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Top 10 Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian:

Discussion moved to this forum by Amazon on 20 May 2009 00:12:07 BDT.


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Showing 1-25 of 277 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 May 2009 21:15:45 BDT
Pat W says:
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

(This was pulled from a facebook dicussion page.)

Enjoy all!

Posted on 14 May 2009 10:15:52 BDT
S.R.J says:
I like this list, having spent a large part of my life with a 'born again...' I can tell you , it resonates, it certainly does. Hypocrisy writ large methinks

Posted on 19 May 2009 21:14:45 BDT
Reduman says:
I love the list, but I fear that those who actually take the above tenets seriously, typically suffer from a complete sense of humour failure in such matters. My real worry for the Western world is that the hard won rights and freedoms we (still) hold dear to disagree with all this nonsense, will one day be simply be swept aside by mass ignorance and brute force. Should that come to pass, gentle mocking, will probably still provide us with some solace ..

Posted on 20 May 2009 03:57:32 BDT
wonder1 says:
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Posted on 20 May 2009 11:51:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 May 2009 12:11:58 BDT
Dude says:
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

This argument is like saying that just because the answer to 2+2 isn't 5 and it isn't 6 or 7 or thousands of other numbers, the answer can't be a number at all. If the question is, which God/Gods are real and the answer is Jesus and Jesus alone, then, just as the answer to 2+2 is 4 and 4 alone, you shouldn't be too surprised when a person believing in Jesus gets a bit defensive when people start saying it isn't.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

Well I agree, young (and old) earth creationists are quite annoying.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

There is a big difference between 1 person with many parts (head, arms, legs etc...) and many people. Similarly there is a big difference between 1 God who has three parts and three Gods.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

Allah (or 'the God') is the wrong God. If Jehovah really exists (consider it as if you believed it) then of course he is permitted to use Joshua as an instrument of his wrath upon a wicked people, and of course it is wrong to kill if he has not commanded it (as in the case of Muslims killers and most Christian killers throughout history). By the way, the command 'do not murder' had been misunderstood by many. Hebrew has two words for the act of taking someone's life, just as English does. One is 'murder' and one is 'kill'. The former is defined as unjustified killing, the latter is defined as killing of any kind (justified or not). Therefore, to the Hebrew mind, killing is not necessarily murder, although murder always involves killing. All ancient Hebrew manuscripts from which the Old Testament has been translated, use the word 'murder' in the commandment 'do not murder' though the translations do not always render it this way, thus the confusion. The Christian (i.e. biblical) position is not that killing is always wrong. As such, the Christian is not being inconsistent in his belief that the killings attributed to Allah are wrong, and that the killings attributed Jehovah in the bible are right. However, it must be understood that the killings done in the name of Jehovah later in history (such as the crusades), were unauthorized and therefore evil.

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

We laugh because it conflicts with our beliefs (i.e. we think they are wrong); we believe we have certain good reasons for believing the things we do, and so the hindu must have made a mistake in believing what he believes. Just as you, no doubt, laugh at Christian beliefs because they conflict with yours (i.e. you think they are wrong), thus you think we have made a mistake and you laugh (though not in a nasty way I hope). Also, God miraculously impregnating a woman is quite different from God actually having sex with a woman: Christians do not believe God had sex with Mary, thus she is called 'the virgin'.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

Again, I think you are right about this; I wish Christians would embrace science, for, as I see it (and you will no doubt disagree) they have nothing to fear from it, except when it produces faulty theories that contradict correct interpretation of the bible (the theory of evolution not being one of these).

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

I don't think what you call "fundamentalist" Christians consider their religion tolerant, it is liberal Christians who think that. I just call myself a Christian, but indeed, human beings have rejected almighty God, though he has revealed himself to them plainly, and they have suppressed the truth. Therefore they will spend eternity in hell for their sin, except for those that put their faith in Jesus, who will immediately save anyone who comes to him, "Ask, and it will be given. Knock, and the door will be opened".

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

Well, as the apostle Paul says, "if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how ill anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air...If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, will they not say that you are out of your minds?" (1 Corinthians 14)

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

You are making up statistics, but if a Christian did that you would jump down their throats. God answers a prayer: "Lord, please let me win the lottery" - "NO!", There we go, an answer to prayer! Though I should point out that God, in the bible, never says he will answer all prayers, so I don't know why some Christians think he will. On the contrary, "They cried for help, but there was no one to save them-to the Lord, but he did not answer." (Psalm 18)

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

Well I think this is total crap, if I may say so. I've met many Christians and many atheists. All of the Christians I've met read the bible regularly, and none of the atheists I've met have ever read the bible. They have looked at some websites by atheists, quoting certain scriptures, but apart from that, have never even read a single book of the bible. And even on these websites, the verses are usually taken out of context, making a mockery of the notion that these people are actually seeking for the truth. And these are the atheists that tend to be the ones who are most affronted by the scriptures that say human beings suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and are therefore going to hell. Though, as you have, they occasionally boast (having read their little internet pages) that they have read more. Ha! "The Lord laughs at the wicked" (Psalm 37)

(This was pulled from a facebook dicussion page.)

Enjoy all!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2009 18:08:18 BDT
Pat W says:
"The Lord laughs at the wicked" (Psalm 37) Hey, great line.

Well he must be in hysterics at the priests and nuns, the so-called 'people of god', when they sexually and mentally abused innocent children in their care as the iris case has shown today.

Those 'Fathers' clearly read the part of the bible that said - 'All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9)

Where was your 'god' when this was happening? Please, tell me.

The sheer fact that this had not caused international outrage is appalling. Don't you feel at all embarrassed by being religious?

Frankly, you could claim a piety equal to mother teresa and I wouldn't care. These people are supposed to have god's email address so as far as being religious is concerned; they are the yardstick that all others are measured to. In so far as christians are concerned. (don't bother about semantic differences - there's 'only one god' remember? Or is it different now because it suits you?) So if they are the 'men of god', the Fathers, the keepers of the flock, where does that leave the herd? Denial probably. Embarrassed and waiting for it to go away.

Or, without any irony, you'll pray for the lost children. The mind boggles. Couple this with the pope peddle crap that condoms make AIDS worse in Africa and imams saying small pox vaccinations, again in Africa, is part of a US plot to sterilize Islamic people.

There is a reason why religion feels knowledge is a 'sin'.

How anyone can claim to be religious after this is beyond me.

Sorry people. The religious disgust me. Claim sincerity if you want, it's up to you now. Clearly, you're `god', is not there. YOU make the decision for YOURSELF. Live free of your dogma.

Posted on 20 May 2009 18:25:04 BDT
E. V. Cotton says:
I am not sure that this flippant and kind of hackneyed list deserves a response but what I would like to say is this.
Christianity is about one's self and how each of us strives to live in the way that Christ described and, most importantly, to recognise that this life is not about us but about finding our teeny weeny little plan in the grand tapestry which is that of human life on earth.
Nothing else matters.
Of courswe, we all make mistakes, we fall and we get up again and atheists have a field day. But I would like to think that most Christians spend their lives just trying to be what God intended. This often leads us to difficult paths but, as time goes on, we become more and more aware of God's loving presence in our lives and surely there can be no greater joy than feeling this extraordinary love surrounding us.
So, forget the list - and others derived from it! There are only two things we are asked to do, first to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and secondly, to love our neighbour as ourself. Wow! There's a lifetime's work for you!
So, God bless you all and fill your lives with His love and joy.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2009 01:26:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 May 2009 18:11:59 BDT
Dude says:
Well, thank you for your response. I'm not going to take Cotton's advice and not reply to you because maybe God will open your eyes. Maybe he won't though, in which case he might open someone else's eyes who is reading this. Maybe he won't open anyone's eyes who sees this message, who knows? I may as well try and pray that he does.

I am not a Roman Catholic and I'm not going to try to defend them. If Bill thinks politics is stupid and Bob (a socialist) thinks it's important and Bill tries to attack Bob's position by pointing out all the flaws in capitalism, I doubt very much that anyone would expect Bob to defend capitalism (an ideology he doesn't believe in), just to convince Bill that politics is important. Likewise, you shouldn't expect me (and I'm not saying you do) to defend the Roman Catholic church (an institution I don't believe in) just to try to convince you that Christianity is true.

As far as God letting evil happen, my friend, God was the one who brought it about so that the evil happened! God raises up evil for his own purpose, namely, that he might destroy it. He hates evil and so he raises it up as his enemy that he might show his great power to destroy his enemies. He is powerful, he is angry, and he is to be feared!!! Some Christians will tell you otherwise; rest assured, they are contradicting huge swathes of the Bible. Premise 1) God is Love. P2) Love hates evil. P3) Humanity is evil. Conclusion) Love (i.e. God) hates humanity: it's simple logic. And it's all biblical. "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). "The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers" (Psalm 5:5) "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12). God hates you! But it may be the case that he will have compassion upon you, who are his enemy, and bring you to the knowledge of his Son. For God shows love even to those he hates. Upon many he will simply patiently bear with their wickedness, giving them (from their perspective at least) plenty of chances to repent, and watching as his will unfolds and they reject all those chances. Still he bestows upon them all sorts of blessings they don't deserve, such as clean air, food, water, luxuries of all kinds, warm breezes, summer days, clothing, the joy of parenthood etc... and then, at the appointed time they will die, and, being consistent, he will take no pleasure in their deaths. Just as no-one wants to pay the price for an item in a store, but will pay it anyway so that the items purpose might be realized, God, temporarily desiring in earnest that all come to repentance, bears the burden of withholding his grace from them, that his eventual eventual purpose for them might be realized. And so, once all is done and their lives are over (lives filled with ease and comfort, lives filled with sexual sin, and blasphemous talk, lives in which those oh so very occasional starts of unintelligible guilt were dismissed as psychological freaks, but were in fact the Holy Spirit convicting them of their sin), yes, when those lives are over, God desires for their repentance no more, and his his eventual purpose in creating these human beings is realized: his burning wrath is quenched in their everlasting pain. God is love, yes, but part of being Love is hating evil. When you hate something you want it to be in pain, you don't want it not to exist - that's when you suffer from something, hatred is different. God is a "consuming fire" of rage (Isaiah 33:14) against evil: he brought about the Nazi's, he brought about the pedophile priests, those atheists, all of whom have done evil in secret. He brought about all that is wicked so that it would be a stench in his nostrils, an object of his hatred, a vessel of his eternal wrath. For them is reserved his everlasting indignation!

"The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom" (Proverbs 16:4)
"God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear down to this very day" (Romans 11:8)
"God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22)
"The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts-so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them" (John 12:40)
"The Lord is a God of great wrath who expresses his indignation every day (Psalms 7:11)
"Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?" (Lamentations 3:37-38)

And upon those whom he chooses to bestow his grace, they are vessels of his mercy. God brings them, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, according to his purpose, to the knowledge of him. He opens their eyes so that they can see this world for what it really is; academics who have constructed for themselves a web of lies to hide God's providence in history, religious communities espousing that everyone will go to heaven and comforting their own emotions, violent governments who oppress their own people, democracies that encourage sin after sin, the media with their lies and lies, politicians pretending to be good and jumping on any opportunity to say their opponents are bad. This world has turned aside! No one is good! And God will show this to some people, to others, he will keep them blind. Upon those he bestows his grace, they will see clearly, they will see themselves for what they are, depraved sinners. And God will change their hearts, transform their minds, and they will repent, they will seek after God, they will die to themselves so that they may be spiritually born again and live for God. God will put a love in them for Himself so deep it will never be uprooted. Though they might suffer in life they will have peace in their hearts and rejoice in the sufferings. Whatever comes their way, he has taught them to say, "it is well, it is well with my soul"

If you seek after God you will be received by him! If you stop making excuses, stop comforting yourself with your distractions and your rubbish attempts at arguments to disprove the existence of the God of Israel, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ, for whom there is plenty of evidence, then you will come to know the unsearchable love and joy of God's grace. Read the bible, go to a Reformed church, pray, seek after God (scientists would call all these things research, I bet you've not done them), and you will find him. I know you probably don't want to find him, but that very fact should just go to show you that what I've been saying is true - you are a depraved sinner who seeks not after God. Have a change of heart, stop faffing around with all your atheist buddies, who are as self deluded as they come, and open your mind to the possibility that all those things you don't want to be true, might just be true!

Posted on 21 May 2009 03:03:16 BDT
What's really sad about the basic posts in this discussion, is that they are so full of stereotyped thinking, so short on any real understanding.

For example, 6.9 Atheist's initial list is of very little relevance to authentic Christian fundamentalists. It actually covers the various kinds of literalists, creationists, "holy rollers" and just about anyone who 6.9 Atheist doesn't approve of.

Maybe we should have a list of 10 ways to know you are seriously narrow-minded about judgemental about people you don't like. We could start it:

10 - You hide behind an alias
9 - You poke fun at people rather than trying to understand them
8 - You misrepresent their ideas and then argue about the misrepresentations as thiough they were the real thing
7 - You have never, ever, made a genuine effort to understand anyone's point of view except your own
6 - etc.
5 - etc.
4. - etc.

But would this lead to a fruitful discussion. I don't really think so.
So having made my point I'll leave it there.

Posted on 21 May 2009 03:05:46 BDT
What's really sad about the basic posts in this discussion, is that they are so full of stereotyped thinking, so short on any real understanding.

For example, 6.9 Atheist's initial list is of very little relevance to authentic Christian fundamentalists. It actually covers the various kinds of literalists, creationists, "holy rollers" and just about anyone who 6.9 Atheist doesn't approve of.

Maybe we should have a list of 10 ways to know you are seriously narrow-minded about judgemental about people you don't like. We could start it:

10 - You hide behind an alias
9 - You poke fun at people rather than trying to understand them
8 - You misrepresent other people's ideas and then argue about the misrepresentations as though they were the real thing
7 - You never, ever, make a genuine effort to understand anyone's point of view except your own
6 - etc.
5 - etc.
4 - etc.

But would this lead to a fruitful discussion? I don't really think so.
So having made my point I'll leave it there.

Posted on 21 May 2009 18:06:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2009 18:34:53 BDT
R. Clay says:
May I amend the list 6.9 Atheist pulled from another discussion page:

10 - You deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but don't understand how someone can deny the existence of yours.

9 - You fail to understand how scientists can say that people evolved from other life forms, but have no problem with the assumption that, despite all our imperfections, we were suddenly created by a perfect supreme being.

8 - You disagree with polytheists, but have little problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - You are offended with attrocities attributed to people not of your religious beliefs, but believe that God/Jehovah slaughtering all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordering the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua", is all 'part of an understandable masterplan'.

6 - You disagree with Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women (and swans!), but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You consistently attempt to find loopholes in well-established scientific theories, but rarely question the reliability/useability/relevance of the single Bronze/Iron Age document which your whole religion is based upon. (Allegorical intepretation may be 'nothing new' as such, but it is interesting seeing biblical intepretation constantly 'evolve' and re-develop iself to fit-in with new scientific facts and theories.)

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet, with the exception of those who share and follow your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. But still consider your religion and your God to represent and teach "Tolerance" and "Love".

3 - Modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you that God does not exist, but "blind faith" in miraculous events are clear and definite evidence of God's existence.

2 - You believe that human praying is evidence for a divine being, whether it comes true or not.

1 - I do not think 1 is a fair statement at all so will ignore.

I hope this is a slightly fairer interpretation of the original points! Although I must admit that the original premise "Top 10 signs you're a Christian Fundamentalist" , is gimmicky at best.

Like most Atheists i'm still looking for any evidence that there is a God.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2009 20:10:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2009 20:29:18 BDT
Dude says:
have you read any books on the evidences for Christianity? or have you just read books attacking religion? that is to say, you claim you are "still looking for any evidence that there is a God" are you actually doing this? actually looking for evidence? I doubt it. Have you searched out the matter? Have you read the bible and prayed (sincerely) that God will reveal himself to you if he really exists? Have you gone to a Reformed church, have you spent time with reformed Christians so that you become aquatinted with the christian world-view? I've spent years studying atheist claims about the non-existence of God, I've read books about it (the God delusion was my favorite), I've lots of atheist friends with whom I've talked and spent time with. (as far as the 10 points go, see my other posts). And to be quite honest, atheism is a bit rubbish. There is one God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. No other God's exist. God has revealed himself through the Bible, inspired and compiled by the Holy Spirit. If you read it and do what it says (i.e. pray that God will reveal himself to you) then God will show himself plainly.

The evidences for Christianity are numerous - God has established himself firmly throughout history, by his providence. It was prophesied that the Jews would sin against God, and they did when they (and yes, it was only some, but they are judged collectively) called for the crucifixion of the messiah. It came to pass: Evidence. The bible says that for their sin they would be scattered over all the earth. In 70 ad with the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem the Jews dispersed and are now found in every country on earth. It came to pass: Evidence. It was prophesied that God would turn the land into a desolate wasteland, which is exactly what Israel has been for hundreds of years. It came to pass: evidence! It was prophesied that wherever they went, God would bless them. Jews throughout history have been blessed in many ways: they make have been highly successful at whatever they do, whether it be in the sciences, the arts, in business, they have been blessed. They have made a massive contribution to history throughout the years. It was prophesied that they would be persecuted wherever they went, because of their sin. And indeed, we all know that they have been. If we were living 2000 years ago, you would have said the bible is contradicting itself: 'how can it say that they will be both blessed and persecuted' you would cry. Yet we see that God has brought all to pass just as he said he would. It was prophesied that God would keep his people, and indeed, though we are living 2000 years on, the tribe of Israel still exists. Where are the edomites? Where are the Amelikites? Where are the other tribes, the tribes of other gods? All dispersed. But God's tribe, the tribe of Israel, it is still here (sociologists are baffled)! It came to pass: Evidence! And God said that he would re-form his nation, that he would draw them from all the ends of the earth back to the land of Judah. In the middle of the twentieth century, as scientists were claiming with more and more veracity that God doesn't exist, when the slogan is touted "God is Dead", when the world has been riven with violence. Then... then is the moment God decides to reveal himself, then is the time that he shatters the delusions of the skeptics. He rebuilds his nation, he calls his ancient people back. In 1948 God established the nation of Israel after 2000 years of Jewish exile since they turned from him in such a terrible way. Nietzche is dead! God is still alive. It is prophesied that on their return the land would be turned into a land flowing with milk and honey (they used this expression of their land to describe it's abundance and beauty). And in the last 60 years we have seen that desolate wasteland totally transform, it now is a green land, God has turned it to a land of abundance. It came to pass: EVIDENCE! Yet they have been frustrated by war. And did God not tell Joshua that if he refused to destroy his enemies completely, that the neighbors of Israel would be a thorn in their side? It was prophesied. But Joshua did not complete the command of the Lord, he made a treaty with his neighbors. God had told him to wipe them out completely, men, women and children, but he said 'peace in our time'. And now, are they not plagued? Are their neighbors not a thorn in their side? It came to pass! Evidence. To read about all the prophesies concerning Jesus, the messiah, read the book of Matthew. Atheists like to claim Matthew just made it up. But they have no evidence and can ascribe no motive. Why would the early Christians, persecuted and threatened with execution lest they renounce their faith, profess it boldly, die rather than deny the Christ they saw risen? Read Matthew - you want some evidence, then do some research!!! Stop reading that trite of Dawkins, straw-man defenses and deductively invalid arguments. Open your eyes! For a response to the problem of evil, see my previous post. There is one God, half the bible is prophesy, it is clear that this is how he has chosen to reveal himself to humanity, look at history! In the times of Old, when he had not yet fulfilled his prophesies, did he not reveal himself in mighty wonders? The cloudy pillar! The river of blood! In every generation he has shown himself. And not only that, but to every individual he provides enough evidence that they might believe in him. Even the way we have been made, the way we have evolved, our bodies themselves tell us that there is a God. Ask Dawkins! Even he admits it. Just as it is said in scripture, by nature he has revealed himself to all people. Has God not given you a conscience, has he not shown you clearly that you are a sinner in need of redemption? But you have lied and covered up the truth, you have said in your heart 'I am basically good'. You have ignored the warnings and scoffed and the men on the street preaching the good news. 2 humans (representative of humanity), provided with paradise, given one simple command, which was for their own good (so that they did not come to the knowledge of good and evil, for, as soon as they knew that God knew he would have to judge them for their sinfulness), have everything they could wish for. And yet they sin, they turn against God. Does this story not tell us that we are by our very natures weak to temptation? Does it not show us that we are born into a sinful race? And this story of Adam and Eve, is it not proven true, thousands of years later, as we discover that we have evolved as a process of natural selection and that it is in fact built into our very nature to do so many things that God has commanded us not to. YES! It is in our nature to lie, to cheat, to be selfish! THE SELFISH GENE! We are sinners by nature (if you want to know why God planed history this way, see my previous post). And now, will you read the bible? Will you do your own research? Will you search out the matter? Will you ask God to reveal himself to you? "ask and it will be given, knock and the door will be opened" Is he not compassionate, gracious, and loving? (again, for why God lets evil happen see my previous post). Think of it - absolutely anyone, even the worst sinner, if he seeks after God, God has promised that he will find. Will you do it? Or will you turn aside? Hellfire awaits you if you do. I don't tell you to scare you, obviously if you don't believe in God you couldn't be scared by a concept of hell. But I tell you to warn you, so that you are without excuse. In hell you will know that you were warned, you will see that you are guilty in the sight of God.

So, read! Look! Search! God has blessed us in this generation - the common people are no longer illiterate, they no longer have to rely on the bible being read to them by the preacher. They can do it themselves. Will you read some atheist polemics to re-assure yourself of what you already believe? Or will you do what you claim so often you have done, and research the evidence, read about Jesus, go to a reformed church (where you're sure to get a bible message, even if they do deny evolution), pray (even if you think God doesn't exist, ask him sincerely to show himself to you and see what happens, but be proactive! don't sit on your butt complaining that God hasn't revealed himself yet, God gave you that brain, use it!): a good book to read is Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, because it will help you understand what you are reading in the bible, but it's very long, so if that seems a little daunting, read something like Knowing God by J.I. Packer (an excellent book, though not really an apologetics book). There are about a quadzillion apologetics books on the market: Christians have been making plenty of merchandise out of the gospel, just as God commanded them not to do. Most are crap, but some are good. And whatever you do, stop expecting Christians to do everything for you - you have to do some of the work (of researching Christianity) yourself! Pray for God's grace to save you from your sin.

Posted on 21 May 2009 22:29:18 BDT
R. Clay says:
'have you read any books on the evidences for Christianity?'

-Yes.

'that is to say, you claim you are "still looking for any evidence that there is a God" are you actually doing this?'

-Short answer, yes.

'And to be quite honest, atheism is a bit rubbish.'

-Rubbish to you it may be, but true it almost certainly is.

'Jews throughout history have been blessed in many ways: they make have been highly successful at whatever they do, whether it be in the sciences, the arts, in business, they have been blessed. They have made a massive contribution to history throughout the years.'

'It was prophesied that they would be persecuted wherever they went, because of their sin. And indeed, we all know that they have been.'

-Who have they been blessed by? I thought God persecuted them wherever they went!?! Your preach about the persecution of the Jewish people seems to me to highlight a distinct lack of deeper historical understanding.

'Atheists like to claim Matthew just made it up. But they have no evidence and can ascribe no motive. Why would the early Christians, persecuted and threatened with execution lest they renounce their faith, profess it boldly, die rather than deny the Christ they saw risen?'

-'they have no evidence'= Ironic. Does the latter part mean Islamic suicide bombers prove the existence of Allah?

'It is in our nature to lie, to cheat, to be selfish! THE SELFISH GENE!'

-Did you only read the title of the book? Is this the extent of your limited understanding of Dawkin's theory?

'So, read! Look! Search!'

-How very condescending of you.

'stop expecting Christians to do everything for you - you have to do some of the work (of researching Christianity) yourself!'

-Christians are yet to prove anything to me.

'Even the way we have been made, the way we have evolved, our bodies themselves tell us that there is a God.'

-I would like some evidence for your statement.

Sorry to skim through but I hope I have kept your quotes within there original context. I think the original 10 points weren't the best criticism of the Christian belief system, but just wanted to reflect a slightly fairer viewpoint. All i see from your preach-like statement (could have done with more paragraphs ;)) is the same kind of regurgitated, nonsensical mis-representation of history. Your un-failing belief in the coming of the 7th Age and the Anti-Christ is not news to me, but thanks for reminding me. I am still waiting for evidence of God.

Posted on 22 May 2009 01:35:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 May 2009 10:16:31 BDT
Dude says:
-Who have they been blessed by?

==I already said, God blessed them in that he made them to be "successful at whatever they do, whether it be in the sciences, the arts, in business"
God blessed them even through their punishment.

==Islamic suicide bombers no doubt believe in Allah. Just as Matthew no doubt believed that he has seen the risen Christ. But Islamic suicide bombers don't claim to have seen God, they think he exists for other reasons, and so we might agree that their reasoning is flawed. Matthew claimed to have seen Christ in person and saw Thomas put his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands. It's quite hard to believe you saw all that if you didn't. If matthew was the only one, then we might say he was just a bit kookoo. But the resurrected Christ was revealed to over a hundred people before his ascension.

Did you only read the title of the book?
==Heh, yeah, I totally judged it by it's cover. But tell me if I got it right, cos I did read his God Delusion book all the way through and I imagine it mentioned the same stuff, about our genes coding us such that the things we do are built into who we are, and he goes onto say how we can go beyond our genes and so is this is the kind of stuff his Selfish Gene book was about? I got bored several chapters into Unweaving the Rainbow and decided his science books are probably a bit better but less interesting than his religion book. Sorry if I implied that I had read his book when I hadn't.

'So, read! Look! Search!'

==You got me. Though I didn't mean it in a condescending manner, I meant it in a 'you probably don't seek after God when you should' manner (heh) - But do you pray? do you read the bible? and when you read evidence for Christianity books do you honestly consider the argument and contemplate them or do you just get all defensive and close up?

'stop expecting Christians to do everything for you - you have to do some of the work (of researching Christianity) yourself!'
-Christians are yet to prove anything to me.

==But why should we? Search it out for yourself. That was also why I said "read! Look! Search!'" because it's a little annoying when atheists just expect you to answer their every question. I mean, it's not that there aren't perfectly good answers, it's just that they should do the research themselves and stop acting like Christians exist to answer their questions.

Even the way we have been made, the way we have evolved, our bodies themselves tell us that there is a God.
==This was about the fact that humans naturally (that is to say, before they have looked at the evidence) tend to assume there is a god (I expect there is some genetic reason for this, thus I attributed this natural tendency to our bodies, though I may be wrong of course) Perhaps we create things and so assume there must be a creator of everything - so perhaps it's not our genetics, but whatever it is, my point remains the same, that we have a natural instinct to believe in a god. There are about half a billion atheists in the world compared to 6 billion religious people. Religion has been a feature of pretty much every civilization and tribal practice since the dawn of time, so I think it's fair to say believing in a God comes naturally to us.

your preach-like statement

==I take your point.

"is the same kind of regurgitated, nonsensical mis-representation of history" Your un-failing belief in the coming of the 7th Age and the Anti-Christ is not news to me, but thanks for reminding me. I am still waiting for evidence of God.

==It's dispensationalists who believe in the 7th age, I'm not a dispensationalist. As far as my evidence goes, the regurgitated nonsensical mis-representation of history I gave you was it. Though I do think there's plenty of other evidence but it would take me just ages more to describe it all, so I won't bore you. But as far as my "regurgitated nonsensical mis-representation of history" is concerned, what did I get wrong?

The Jewish diaspora was one of the most significant in history (in fact, it's where we get the word diaspora from). The Jews have remained as a distinct ethnic group almost everywhere they've spread, even though most ethnic groups merge into whatever society they enter (for example, there aren't any more Angles or Saxions or Normans living in England now). The Jews have outdone other ethnic groups in many spheres (my interpretation being that this is a blessing upon them) and have clearly been persecuted, (my interpretation being that this is collective punishment). When the Jews started to come back to Israel in the late 19th, early 20th century they found it largely underdeveloped and much of the land was as waste, as it no doubt had been for a many hundreds of years. Israel was restored in 1948. Massive agricultural developments have happened since, making the land rich and fertile. So these were the facts that I stated, which did I get wrong? The Jews really are a sociological anomaly. And for all these events there is a corresponding prophesy in the scriptures. Now you, of course, are just going to say this is a co-incidence, but for those like me to whom this seems too unlikely to be a coincidence, I count it as evidence for Christianity. I thought it was pretty good, it took me ages to write! (now I'm just begging for scorn).

As far as presenting a coherent world view (including interpreting history, though this is only one element) is concerned, that matches up to as many establishable facts as possible, and as much of the human experience as possible, I think the protestant bible does a much better job of relating all the things in life together and making all the pieces fit in a way that seems the least forced and the most consistent, than anything I've heard from any other religion (and I've read books by Jews, Muslims and Buddhists all presenting their viewpoints, and I'm currently reading through the Qur'an to see if it's any good) or ideology (such as humanism) or atheist world view.

I say it again (not to be patronizing, but just to remind you that this is my main point), the bible says that if you seek, you will find. So try it out if you're serious and this isn't all just about tickling your intellectual fancy; pray and ask God to reveal himself to you, ask him sincerely to save you from your sin with Jesus blood if indeed he really exists, read the bible, read some explanatory text to help you understand it, (such as Institutes of the Christian Religion by Calvin or Knowing God by Packer - I mention these two again because they really are the best I've read), go to a reformed church so that you hear the gospel; this is what it truly is to search out the matter - If you're just reading some dry text or watching some television debate you might think you've done plenty of research but really you haven't done any of the stuff that Christians did when they came to christianity, so it isn't proper research at all - it's enough to convince you you've thoroughly looked into the issues but just shy of doing anything that might cause you a little unease.

Posted on 22 May 2009 08:06:11 BDT
Ally says:
And there I was thinking I was a born-again christian fundementalist!!!!
I don't fit any of your simplistic charicatures.!!
What is wrong with me?
Do I not fellowship with God, am I not filled with the Holy Spirit, am I not saved. Ha Ha Ha.

Come on, if you're going to attempt to argue a case against what Christians believe, at least engage your God-given intellect.

Posted on 22 May 2009 14:36:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 May 2009 16:38:02 BDT
Fonaweb says:
Unfortunately, rather like the atheist poster campaign on the London buses, the list rings hollow, glib and ultimately pointless. No amount of argumentation is going to convince the average atheist to convert or vice versa.

What we can at least say is the following:

1. there is a large body of people who believe and who would not normally be regarded in any other context as gullible idiots and have spent a lot of time thinking about and pondering the subject (including all the above issues), in some cases a lifetime - read Radcliffe's 'Why Go to Church?';
2. in the UK, you can express an interest or devotion to virtually anything - astrology, Buddhism, atheism - and elicit at least polite interest; but the words guaranteed to send a shiver of conversation-stopping embarrassment through any gathering is the admission that 'I am a Christian'; it is the modern taboo: "I'll try anything once - but don't mention that"; I invite you to ponder why that is and why indeed it has been that way many times and in many places through history;
3. as Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God; now it is true that the atheists may be right and that there may be no God; but if there was (and you want to know what that God ought to be like if there was one), then Jesus Christ and his message are the model for what that God ought to be like, a message and life story that is so counterintuitive and inimical to our natural instincts (come to God as a little child, love thy neighbour as thyself, humble yourself) that many cannot stand to hear it.

Christianity is a religion that stands totally against human nature and urges us god-like to rise above it, while also totally accepting and accommodating the human weaknesses in us all. My message to the atheists is forget what they taught you in RS at school (which you thought was rubbish), or what you have picked up along the way, or what you think of organised religion in general (which quite frequently has anyway disregarded Christ's teachings and gone its own way to serve whatever political interests it had at the time). Read the life story of Christ, ponder it, then decide.

Posted on 23 May 2009 21:50:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2009 21:52:35 BDT
R. Clay says:
Hi again Dude,

First of all apology for the innaccurate dispensationilist reference, was more of a general metaphor for the belief in impending doom, should have been clearer (but it is confusing that Christianity contains a thousand religions).
Just a couple of points on what you said specifically.

='Matthew claimed to have seen Christ in person and saw Thomas put his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands. It's quite hard to believe you saw all that if you didn't. If matthew was the only one, then we might say he was just a bit kookoo. But the resurrected Christ was revealed to over a hundred people before his ascension.'

But there is little evidence(contemporary sources) outside of the Bible mentioning Jesus or the resurrection of him. The only one I can think of is Jophesus, a Jew born around AD 35. He has a paragraph about Jesus Christ yet there are quite a few reasons why it is possible that it represents a later, Christian insertion into his original text (ie a Jew refering to Jesus as Christ, out of context, no other references).

='This was about the fact that humans naturally (that is to say, before they have looked at the evidence) tend to assume there is a god'
='There are about half a billion atheists in the world compared to 6 billion religious people. Religion has been a feature of pretty much every civilization and tribal practice since the dawn of time, so I think it's fair to say believing in a God comes naturally to us.'

Well I agree 'ritual activities' appear throughout all cultures/civilisations, yet as a final year History/Archaeology undergraduate myself there is a lot of debate about whether prehistoric 'ritual' represents a coherent 'religion', and actually correlates with modern theistic belief systems. It could(tentatively) be seen as evidence for 'spirituality', or evidence for a belief in something external to the physical world (afterlife, supernatural forces etc), but not a definitive monotheistic religion where there is belief in a single God.

I still believe you are mis-intepreting the Jewish persecution. I am not denying it's significance and distinctiveness, but believe you are enforcing a Biblical framework upon it, basing the original causation of the persecution over a 2,000 year period due to a vengeful and prejudice God. In some ways the conflicting prophecies within the bible have been self-fulfilling. Much of the Jewish persecution has been down to a deep-seated resentment from Christianity; i.e. for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah, for being a rival Abrahamic religion, and ultimately for the Jewish people being held accountable for Jesus' death. It seems to me that your view actually removes accountability and agency from the real perpetrators of consistent Jewish persecution, and surely suggesting it should be attributed to a 'master-plan' of a seemingly vindictive God is a dangerous and delusional way to think. (Surely God being upset and vengeful over his sons death is a very human trait, and human traits are representative of sin, not God-like perfection?)

As to your suggestion that I pray to find God, I am afraid I see prayer as a pointless exercise. For me prayer represents a method of self-confirmation, if you want to believe something badly enough you may find yourself confirming it without any external evidence. Prayer represents contemplation in a delusional context.

You believe an external being can talk to you in your head[Delusional context] > you have a cause/reason to pray[eg being upset, angry] > you psychologically request for God's assistance with the relevant issue[actual prayer] > whatever happens God will answer your prayer[if it comes true he listened and 'made' it happen/if it fails it was God saying no 'for your own good']

That is a bit of a simplification but is the kind of process I believe goes on in relation to prayer. It all comes down to religion being based upon irrationality. When Richard Dawkins effectively described religious people as 'delusional', he did not mean you are mentally ill, just that the belief system you conform to is irrational and that the particular belief in God is a delusion in itself.

Overall your are absolutely right about reading all the relevant material(both sides) and it is a very good point. Although I think you would find Atheist' are more often aware of the religious perspective in comparison with 'believers' being aware of the non-religious, purely because of the religious indoctrination which goes on among the children and the exposing of our youth to religious ideals. Although it does seem with the bus campaign, for example, it may give some children coming from more fundamentalist parents/family more reason to actually question their belief system. I do not see how the bus campaign was harmful, its significance isn't to convert but to bring people of any age/religion/ethnicity to question, debate and see how their own beliefs stand up to reason/rational thought etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 May 2009 00:29:22 BDT
Dude says:
R. Clay. this is turning out to be quite interesting.

"Christianity contains a thousand religions"
***one for every believer if you mean we all have our differences, though that's a fairly narrow definition of 'religion'. to broaden it out most people would say anyone who believed in the essentials was a christian (i.e. one God, incarnation jesus, death + resurrection bringing salvation) though I take your point about just how many times we've disagreed, and fought wars over it and such (though I suspect many other factors had more to do with these so called wars of religion)

"little evidence outside of the Bible"
***good point. though that's plenty since it contains 4 gospel texts all written in the first century (question over John, though most scholars agree about 70AD). Also it contains Acts and the various letters mentioning the risen Christ's revelation of himself.

"ritual activities" not "a definitive monotheistic religion"
***humm...well, okay. However, if we move from history (which looks mainly at facts) and do some psychology (which thinks more about theories) then we might say that throughout history people have had some notion of a creator god, yet this notion has been crushed under a barrage of various ritual activities. My theology would say that this is because we (the human species) are determined to suppress the knowledge of God by any means possible.

"mis-intepreting the Jewish persecution...original causation...removes accountability...God being upset and vengeful"
***Ah, well, I see you haven't read my earlier post, the one that starts "Well, thank you for your response" Because I certainly believe in most of the things you were saying about causes, but I believe all causality is the outworking of God's plan. Simplistic example: Jacob tricks his brother Esau out of his inheritance. The bible describes exactly the process by which Jacob does this. But then when it comes to explaining the matter in a more than natural way, that is, a spiritual way, it says God gave the inheritance to Esau - even though it was entirely Jacob's action that meant he got the inheritance. It speaks here of God determining events. I'm not denying that there are plenty of reasons why the Jews were persecuted. But what I'm saying is that God determines all things. Therefore we may, for example, blame the nazi's entirely for the holocaust, but it was still by God's decision that the nazi's did do what they did (again, see previous post - the one I said you hadn't read). So I am in no way saying we shouldn't blame the nazi's or hold responsible the various agents (including "Christian" societies) who caused the persecution of Jews, and did so for whatever reason applied at the time. But I say that whatever happens in this universe, whether it be you stubbing your toe, to the movements of the planets, it's all God doing it. I don't deny gravity, I don't deny you being clumsy, but it's all according to God's plan. Seriously, for my explanation of evil and other related things, read that post. And so, when we see the prophesy of something that will happen, such as God punishing the Jews, it's just silly to think that when that happens, it will mean there won't be reasons at the time for the persecution. But we also realize that this is something God has said would happen, and did happen. There are over 500 prophesies in the bible that have been fulfilled (though many atheists like you refute that many of them were, saying that matthew made a made it up that they were fulfilled - or some trite about the old testament not saying the messiah would be born of a virgin, when the word 'almah' in hebrew was commonly used to refer to a woman who had not had sex yet, and is used in exactly this way at other points in the bible, and when it was exactly how the Jewish scholars had translated the word into greek when they made their definitive translation of Isaiah over 200 years before Christ, that is, translating it into the greek word for virgin rather than young woman, only changing their minds after Christian claims that their messiah had been born of a virgin, claiming it was all a mistake to try to discredit the new sect. Wow, don't I ramble, but I mention it cos Dawkins talks about this in his book, getting it totally wrong and showing, once again, his lack of theological understanding)

"I am afraid I see prayer as a pointless exercise"
***Alright, but if it's how Christians came to God and you've never tried it (in any sincere way), you have no right to say you've researched whether christianity is true. If you pray something like "God, I don't know if you exist, but I expect you don't, I am doing this to see if anything comes of it, so I pray, if you are there, and your Son is the Lord of all creation, as I have been told he is, then bring me to know you and accept you as my God and King" and you do it seriously (speaking outwardly as if to an external agent, and not to yourself, and not joking at all) then I think you've done enough to say you've researched the matter. Otherwise, you're refusing to do the one thing I think the bible says you must, "ask, and it will be given" - you haven't asked.

"whatever happens God will answer your prayer"
***I already answered this one in response to the other guy [[God, in the bible, never says he will answer all prayers, so I don't know why some Christians think he will. On the contrary, "They cried for help, but there was no one to save them - to the Lord, but he did not answer." (Psalm 18)]]

"Atheist' are more often aware of the religious perspective in comparison with 'believers' being aware of the non-religious"
*** Well, I don't know any atheists who have read the bible (though, I accept it's a long volume, they could have at least read the new testament or even just a gospel - yet the one's I know [and maybe these just happen to be particularly stupid ones] haven't read any), but I know loads of Christians who have read The God delusion/God is not Great/seen loads of vitriol from various documentaries made by these people about how God doesn't exist. In fact, I bet a third of the people who bought the God delusion were Christians.

"I do not see how the bus campaign was harmful"
*** if it convinced anyone christianity isn't true, and christianity is true, and they go to hell, I'd call that pretty harmful. but I don't think it did. I think most people thought both campaigns were, to put it as politely as I can, a bit naf.

Posted on 24 May 2009 16:23:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2009 16:27:59 BDT
R. Clay says:
Hi, thanks for the reasonable responses, I did read your post but forgot to re-read it when posting my most recent point so should have done a bit more cross-referencing!

='one for every believer if you mean we all have our differences, though that's a fairly narrow definition of 'religion'.'

Well it was more an off the cuff term, but with the rise in Liberal Christianity everyone seems to follow their own set of guidelines and interpretations of the Bible.

='good point. though that's plenty since it contains 4 gospel texts all written in the first century'

But I don't think the scriptures can be a good case for reliability, surely they want people to believe in Christ the Son of God? There is little other evidence of contemporary references to the story of Jesus outside of the Bible. This clearly does not definitely prove the Judeo-christian God isn't real, but should really make you question whether basing your whole belief system and world-view on one book is wise.

='but I believe all causality is the outworking of God's plan.'
='I don't deny gravity, I don't deny you being clumsy, but it's all according to God's plan'

Is this not the typical infinite regression argument? The original premise being 'everything had a cause and that cause is God(or his plan)'. Yet you probably would not apply that logic to God himself and state that God a cause? Surely thinking God as uncaused could also be transferred upon the Universe. 'If God doesn't require a cause then there is no reason for the Universe to have a cause.' You may then say that God 'exists' outside the physical cosmos which we find ourselves in. Yet doesn't this beg the question as to exactly how a 'non-physical entity/being/creator'(clear contradiction there) can actually instigate a 'master-plan'? Surely he would have to hold some 'physical' properties to 'direct' humanity?

='Alright, but if it's how Christians came to God and you've never tried it (in any sincere way), you have no right to say you've researched whether christianity is true.'

I understand your point but i have prayed before when I was younger. I was brought up in a typical liberal Christian background, but my parents were good enough never to force any form of religion or political ideology down my throats. I went to a Church of England Junior/Primary and Secondary School, including singing hymns in assemblies, religious headmasters, assemblies from local vicars, visiting Church at Christmas/Easter and various other times. I understand that we never really engaged with The Bible as ou would propose a Christian has to, but i was given this kind of indoctrination which would attempt to instigate some form of belief in the Judeo-Christian God. However, i never felt comfortable in Church or in religious assemblies(I am sure plenty of other pupils didn't either), the ideas they proposed did seem to contradict. God=Love yet God supports genocide/murder/homosexuality/racism. Christianity seemed irrelevant and eventually I just realised it for what it is(in my opinion ofcourse), a human construct which serves various social/cultural/psychological functions but isn't actually true.

='I don't know any atheists who have read the bible (though, I accept it's a long volume, they could have at least read the new testament or even just a gospel - yet the one's I know [and maybe these just happen to be particularly stupid ones] haven't read any), but I know loads of Christians who have read The God delusion/God is not Great/seen loads of vitriol from various documentaries made by these people about how God doesn't exist. In fact, I bet a third of the people who bought the God delusion were Christians.'
='There are about half a billion atheists in the world compared to 6 billion religious people.'

So by your reckoning 2/3rds of the readers of the God Delusion were atheist/agnostic, which is directly disproportionate to the amount of atheists:theists (1/2million:6million) on the planet? Although my actual point was that most people(whether atheist/agnostic/theistic) will have had some religious practice/tradition imposed somewhere in their lives when they were children. So many have gone through a process of being exposed to religion at a young age, then later when they go to university, or pick up a book like TGD, or watch a documentary on TV; they are exposed to the atheistic views. Whereas religious people are more likely to go through life without being exposed to atheistic views(many, not all, see it as going against their faith and would offend God, who represents Love but should be feared).

Posted on 24 May 2009 18:50:51 BDT
Top 10 Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian:

You know when you're a fundamentalist Christian when you read all the comments and all you do is pray.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2009 00:59:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 May 2009 10:27:58 BDT
Dude says:
well, T.J. has got it right about reading the comments, but because this hasn't descended into insults and seems to be quite a rational discussion (and maybe that's because it's between two people who were raised in Christian families - ooh, the cheek) I think I'll respond this time. But to be honest, it seems like neither of us is going to persuade the other (like either of us expected otherwise) so I might call it a day. But I'll leave you to have the last word. Though I will say, thank you for the interesting discussion, I have appreciated it.

"the rise in Liberal Christianity everyone seems to follow their own set of guidelines and interpretations of the Bible"
***Ah liberal Christianity, the bane of my existence.

"There is little other evidence of contemporary references to the story of Jesus outside of the Bible."
***I might suggest that this is because the people who compiled the bible included almost all the major early texts that did mention jesus, in the bible. And it just so happens all of these described him as the messiah. So that's a pretty good record, every contemporary text is in agreement that Jesus is the messiah.

"There is little other evidence of contemporary references to the story of Jesus outside of the Bible. This clearly does not definitely prove the Judeo-christian God isn't real, but should really make you question whether basing your whole belief system and world-view on one book is wise."
*** Well I don't think I do base my whole belief in the bible on just the claims made in the new testament. Like I say, I think many of the old testament prophesies have been fulfilled after the canon was completed, not just during the time of, and noted in, the new testament. I also would point to various other evidences (such as the linguistic uniqueness of Matthew, the way the scriptures are compatible with the findings of modern science when many ancient texts are simply incompatible, the remarkable ways in which the scriptures make claims that those who wrote them could not possibly have known to be true yet have since been shown to be true, the internal consistency of the many texts written over a very long period of time by many authors, etc... [and I appreciate you'd refute most of these claims]) but I suppose my main reason for believing in the protestant canon goes back to what I said about world views. I think that as one gets more and more aquatinted with the christian scriptures, they reveal themselves to the reader as truth. Which is to say, they seem not simply to present a plausible world view, but a positively convincing one, the more one understands their meaning. Over and above any other world view I've been personally aquatinted with (including atheism), this one appears to me to fit most comfortably with the universe I find myself in, and sheds most light on the human experience. The real splendor of the Christian faith (by which I mean faith in God's word), is the way it changes the heart, transforms the mind and comforts the soul. In the moral sphere it brings clarity, in the intellectual sphere it brings stimulation, and within oneself, in the deepest parts of one's being, it brings joy and peace. Therefore I proudly profess the Christian faith with as full an assurance as one could wish for, because it is the source of my hope and my succor, the lamp to my feet and the light to my path. (sermon over)

"Is this not the typical infinite regression argument?"
***No, since I wasn't using it as an argument for God's existence, I was simply trying to explain that I believe all things happen according to God's plan. All I was trying to do was refute the allegation that I believed there weren't causes for things like the holocaust and the allegation that I believed these things happen because of God's direct intervention.

"Surely thinking God as uncaused could also be transferred upon the Universe."
*** I'm not sure (though even if you're right and the universe doesn't need a cause I don't think it matters since it still might have a cause). But let me have a crack at refuting this anyway: I think if you go back in causality 4 3 2 1, then you get to something that you want to be another number (though you know it can't be one) but you also know that 1 is a number just like 4,3, and 2 were numbers so there doesn't appear to be any reason that the rule should not apply to 1 also. The rule being, event 4 was caused by event 3, 3 by 2 and so on. So you have to accept that since 1 is an event and events have causes the original event also needs a cause since it was still an event. So now you're left having to say that some ultimate reality [it needs to be ultimate so it isn't like any event], which exists beyond this universe entirely, must have caused event 1. Therefore this universe exists in exactly the way it exists because of the way this ultimate reality exists. This UR doesn't need to be called God, but it is responsible for the existence of life, love and snails, so it's pretty hard to not call it God. of course, whether it should be called God or not is irrelevant to the refutation of the idea that the universe could have caused itself.

"Surely he would have to hold some 'physical' properties to 'direct' humanity?"
*** But this is just silly. Omnipotent beings don't HAVE to do anything. They do not HAVE to have physical properties to make physical things. If they have the power to do everything but they don't have the power to make physical things without being physical things themselves then they don't have the power to do anything, and so aren't omnipotent. they should even be able to do the logically impossible, which is obviously something you or I can't conceive of. But we cannot conceive of an omnipotent being! Try thinking of anything to do with infinity, whether it be infinite power, infinite knowledge, whatever, you can't do it! imagine a length of string starts where you're sitting now, and goes forward for infinity. now imagine another length of string that starts a meter from where you're sitting and goes forward for infinity. They're both infinite so they should be both equally long, but you know for a fact that one is exactly 1 meter (which is an infinitely small length compared to infinity - and no, you can't conceive of what it means to be infinitely small either) longer than the other string. It doesn't make any sense! We are too dumb! We are limited, our skulls are 7 inches wide, why on earth do we think we have the ability to conceive of everything? You don't get omnipotence. Neither do I. But what we can say is that if there were an omnipotent being, he would not need to faf around with being physical before he could cause something that was physical. In fact, all the laws of logic (such as 1+1=2) would also be under his control, having emanated from him in the first place and so could God make 1+1=3? Yes. How? I have no idea and neither do I need to have any idea. I can imagine that there is a imaginer that can imagine things I can't imagine and that is all I need to imagine (actually, it should be 'that is all I need to know', but I like saying imagine).

Also, we know now that out of all possibilities there is about 1 in a 4000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 (and no, i did not count the -zeros) chance that the physcial constants needed at the big bang would turn out to be the constants needed to have a universe that could support life and so it makes the universe we live in a highly improbable thing to exist if there was no ultimate reality determining that such constants existed (could this fact be God revealing himself to us yet again, but this time in our age and through our developed scientific understanding?). The multiverse idea is a possibility, but there could never be any evidence to suggest there is a multiverse.

"prayed before when I was younger...liberal Christian background"
*** younger doesn't count, you were not a mature adult. Doesn't this suggest to you that you are not being scientific? liberal christian background eh? mine was an irrational christian background - but I've improved on it and got way more hard-core christian in the process.

God=Love yet God supports genocide/murder/homosexuality/racism.
***God/Love hates all these things (though I'm surprised you mention homosexuality amongst evil's - were you saying this as if from my perspective (cos it way is), or did you mean to say homophobia?), and the perpetrators of such things exist either for Love's grace or Love's wrath. And yeah, Love's got wrath.

"So by your reckoning 2/3rds of the readers of the God Delusion were atheist/agnostic, which is directly disproportionate to the amount of atheists:theists (1/2million:6million) on the planet? "
*** Oh gosh! At the time I wrote it I knew you'd say something like this. Okay, in britain I bet you that most people are not religious. I have a friend who ticks Anglican every census. He told me this and I said, "oh right, I didn't realize you believe in God" he said "oh no, I don't believe in God". 70 mil people in country or whatever, I bet about 10 mil are nominally religious, 3 mil are proper religious (like me) and 50 mil belong to the 'not religious in any way shape or form and couldn't give a damn' religion commonly called "christianity", and 10 mil are like you are atheists/ agnostics not wanting to call themselves atheists (cos they don't want people think of them as arrogant little dawkinses) but who definitely are atheists. So much for my maths. Anyway, the point is that I was talking about readership in the UK only and so religious people are way more hooked into atheist 10 mil thinking than atheists are into the religious 10 mil thinking. Though I do admit, the relig.10 mil do, through institutions such as CofE, have more power than the atheist.10 mil do though this is changing because of the influence of the media. my main point wasn't about the god delusion, it was about who does more research of the other side, and I reckon the religious do more research (we must do: think about it, our mission is to spread our religion, so it's like our job to know and tackle the other side. it's not an atheist's job to do anything but live and then rot, so why would he care to research the other side? Though, as you've pointed out, to know the truth one needs to do the research. still, christians have a specific mission [coming from their understanding of the truth] as well as a desire to know the truth, so we have an added incentive)

"exposed to atheistic views(many, not all, see it as going against their faith and would offend God, who represents Love but should be feared"
***Most religious people see it as their duty to "search out a matter" (I can't remember the reference, but rest assured the bible says something about it) and so I think this claim (like quite a lot of my "I bet" statistics) is totally made up.

And yes, Love should be feared, it hates you (because you have set enmity between yourself and it by your sin), and if you turn to it, it will become your God and love you more than you can imagine. I know it's odd, but the bible is odd.

I don't think I'll respond to anything more now, mainly cos I don't have the time to keep this up, but also because I don't think we can get too much further. It's been a good run. So, thanks again for an interesting discussion, I've very much enjoyed the debate.

Posted on 25 May 2009 19:32:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 May 2009 19:47:20 BDT
R. Clay says:
Thanks for the discussion has been very interesting. (Ooh i get final word)

='seems to be quite a rational discussion (and maybe that's because it's between two people who were raised in Christian families - ooh, the cheek)'

I disagree on that considering I know plenty of people from other religions who can been just as reasonable. Of course Christianity has had a huge impact in shaping current society but there are a thousand (well not exactly a thousand...) other reasons for our modern liberal sensibilities and openess to discussion.

='every contemporary text is in agreement that Jesus is the messiah.'

-It has been noted many times before that there are plenty of other discrepancies within the New Testament (Dan Barker has a good but general summary in his book Godless). But the earliest Biblical texts are dated to around the mid 50s C.E., the Epistles of Paul, and these represent the least convincing part of the Bible which supports the historicity of Jesus. Although it does seem strange that no external sources really corroborate with the Bibilical accounts.

='Which is to say, they seem not simply to present a plausible world view, but a positively convincing one, the more one understands their meaning.'

It just seems to me that the world view the Bible gives is a 2,000 year old one and not all is relevant to today. Not only does it include various ideas such as Jesus condoning slavery (which makes many people wonder how Christians know whether the parts they pick selectively are the 'right' ones), but the division of Christianity into so many sects/orders just begs the question, is the Bible's 'real' and 'true' message really that clear and defined? You may say this is down to human error yet how can the message of the omnipotent, omniscient God hold so much confusion? God failing to get his message across adequately just shows the inherent and unaviodable 'imperfection' of the supposedly 'perfect' being.

='No, since I wasn't using it as an argument for God's existence, I was simply trying to explain that I believe all things happen according to God's plan. All I was trying to do was refute the allegation that I believed there weren't causes for things like the holocaust and the allegation that I believed these things happen because of God's direct intervention.'

I realise now I jumped the gun a bit with the debate, but implying all things happen according to God's plan and his direct intervention does bring out some interesting questions. Although these have been dealt with much more adequately and in depth by other quizzical people.

='But we cannot conceive of an omnipotent being! Try thinking of anything to do with infinity, whether it be infinite power, infinite knowledge, whatever, you can't do it! imagine a length of string starts where you're sitting now, and goes forward for infinity. now imagine another length of string that starts a meter from where you're sitting and goes forward for infinity.'
='You don't get omnipotence. Neither do I. But what we can say is that if there were an omnipotent being, he would not need to faf around with being physical before he could cause something that was physical.'
='I have no idea and neither do I need to have any idea.'

So your way of understanding and arguing how God, the immovable object and the creator, could exist is by saying we are unable to comprehend him? I don't really see this as evidence but more of an illogical and circular argument. 'God is infinite, yet somehow has been able to create a separate cosmos detached from himself. However, humanity is a separate entity from God, but God is still representative of an infinite being.'

='So now you're left having to say that some ultimate reality [it needs to be ultimate so it isn't like any event], which exists beyond this universe entirely, must have caused event 1.'

But here your premise is the argument that the Universe can be recognised as events 4, 3, 2, 1. Could I not just as easily say 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, -1, -2, -3..and so on...and so on...

Your orginal argument starts out by assuming that the series of events causing the universe to exist began at 1 (any evidence for this?). I can easily label each event with numbers and then go into the negative infinitely. However, in your view the Universe was caused by the event which preceded 1. And as you do not write anything before 1, that cause must be supernatural and inconceivable, so lets call it 'God'. See the problem with your argument?

='I can imagine that there is a imaginer that can imagine things I can't imagine and that is all I need to imagine (actually, it should be 'that is all I need to know', but I like saying imagine).'

Does imagining something with the infinite ability of imagination make it real? You say 'that is all i need to imagine/that is all i need to know'. Is this not the kind of delusion (i am not intending to be offensive here) that a person who says, 'i can imagine that there is an imaginer (let's say he is called Zeus) that can imagine things i can't imagine, and that is all i need to know.' Is this Zeus with the infinite imagination whom I just imagined therefore real? Also you said earlier that we cannot comprehend infinity, yet you state here that your belief in God is partly based upon you imagining that he exists. If God is infinite, and as you say we cannot imagine him, how does imagining him with his infinite power (which we supposedly can't comprehend) confirm his existence? Surely you contradict yourself? Either we CAN comprehend/imagine God, therefore he ISN'T infinite (according to your logic as human's can't concieve infinity), or we CAN'T comprehend him, but therefore God surely CAN'T be infinite seeing as the cosmos is a separate entity? I hope some of that is clear!

='younger doesn't count, you were not a mature adult.'

Is God now ageist? Is childhood prayer a barrier to an omnipotent God? Or is it that the proof of prayer being only applicable to adults is a parameter you or the Bible set? Does maturity + prayer = Connection to God

='God/Love hates all these things (though I'm surprised you mention homosexuality amongst evil's - were you saying this as if from my perspective (cos it way is), or did you mean to say homophobia?), and the perpetrators of such things exist either for Love's grace or Love's wrath. And yeah, Love's got wrath.'

Sorry that is my fault, should have been homophobia. Sorry for the confusion!

='Oh gosh! At the time I wrote it I knew you'd say something like this. Okay, in britain I bet you that most people are not religious.'

But i was referring to the figures relating to Theists (not just the overtly religious as such but holding a belief in God) as opposed to those who are Atheist or Agnostic on the planet as a whole, not just Britain. Wasn't really an argument from my side just pointing out the discrepancy between your figures (Although as you said they were made up/generalisations).

='Most religious people see it as their duty to "search out a matter"'
='our mission is to spread our religion, so it's like our job to know and tackle the other side.'

All this suggests to me is that you attempt to learn the criticisms/weaknesses in the Atheist's argument, so you are able to spread the word of God more convincingly. It is not as such going in with an open mind but a pre-determined methodology. This may be fair if the religious riposte to arguments against the Judeo-Christian God's existence was consisted of more than the 'belief' in the power of prayer and the historical accuracy of the scriptures. However, 'belief' and scripture are all there really is. Atheist's can point to philosophical arguments, scientific arguments, all the other non-Christian scripture, the contradiction in faith as evidence, the historical accuracy of the Biblical scriptures(or lack of it), and many more.

Again, thanks for your time and the discussion and even though I dont expect a reply I hope you get round to reading this post.

Ryan.

Posted on 28 May 2009 20:23:11 BDT
Are you aware that the people whom you say were killed in Joshua, practiced such things as the ritual sexual abuse of children and beastiality, alongside cult prositution and human sacrafice.

Most people, even today would believe such things are morally repugnant, and most societies would punish those who do these things. Why do we lock up peadophiles?

Posted on 29 May 2009 07:17:14 BDT
chrys says:
It makes me sad when I see people who don't believe in God spending so much time telling Christians why they shouldn't believe in Him.

Unbelieving atheists are rebellious dissenters who have a God shaped void in their hearts, wanting it filled with the love and compassion of their Father but denying themselves the joy and peace of having a humble love and passion for God and their fellow human beings.

We won't be swayed from our faith - EVER. God is Good, He is Great and Wonderful is on my breath always. We do not choose Him - He chooses us. We may resist Him for a while and immerse ourselves in worldly pursuits but he keeps coming back to remind us that He is forever patiently waiting for us to submit and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Christians can backslide too but He calls them again and again to repentance.

I hope you messengers of the evil one continue to test us Christians mightily as we are and always will be continually victorious by the grace and mercy of God in the precious name of our Lord Yeshua.

Do atheists also debate with Muslims about the existence of Allah and with the Hindus regarding Shiva ? Or do they recognise that there is only the one true creator. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' Gen 1:1

In reply to an earlier post on 29 May 2009 10:14:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 May 2009 10:20:29 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"Do atheists also debate with Muslims about the existence of Allah and with the Hindus regarding Shiva ?"
Yes. The discussions here have involved Muslims and Islam, a Mormon and his new revelation, Buddhist and Hindu principles, many of the interpretations and off-shot sects of the bible and more. Stick around, talk to these people too and you might find that there seems to be more than one 'one true god'! You'll soon find out you too are an 'unbelieving atheists' to someone.
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