive, but I guess we all have to start somewhere. I believed that the Bible was the “inerrant, infallible Word of God” for many years because I was told that it was by people that I trusted at the time to tell me the truth. I had never actually read the vast majority of the Bible for myself, but the inerrancy of scripture was a major doctrine and for a long time I accepted it with little, if any, questioning. I was even quite impressed at the time with apologists such as Grant Jeffrey, whom I thought did a glorious job of defending the Bible as God’s Word. Anyway, when I came across sites such as www.infidels.org and www.rejectionofpascalswager.net I was shocked to discover how easily the Bible and my once-cherished Christian beliefs were ripped to shreds, and it was done not through ridicule, but with good evidence, the latest biblical scholarship, and verifiable facts. I can’t say that I was in much denial about what I was discovering because what I was discovering about the Bible I was also discovering that Christians couldn’t logically or rationally or factually refute, but I did isolate myself a lot. I spent hours on the internet with my glorious 56k modem connection, reading and researching and learning everything I could that was true and factual about the Bible and the Christian religion.

The second stage of loss/grief is Anger. After I got over the initial shock of discovering that the Bible was absolutely not inerrant or infallible, that it contained many ancient myths, and that it was definitely not authored by God, I became very, very ANGRY. All I could feel for quite a while when I thought about religion was ANGER and BLISTERING RAGE!!! Back around 2002, I put my first “Religion is Bullshit” website online, and with webmaster Dave’s glorious suggestion to turn it into a blog (those were new at the time), it ended up becoming quite popular. I ran that site until August of 2004, and much of what I posted reflected the DEEP RAGE that I felt for being lied to, brainwashed, indoctrinated, and severely psychologically damaged for 15 years of my life. I was ANGRY that I had wasted so many of my younger years trying to please a nonexistent god who never gave me any feedback, and that I had wasted so much time and emotional energy worrying about sin and worrying about whether I was really saved or not, and about my family and friends going to hell. And, once I realized the morally reprehensible nature of the concept of Hell, I was shocked with myself that I had ever bought in to such a demented and evil concept as being for real and that I had thought my loving God would send anyone there, much less my family and friends, all of whom were and are good people. The flip side of my anger about Hell was anger and deep disappointment that Heaven was not for real. I was so mentally ill at the time and I was so looking forward to that wonderful place where God would wipe away all of my suffering and tears, and I would live forever with Him in eternal joy, happiness, and total bliss. And then… I realized that it was all just an ancient myth. That realization was extremely difficult to accept, and I stayed angry about it for a long time. And, of course, letting go of belief in God was extremely difficult too. I was very ANGRY that God was not actually real and that I had spent so many years of my life loving and worshiping a nonexistent being. Then, once I became aware of the many atrocities in the Old Testament that portray God repeatedly ordering or directly committing mass murder and genocide, I was ANGRY that I had been taught that God was Love, and that I had believed it so strongly for so long. There is no way now that I can accept the God of the Bible as loving, given what I know about the Old Testament, and even how he is portrayed in the New Testament. In Acts 5, God murders two people simply for lying to him about their finances, and if the book of Revelation were to come true in our modern world, billions of non-Christian people would die horribly and then be sent to an eternal hell to be tormented endlessly without any hope of reprieve, forever. This is a loving God? I don’t think so… And what about Jesus? I trusted him as my loving Lord and Savior for years! I never once thought about the fact that it was him who introduced the morally reprehensible concept of Hell to scripture, and I never once heard in church about how Jesus said we had to literally hate our families to truly be his disciples (Luke 14:26), and I certainly never heard that he ordered those who refused to follow him to be killed in front of him (Luke 19:27). And what about hacking off body parts that cause you to sin (Matthew 5)? Sure, I read that many times, but with my Jesus Goggles firmly in place, and I never gave it much, if any, critical thought.

The third stage of loss/grief is Bargaining. I can’t really say that I did a lot of bargaining, but I did still desperately want God to real and for Jesus to really be real and Alive in Heaven forevermore. I am sure that I did some bargaining in the form of prayer, asking God to prove Himself to me in a way that would be undeniable. Of course, he never did…

The fourth stage of loss/grief is Depression. I did indeed experience a great deal of depression when I realized that the Bible was mostly ancient myth and legend, that there is no God and that the God depicted within the pages of the Bible was not good or loving, and that there was no heaven wonderful beyond description waiting for me after I died. Depression and anger, at least for me, were two sides of the same coin, and I spent years flipping between them. Some of that, of course, was due to my bipolar illness, but a lot of it was a normal part of working through the loss of my God and my once-cherished religious beliefs.

The fifth and final stage of loss/grief is Acceptance. This is largely where I am now, and I bless the Lard mightily for it! Glory! When I write about religion here or on my glorious website or on Facebook, I do still often write with great passion and emotion, and sometimes I take trips back to the Anger phase of loss/grief, but I always end up coming back pretty quickly to Acceptance once I had done my writing and had my say. I have come to accept the fact that there very likely is no God and that there very likely is no afterlife waiting for us after we die. We just simply cease to exist, in all likelihood, and I am at peace with that probable reality now. Knowing that life is incredible and amazing and fun — but TEMPORARY — has given me reason to wring every last bit of happiness and joy and fun out of it that I can in the HERE and NOW! It has given me reason to show my loved ones how much I care about them NOW! I enjoy my life IMMENSELY with no religious or spiritual beliefs and no reference to God. It took me many years to work through the stages of loss/grief to finally arrive at Acceptance. I stayed ANGRY for years. But now, I am completely and gloriously FREE of religion! I am absolutely FREE of all religious fears! I am free to be ME and to enjoy the one life I have on this earth FULLY, with nothing held back and with no worries about pissing Jesus off or angering his father (who is also somehow magically Him). I don’t have much money and right now I am just beginning to work on building my health coaching career, but I am HAPPY, and I feel extremely grateful to webmaster Dave for creating this glorious site (his blog and these glorious forums), and I feel extremely grateful to have so many online friends here who share the bond of having left religious belief behind in favor of the REAL WORLD and who love me and accept me exactly as I am!

I am not really that angry about the years that I spent as a Christian believer now. Yes, I wish that things could have been different, but I think we all have some regrets in life once we have lived long enough. I am quite happy now as an ex-Christian atheist, and I firmly believe that the best approach to life is facing the real world exactly as it is — as brutal as that can be at times — instead of hiding from it through religious belief. Even the hardest blows in life, such as the deaths of loved ones — should be faced head on. There very likely is no afterlife waiting on us after we die. When people die, they really die and are gone forever. That’s why it is so important to spend as much time as we can with those we love and to grab every moment of life where we are here to enjoy it!

I apologize if this post has seemed rambling and somewhat disjointed. That’s a natural result of trying to cover thirty years of life and changing beliefs and thought and research in one post that is reasonable in length. But I hope I have conveyed at least to some extent what it is like to travel the road from Christianity –> ex-Christian –> Atheist, and to some extent why I am no longer a Christian believer..

For those who may be interested, I wrote a book in 2013 on my experiences with religion and bipolar disorder. I am happy to make it freely available to my readers.

Bipolar Religiosity – Bipolar Disorder and My Religious Experience

http://alaskanatheist.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Bipolar-Religiosity-Bipolar-Disorder-and-My-Religious-Experience.pdf

I hope this post has been helpful to those who have not been in our shoes to make the journey from Christianity to Atheism. It can be hard to understand the life experiences of people who have lived through things that you have never had to experience. Trying to explain mental illness is difficult to relate to someone who has never had experience with it. In the same way, explaining the journey from religious belief to the lack of it can be difficult to relate, but I hope I have succeeded here at least to some degree.

I am extremely happy now and I enjoy life immensely with no reference to God or to any religious or spiritual beliefs whatsoever. I find the real world exactly as it really is interesting, exciting, and enthralling. Life is amazing and fun and very enjoyable indeed, but it is not permanent. It is a very precious thing because it is temporary and impermanent. Enjoy this life while you have it. There is no good evidence that there is another one waiting for us on the other side of the grave.

How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian

This article is almost too ridiculous to take responding to seriously, but what the hell? It might be fun. What is for sure is, that while some Christians might take this seriously as a reliable and serious guide, no educated, thinking atheist would. I won’t take the time or blog space to respond to the entire article, but a few choice selections should suffice. Glory!

Conversion to Christianity is a beautiful thing that requires that the person believes in God and in Jesus as the way to salvation.

Conversion to Christian faith is not at all a “beautiful thing”. It is a tragedy that often leads to years of totally unnecessary fear, guilt, shame and ignorance. Not to mention clinical depression often caused by needless fears over an imaginary religious concept called “sin” or over needless fears that one is not really “saved”, given the fact that there is no God and no such thing as “salvation”. Also, there is no such thing as “saved” or “lost”. That is a false distinction drawn by a demonstrably false religion.

Remember that Jesus doesn’t try to argue his way into an unwilling mind or soul. He simply loves unconditionally, forgiving sin of believers by God’s grace, through faith, not of works lest any should boast; it is the gift of God. Rather than trying to convert someone to religious beliefs, simply love them unconditionally, realizing Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you — go and sin no more!” It’s that simple kind of concept that can introduce Jesus’ non-condemning approach to life. Then as you need to show Bible based good news to other people, here are some step-by-step approaches. Avoid working straight through a religious agenda.

Jesus loves unconditionally? Have you actually read your own damn holy book? Jesus introduced the morally reprehensible concept of Hell to scripture, he said that we must hate our families to be his true disciples (Luke 14:26), he commanded that those who refused to follow him be killed in front of him (Luke 19:27), and he advised us to hack off body parts that cause us to sin and piss God off (Matthew 5). According to the Book of Revelation, Jesus and his father (who are somehow magically Each Other while somehow magically being separate Persons at the same time, according to the doctrine of the Trinity) will someday murder billions of non-Christian people and then torment them in Hell forever. Hallelujah! There is not much good news to be found in the Bible, if you read it as it actually is, without Jesus Goggles firmly in place. It is impossible to discuss religion with the intent to proselytize someone without having a religious agenda!

Be ready to have your own faith challenged. You might get confronted with well-formulated factual arguments. Many atheists who are interested in Christianity will be able to explain Evolution, the Big Bang or other scientific theories in their stories and opinions. They might refer to certain scientific evidence and people to support these theories. Before starting a discussion, you must expect that they have a non-religious orthodoxy with their evidence aligned in their favor, as they see it, regarding origins from the vacuum of space, universe and life from a black hole, from nothing but (mindless) energy changing to matter by no plan, yet results so astonishing, with no design — matter “rattling around” to create all the orderly, interdependent processes — as the basis of theories of origins (unobservable stuff form into theories of what they believe) may be arguable, perhaps logical, but how so?

I can guarantee that if you talk to me about your faith, you will have it challenged. 🙂 What, exactly, is “non-religious orthodoxy”? Atheists have no gods, no creeds, no rituals, or anything else to be orthodox about! We do not “align” evidence. We simply accept the findings of science as they are, and most of us understand how the scientific method works. As is sadly and unfortunately common with Christians, whoever wrote this has little understanding of science or current scientific theories. We have very good evidence backing up our scientific theories such as the Big Bang (cosmic background radiation, for example) and overwhelming evidence in favor of theories such as biological evolution. There is no discernible divine plan governing our universe or our world, but the origin of the universe and our world and the diversity of life on this planet can all be explained quite well and quite coherently without referencing God or any religious texts, including the Bible. Hell, the Bible gets the origin of the universe and the earth completely wrong in the very first verse of Genesis and then degenerates rapidly down into two contradictory and absurd creation myths. Our current scientific theories are quite logical and can easily be explained logically, but the same cannot be said of irrational and illogical religious beliefs such as Christianity. The central message of Christianity is that “God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Himself because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people living in an obviously mythical place to eat magic fruit from a magic tree”. How, exactly, is that logical?

Understand that the Bible presents “infallible” logic in Genesis 1, by presenting creation in several phases, clearly, understandable as simple to complex!

Infallible logic? Seriously? Genesis chapters 1 and 2 presents two contradictory and absurd creation myths that have absolutely no scientific basis and which both contradict known facts about how this planet and the diversity of life on it came to be. Chapter 3 of Genesis rapidly degenerates into an absurd story involving two obviously mythical people, an obviously mythical place, a talking snake, and magic fruit from magic trees. Modern, educated, thinking people are supposed to take these ancient myths seriously? I don’t think so…

Check whether you believe that the Bible is scientifically correct enough for you point of view, every time it mentions science, even though it isn’t a science text. In perspective, 3000 years ago, before Greek geometry or Arabic algebra, the writer of the oldest Bible texts said correctly, before science existed, that the universe was dark and void “in the beginning” (Genesis 1). The Bible prophet Isaiah stated that the Earth was round 2500 years before Columbus sailed westward, for the East Indies, speaking of “the circle of the Earth”, spheres are “round/circular”,[1] and, no, The Bible never said the Earth is flat.

Almost every time — if not every single time — the Bible mentions science, it gets it completely and often hilariously wrong! The biblical universe as described in Genesis 1 (small, three-tiered, and featuring a solid dome firmament with the stars fixed in it and a flat earth) bears little if any resemblance to the real universe as we know it to be today. The Bible prophet Isaiah did no such thing. The verse being referenced here is Isaiah 40:22 which states, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” This verse clearly teaches a flat earth since people would only appear “as grasshoppers” if seen from a great height and, generally speaking, you spread out a tent on a flat surface! The Bible indeed never explicitly states that the earth is flat, but it teaches that quite clearly, and not just in Isaiah 40:22. See also Daniel 4:11 and Matthew 4:8, both of which clearly teach that the earth is flat and which, in fact, require it to be flat if they are to be taken literally as true.

Be knowledgeable about Christianity. If you are a Christian and you believe that the Bible is the direct word of God, then have you read most of it and the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? If not, you may find the person you are trying to convert is better versed in the Bible than you. Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They may have hardened their beliefs more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society.

If you are a Christian and you want to remain one, this is very bad advice! Actually reading the Bible is one of the fastest ways I personally know of to become an atheist! Most atheists do indeed generally know much more about the Bible and the origins and contents of it than most Christians do. That’s a big reason why many of us who used to be Christian believers are now atheists! It is impossible to be aware of the contents of the Bible — the myths, the fables, the contradictions, the absurdities, the atrocities, the forgeries, the known bad “history”, etc. — and still take it seriously as the “word” of a god.

Familiarize yourself with some atheist arguments. If you’re going to present an argument for your beliefs, research how Christians answer what atheists have said about your arguments in the past. This will help meet the interest in the other person’s thoughts and time. You might see some atheist opinion, and hardened views online.

Another piece of very bad advice for Christian believers who want to remain believers! Research atheist arguments, and you are virtually guaranteed to find them much more reasonable and rational and fact-based than Christian arguments!

Be honest if feel your Christianity is being mocked. Give respect to an atheist, but also insist on respect for yourself. Discussion need not turn to an angry, harsh argument or put-downs. Don’t accept something said in a mean spirit without letting the person know how it makes you feel. However, realize that while you deserve respect, your ideas should stand on their own merit. Don’t be thin-skinned when your beliefs are challenged. Also, what you consider mockery might have a serious point that can be explicitly addressed. Don’t just assume that someone’s rebuttals are mean-spirited. Before reacting, make sure you understand the point made and keep a cool (and compassionate) attitude.

PEOPLE deserve respect. The same cannot be said for beliefs. Beliefs that are ridiculous or absurd can and should be openly mocked without apology! If Christians can keep their cool while their ridiculous mythological beliefs are being mocked, then awesome. If not, then that’s fine too. There’s not much that is more entertaining in an online debate/discussion than a supposedly “Spirit-filled” Christian losing their divinely-inspired cool and becoming very un-Christlike in a hell of a hurry when their silly beliefs are challenged or mocked. Glory!

Establish a common language. You will not convince an atheist that your belief has merit, if you use assumptions that the atheist does not agree are valid. You have to establish a common definition for terms and try to play with semantics to gloss over a point. When you have a discussion, it is best to speak the same language. This means that you will have to back up and use secular reasoning to establish your theological ideas.

There is no such thing as a common language that can be established between an atheist dealing with reality as it actually is and a Christian believer trapped in a religious fantasy world which has no discernible basis in reality. It is impossible to use “secular reasoning” to establish theological ideas which have no discernible or demonstrable basis in reality.

Ask why your friend is Atheist. Has your friend always felt that there is no (caring) creator? Has something happened to cause this person pain in life, or feel that religious leaders are hypocritical? Or does he or she simply choose to base a belief system on scientific proof? Whatever the reason is, you need to get to the core of your friend’s beliefs.

Do not assume to know anything about why. Ask whether he doesn’t believe because God made him mad. It’s a sensible question, and won’t hinder your discussion.

If I am asked, I will be more than happy to explain why I am an atheist, why I don’t believe in God, why I don’t consider the God of the Bible worthy of worship, and why I find it impossible to take the Bible seriously as the “word” of a God. The same can be said of most atheists. If asked, we will be more than happy to explain our position(s). I personally am not an atheist because I’m mad at a being that I don’t believe exists. I am an atheist because I see absolutely zero evidence that a god of any kind actually exists. God never thinks, says, or does anything at all in the real world except in the minds of believers, and that is a huge clue to his actual nonexistence. I do, however, object to acts that God is said to have committed in the Bible. I find mass murder and genocide (which God is recorded as either ordering or directly committing repeatedly in the Old Testament) morally objectionable, and I also find the concept of Hell, which Jesus allegedly introduced to scripture, to be morally reprehensible.

Discuss the tenets of Christianity. Remember: “People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone.”(Matthew 5:15-16). Quoting the Bible at an opportunity isn’t counterproductive and saying “I thank God for [something]” is fine. Remember, an atheist does not agree, by default, that the Bible is a valid source of information. You would have to establish that.

Discuss the tenets of Christianity with any knowledgeable atheist, and you will find them rapidly and utterly dismantled and demolished. The Bible is not a valid source of accurate and reliable information, and that fact is easy to establish.

Explain why Christianity helps people to live better lives. It may also be useful to tell your friend about people you’ve met at church. When listing their good qualities, include that they are “religious, devout, etc. Their religious fervor is going to impress an atheist.

Create reasons for your faith that have everything to do with personal experience. An atheist may want definite evidence, not just a rehearsal of your faith. You’ll have to provide concrete facts and scientifically thought out arguments. Your beliefs based on faith, God’s love and joy of worship (all immaterial things) are not evidence to the unbeliever. In fact, a reliance on faith is evidence that you aren’t relying on facts. However, this will work in your favor as faith is, by its nature, non-corporeal (not material matters).

Lots of people think that their religious beliefs make their lives better. That is hardly exclusive to Christianity. But I have found that dealing with the real world as it actually is without reference to an imaginary God or gods or any religious or spiritual beliefs at all has greatly enhanced the quality of my life and the happiness and joy that I get out of living it. Religious fervor is not the slightest bit impressive to an atheist! 😆 🙄 There are no concrete facts or scientific arguments that favor belief in God or in the tenets of Christianity, so good luck with that!

Give practical advice from the Holy Book, such as from the book of Proverbs. Keep in mind that this may not be effective since arguing from the Bible expects him or her to acknowledge it. Don’t forget to point out the Scripture itself; that way, he or she will know that it’s not your own thinking.

Yes, I’d love to hear practical advice from the Christian holy book. Shall we derive happiness from bashing the heads of infants against rocks (Psalm 137:9)? Shall we stone disobedient children to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)? Shall we execute homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13)? Shall we piss Jesus off by wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics (Deuteronomy 22:11)? Shall we piss him off too by eating shellfish (Leviticus 11:12)? Any religious “thinking” is not going to be original thinking, but the thoughts of ignorant men who lived a very long time ago. As Dr. House (fictional TV doctor) is famous for having said, “if you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.” If Christians would just think for themselves and if they would just actually read their own damn holy book, they would not remain Christians!

Even if your friend feels uncomfortable with it, pray to the Father in Jesus’ name or pray to Jesus aloud. As your friend listens (or just allows you to pray), pray that God will bless your friend and draw closer. Remember, it is God’s work to draw people in as they learn the Gospel, the Holy Spirit who cleanses them — and Jesus who saves by grace, through faith, not of yourself, not by working, so no one may boast; it is the gift of God… as you are created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared for us to do…

Sure, you talk to yourself and delude yourself into believing that you are addressing an Invisible Magically Undead Man who lives in the Sky, and I’ll think for you. I won’t be the least bit uncomfortable doing that, but I might have a hard time not laughing while you pray to an imaginary being and irrationally expect a nonexistent being to do magical things in my life.

This concludes my response to this ridiculous and, quite frankly, hilarious article. This response has been long enough, I think, and hopefully you have been as entertained reading it as I have been writing it. Glory!

From Atheism to Christianity – My Response

I recently published a six-part response to an article entitled From Atheism to Christianity. This post is simply to pull everything I wrote together into one post so that all six parts are easy to access. Hope you enjoy it and hope it helps to demonstrate how very weak the case for the alleged truth of Christianity actually is. Glory!

Part 1
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review/

Part 2
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review-part-2/

Part 3
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review-part-3/

Part 4
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review-part-4/

Part 5
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review-part-5/

Part 6
http://religionisbullshit.me/atheism-christianity-review-part-6/

From Atheism to Christianity – A Review – Part 6

This is part 6 of my glorious response to this article.

Persuaded by Lewis of the reasonableness of the Christian message, I then examined the evidence for the historical truthfulness of the Gospel records in the New Testament. And once again closer scrutiny of the facts forced me to abandon my old prejudices against Christianity. The first thing I noticed was the internal evidence for the truthfulness of the Gospel accounts. Far from being self-serving propaganda, the Gospels faithfully record the weaknesses and failings of Jesus’ disciples, including their frequent inability to understand what He is talking about. Peter, to cite the most famous example, refuses to believe Jesus when He warns him of His impending arrest and execution, and is firmly rebuked for it. Later, at the Last Supper, he swears he will never abandon Jesus even if all the other disciples do, but then goes on to do precisely that, denying all connection with Him in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house after Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. The other disciples are revealed in a similarly poor light. On one occasion they are shown quarrelling about who amongst them will occupy the highest positions in Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom. At other times they, like Peter, are shown to be either unwilling or unable to accept Jesus’ teaching that He, the Messiah, must suffer and die “as a ransom for many”. Not surprisingly, they too abandon Jesus at the moment of supreme crisis in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Christian message is not reasonable. God sacrificing himself to himself to save us from himself is not reasonable, nor is the ridiculous mythological story that led up to the supposed need for God to sacrifice himself to himself — the talking snake, the two obviously mythical people, and the magic fruit from the magic tree affair detailed in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 2:4-3:24).

The truthfulness of the Gospels? They were all written anonymously decades after the events they purport to describe allegedly occurred, and they are riddled with myth, legend, and geographical errors. The Gospels also hopelessly contradict themselves. Take a look at Dan Barker’s Easter Challenge concerning the contradictory resurrection accounts. The Gospels are not only not true, they are not even in agreement on the most important alleged event in Christian history, which of course is the alleged resurrection of Jesus! I’ve pointed out the fact that the Gospels are myth and not history before, but that fact bears repeating again. I posted this glorious video from Dr. Richard Carrier before in a previous response, but here it is again.

Even more significantly, all the disciples are taken by surprise by the Resurrection, despite having been told in advance by Jesus, before His arrest, that He would come back from the dead. Indeed, this very fact, mirrored in their slowness to accept the testimony of their women and the evidence of their own eyes, offers powerful support both for the truthfulness and reliability of the Gospels as a whole, and for the reality of the Resurrection. And this brings me, finally, to the two most compelling and convincing reasons for believing in the truth of the Christian message and the story on which it is based: the undeniable fact of the Empty Tomb, and the subsequent careers and martyrdoms of Jesus’ closest followers.

If these two reasons are the most compelling and convincing reasons you can come up with for believing the Christian message, then the message is in real trouble and on very shaky ground indeed. The undeniable fact of the empty tomb? Sorry, but that’s a later development in the Christian myth. The earliest accounts of the resurrection contain no mention of an empty tomb. The evidence available to us shows that the earliest community of believers did not know where the tomb was. The modern locations for the alleged empty tomb have no historical basis. And, we can reliably sketch out the development of the empty tomb story. It is a legend and nothing more.

The alleged careers and martyrdoms of Jesus’ closest followers carries no weight at all for the supposed truth of the Christian message. People throughout human history have believed things that are not true strongly and they have died for myths and lies. That is going on right now in the modern world as militant Islamic terrorists blow themselves and others up for the glory of Allah, firmly believing that their reward will be Paradise. Of course, that is not true, but does the willingness of these Islamic fanatics to die for their beliefs and their god indicate that Islam is true? Of course not, and so of course the Biblical disciples of Jesus and their alleged careers and martyrdoms does nothing to indicate the supposed truth of the Christian message, even if the accounts we have of their lives and deaths are accurate, which is questionable at best.

As Frank Morison (originally a sceptic) argued long ago in his illuminating book, Who Moved The Stone? none of Jesus’ enemies and opponents of the newborn Christian Church could deny the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb in which He had been buried by Joseph of Arimathea. Despite having every religious and political incentive to do so, neither the Jewish religious authorities who condemned Him, nor the Romans who crucified Him, were able to produce Jesus’ body, and by doing so, give the lie to the preaching of His resurrection by the disciples. If they had done so, Christianity would have been snuffed out instantly. But they didn’t because they couldn’t.

As has already been pointed out, the empty tomb is a myth, and for the record so is Joseph of Arimathea. Christianity started out as a very small and very persecuted sect that wasn’t even made legal in the Roman Empire until the year 313 A.D., and it was not much of a concern to Jewish or Roman authorities. Again, the Gospel stories are myths (historical fiction, at best) and not reliable historical accounts. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth, and very little if anything accurate can be known of the real historical Jesus at this point in time. That includes knowing what happened to his body!

Secondly, only the fact of the Resurrection and the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Jesus can adequately explain the change that took place in them, and their subsequent careers. Having been a frightened, broken-hearted, and demoralised group of men, they emerged from hiding and became a band of joyful and heroic missionaries, boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the Christian gospel, in the teeth of persecution and suffering. What is more, all of them except John eventually suffered painful martyrdom for doing so. Three of them, including Peter, were crucified; two were stoned to death; another two were beheaded; Thomas was killed with arrows in India; Philip was hanged on a pillar in Phrygia; another disciple was beaten to death, and Bartholomew (Nathaniel) was skinned alive in Armenia. Is it likely, if the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (as their enemies alleged), that they would have endured all this for something they knew to be a lie? Is it, in any case, psychologically credible to believe that these men, emotionally shattered by Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, would have had the will, motivation, strength, or courage to attempt to snatch away His dead body from under the noses of the soldiers guarding His tomb?

A paragraph of nonsense and suppositions about stories that I have already pointed out are suspect at best as far as their historical accuracy goes. There are various legends about how Jesus’ disciples died, but that’s all they are is legends! I have already pointed out that people throughout human history have lived and died for myths and lies! They are still doing so right now in our modern world! That Jesus’ disciples did the same according to ancient stories and legends is nothing remarkable.

My former scepticism about the Resurrection was further challenged by the undeniable and highly significant fact that St. Paul, the great ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’, had originally been the fiercest opponent and persecutor of the Early Church. Here was a man who had been passionately convinced that the Christian claims about Jesus were dangerous blasphemy, and that those who believed them deserved imprisonment, beatings and death. Then, suddenly, this same man changed a hundred and eighty degrees and became the greatest and most widely travelled evangelist of the fledgling Christian Church, a transformation, moreover, which began during an anti-Christian heresy-hunting missionary journey! What else, other than his encounter with the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, could possibly explain Paul’s dramatic conversion? This conclusion is further reinforced by the telling references in one of Paul’s pastoral letters to the many different witnesses to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection, most of whom, Paul declared, were still alive at the time he was writing (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-10). Would he have dared to say all this, implicitly challenging sceptics to interrogate these living witnesses, if Jesus had not risen from the dead? And would he, like the other apostles, have endured beatings, imprisonment, stoning by hostile crowds and eventual beheading, for a message he knew to be false?

The great Apostle Paul couldn’t even get the story of his own alleged conversion straight! There are three contradictory accounts of it given in the Book of Acts. See this link for a lengthy discussion of Paul and the development of his theology, which by the way, was quite different from what Jesus himself allegedly taught in the Gospels. The Book of Acts, which details Paul’s missionary journeys and the supposed growth of the Christian church is historical fiction as Dr. Richard Carrier demonstrates in this glorious video:

In addition, this glorious book makes it clear that the Book of Acts is fiction, not history.

What do alleged witnesses to an alleged event that never happened matter? It’s religious FICTION! Jesus never rose from the dead and never appeared to anybody!

Finally, the last nail was hammered into the coffin of my former atheism by the realisation that there was very good external evidence for the authenticity and truthfulness of the Gospels. There are first of all significant corroborating references to Jesus’ existence and execution in the writings of Roman historians like Tacitus and Suetonius, as well as in those of the first century historian, Thallus. There is similarly corroborating evidence about some of the details of Jesus’ life and death in other non-Christian sources like the Jewish Talmud. To quote one of these, the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, writing in about AD 93: “At this time [the time of Pilate] there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Antiquities of the Jews)

Nonsense. Although Josephus did mention Jesus twice in his writings, the Testimonium Flavianum referenced here is known to be a later Christian interpolation. Parts of it are original to Josephus, but parts of it were added later by Christian scribes. Most, if not all, of the supposed extra-biblical references to Jesus can be dismissed as hearsay. Further discussion of the Jesus and Josephus question can be found here, though it is buried in a response to David Fitzgerald’s book entitled “Nailed”. Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah, as Orthodox Jews can easily prove. They maintain a number of “anti-missionary” sites on the Net, and they can prove conclusively that Jesus did not fulfill the requirements necessary to be their Messiah.

In addition to all this, the manuscript evidence for the authenticity and reliability of the Gospel texts is earlier and more plentiful than that for any other document of ancient times. In particular, the historical reliability of Luke’s Gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, which is full of explicit political, legal, medical, cultural and topographical details, is confirmed by a lot of archaeological evidence as well as by plentiful documentary evidence from non-Christian sources. According, for instance, to classical scholar and historian, Colin Hemer, in his study, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, 84 separate facts in the last sixteen chapters of the Acts of the Apostles have been confirmed by archaeological and historical research.

The manuscript evidence we have for scripture, including the Gospels, is actually not very impressive. As has already been pointed out earlier, the Book of Acts is historical fiction and not a reliable account of actual historical events. Even if it’s true that there are some facts that can be verified in Acts, that does not make the accounts it relates historically accurate and true. The TV show Star Trek makes references to some stars that actually exist. Does that make Star Trek true and for real? Of course not.

So, confronted by all these facts and arguments – philosophical, scientific, and historical – I surrendered my sword of unbelief to God, and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life during the hot, dry summer of 1976. In the years that have followed, I have never regretted that decision, despite many ups and downs and trials of my faith. Through prayer, worship, and the company of other Christians, I feel I have begun to know Jesus personally and to understand something of the breadth and height and depth of His love for me and for all His creation. If, therefore, my journey from atheism to faith has helped in any way to persuade you of the truth of Christianity, I can only hope and pray that you too will experience the joy of reconnecting with your Creator by asking Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your own life. He longs for you and is only waiting for you to make the first move.

Questionable “facts” and arguments that are easily refuted? Yeah, real convincing stuff you have there… you can’t have a real relationship with someone who does not actually exist, and that includes Jesus. There is no Creator to have a relationship with. Sin is a religious concept with no demonstrable basis in reality. And, I thought Jesus made the first move by sacrificing himself to himself to save me from himself? I sincerely gave my heart and my life to Jesus on March 7, 1985 when I was 19 years old. That was after extensive “witnessing” by a Christian friend (who remains a hardcore believer to this day) and after seeing the Jesus Film. I have lived to deeply regret that decision, as have many other ex-Christians, many of whom are now atheists, just as I am.

On the other hand, if you are still unconvinced by my testimony but are willing to explore these issues further, I invite you to read I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, (Crossway, USA, 2004). It is a very readable yet scholarly book which sets out, in massive and very interesting detail, the philosophical and scientific evidence for the existence of God, as well as the historical and archaeological evidence for the reliability and truthfulness of the New Testament. Get hold of it and see whether it can resolve your doubts or answer your objections and questions.

It takes absolutely zero faith to be an atheist. And Christian apologetics by people like Norman Geisler? Gimme a fucking break and pardon me while I enjoy a good belly laugh. I haven’t bothered to read Christian apologetics in years, and the one time I tried recently, I had to stop reading when the author of the book (William Lane Craig) started blaming shit on Satan. Again, give me a fucking break…. I’m supposed to take an author and a book seriously that blames shit on an obviously mythical being who likes to appear as a talking snake in mythical Bible stories? And this book was supposed to convince me that Christianity is a religion that makes sense for modern, thinking people to embrace. 😆 🙄

This concludes my response to the article “From Atheism to Christianity”. I hope it’s been helpful and that it has demonstrated the many problems that exist with taking the Bible and the Christian religion seriously and as being believable by educated people living in the modern world. Glory!