“Top 10 Reasons To [Not] Be A Christian”

Faith-killing questions from the trenches, and answers

  1. “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever of any miracles ever actually occurring.”
  2. “The Jesus story just is an accumulation of myths of legendary people, all rolled into one über nice guy.”
  3. “Science and faith are incompatible ways of thinking. Separate realms that should be kept separate.”
  4. “The history of science is the story of one religious superstition after another being eradicated by reason and logic.”
  5. “The Bible is a translation of a translation of tales cobbled together by Constantine in 300AD.”
  6. “St. Paul invented Christianity by making a nice rabbi named Jesus into a god.”
  7. “Evolution disproves God.”
  8. “In their arrogant superiority, Christians think everybody else is going to burn in hell for all eternity.”
  9. “The Bible is riddled with contradictions and therefore cannot be the perfect word of God.”
  10. “More people have been killed in the name of religion than any other cause in the history of the world.”

This story starts with my brother Bryan, a tough-questions seminary student. He got a Masters degree in theology at a very conservative seminary where they work them real good, and he toed the line and he learned all the stuff that he’s supposed to learn, and he moved to China.

He’s in China for a couple of years and he basically turned into an agnostic and came within spitting distance of becoming an atheist, which really shook me up.

Bryan is a very smart guy, and one of the questions that he asked was this.

He goes, “Okay, Perry, I’ve been to seminary. I know Greek, I know Hebrew, I know Aramaic, and when I read the New Testament I do not see any reason whatsoever from the text why we should not have miracles today. So where are they?

1. “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever of any miracles ever actually occurring.”

And I’m like, “Uh…let me ask my sales manager and get back to you.” I hate it when people ask ‘elephant in the room’ questions.

Now, if you’ve been in any strand of Christianity for any length of time, you will encounter miracle stories. For example, “We prayed for my sister Debbie and she had cancer, and all of a sudden she didn’t have cancer anymore.”

Every now and then, I don’t care where you are in Christianity, you will hear those. I’ve heard a few of them, but I was in very short supply of such stories and I hadn’t thought about it much. I had always been taught that those miracles went away and they either don’t exist anymore, or at least never happen “on command.”

And Bryan’s cutting to the chase; he’s like, “Well, I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t.” And I knew he was right. So what’s the deal? Let’s start in on this.

I went looking and I’ll teII you that one interesting book that I found along the way was by Richard Casdorph, who is a medical doctor. He wrote a book in the 1970s called Real Miracles. This is an older version of the book. It’s called, The Miracles – A Medical Doctor Says Yes to Miracles.

What this guy did was there was this lady back in the 1970s named Catherine Kuhlman and she would do these healing services. He followed her around and he documented what happened to these people. He documented the “before” and the “after” and he did so with X-rays, medical reports, letters from doctors, all of that kind of stuff. This book is 10 case studies. I’ll tell you what some of the chapter names are:

  • Malignant Brain Tumor
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Atherosclerotic Heart Disease
  • Carcinoma of the Kidney
  • Mixed Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

And he goes through, one by one, with X-rays, doctor’s reports and everything and says, “This guy had this before and it’s gone now. Here’s the X-ray, here’s the letter from the doctor, and there it is.” This is not by any means the only such book, but they exist.

Another example of this is God and The Sun at Fatima. Catholics will know what Fatima is (probably most Protestants won’t) but I think back somewhere around 1913, just before World War I, some children were playing and they had a vision of the Virgin Mary. She said that something really amazing is going to happen here at this certain date and they told everybody. Everybody showed up and they all saw it.

This book is by Stanley Jaki, who is a physicist and a Catholic priest and a science historian. He goes into 360 pages of interviewing people and documenting all this. This is as close as you can get to a scientific investigation of a miracle.

Another book that I ran across that I found real interesting that isn’t really about miracles but is about the metaphysical world is called Margins of Reality, by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne.

They worked at the Princeton University Engineering Anomalies Research Lab. The lab was closed in 2007, but for almost 30 years there was a lab at Princeton and they would investigate paranormal phenomena. And they proved to five 9’s of statistical confidence (that’s almost six Sigma) that people could deflect falling objects by concentrating. They proved that they could send and receive telepathic messages.

Now, most of the scientific community does not know what to do with this stuff. It freaks them out, but it’s there. This is a fascinating book. So I started investigating this, and I also started looking for personal experiences.

A couple of years ago I was in India with my friend, Jeremy. He has spent a lot of time doing healing and practicing Biblical healing. We were at a little church service and Jeremy goes up to the pastor and says, “Tell these people that if they want healing prayer at the end of the service, I’ll pray for them.” So the pastor tells all the people and everyone was like, “Well, okay, I’ll go over there!”

Jeremy was like, “Perry, Perry, come over here and help me!” I’d never done this before. There was a woman whose whole left arm was paralyzed. She had had brain surgery a year and a half before. She had an indentation in her head from the surgery. She had been having seizures ever since the surgery and she had no feeling in her left arm. She wanted us to pray for her.

So Jeremy’s like, “Okay, Perry, start praising God, start praying for this lady!”

I’m like, “Okay, me Robin, you Batman, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do,” and we started praying. He would poke her on the hand – “Can you feel that?”

“No, can’t feel that.”

He’d pray some more and ask, “Can you feel that?”

“I’m starting to feel something!” So he would pray some more and at the end of 20 minutes, all the feeling was back in her left arm. She was so excited, she didn’t know what to do with herself.

A guy came in with a broken wrist, holding it like that; by the end, he was jumping up and down, he was so excited.

There was another lady who had a severe shoulder injury and she couldn’t move her shoulder past about here. I put my arm on her shoulder and I could feel this crunching going on in her shoulder and we prayed for her for about 30 minutes. The crunching was all gone and she was moving her shoulder and she was all excited.

Then I go home and I’m like, “I wonder if this actually stuck. I wonder if it did.” So I emailed this guy and I asked him, “How are these people doing, anyway?”

He said, “In the glorious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Mr. Perry Marshall, I am so excited to tell you, they are telling everybody they can’t wait for you to come back!”

I said, “Wow, this is great!”

Now, I’ve got to cover 10 of these things in 50 minutes, which is kind of insane, so I don’t have time to go any more. The church that I attend, a Vineyard Church, we practice this.

I of all people know what it’s like to sit here and pray for someone and go, “I feel really stupid! What if this doesn’t work?” You know, sometimes there’s no obvious result, but sometimes there is. You know what?  It’s less risky than going to the emergency room.

I have a few friends who actually go to the emergency room every Tuesday night and they pray for people, and trippy stuff happens sometimes. If you want to read some more of these stories, go here. You can read the whole India story in more detail.

This brings up another thing. You know a lot of the people talk about Christians living by faith. Well, I totally understand and agree with that, but I also think that as you mature as a Christian, you live more and more by experience. That faith leads to results which gives you experience, and there’s kind of an upwards spiral and it’s not just like, “Well, you know, life is miserable, but by and by in the sky, someday God’s going to make the world a better place.”

No, it can be now. I think the Kingdom of God is now. I think a lot of Christians kind of have this, “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to the higher gifts, and I guess the question that I’d like to raise for people that want to take that approach is, well, if we took the New Testament and took all of the miracle stories out, what would we have left?

I think my brother was right. I don’t see any place in this book that says these miracles are supposed to stop. There’s a little challenge for you on that.

Note: For more information on documented healing events, see my extensive article on miracles which includes videos of live healings taking place, links to mainstream media coverage and recent reports in scientific journals. Read and watch here.


2.   “The Jesus story is just an accumulation of myths of a legendary people, all rolled into one ü
ber-nice guy.

Let me expand on that a little bit. People say, “The God and the Jesus that Christians worship today are actually amalgams formed out of ancient pagan gods. The idea of a virgin birth, a burial in a rock tomb, a resurrection after three days, eating a body, drinking blood, had nothing to do with Jesus.

“All those things were already in other myths and legends before that, so they just took them all and they kind of rolled them into these Jesus stories. So Christianity is a snowball that rolled over a dozen pagan religions and as the snowball grew, it freely attached pagan rituals in order to be more palatable to converts.”

By the way, I got this verbatim from an email that a guy sent me, so I just went and fished one up, and there you go. This is a very common thing. Well, I would like to reduce this to a question, so let’s look at the logical question behind the question.

I think the question is this:

“If a myth precedes a fact, does that make the fact a myth? Does it logically follow?”

Well, let’s take 9/11 as an example. On 9/11/01, as we all know, two planes flew into the Twin Towers.  The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg, on the first page puts readers into the cockpit of a hijacked jet, on a kamikaze mission into an American city, but it was written nine months before 9/11.

Does that make 9/11 a myth? Or how about Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy. 1996 – a Japanese 747 crashes into the Capitol, killing most of the top functionaries in the U.S. government.

Or here’s a good one – The Lone Gunman TV series. The pilot episode was about an attempt to crash an airliner into the World Trade Center. It was a government conspiracy to increase defense spending by making it look like a terrorist attack. It aired in March 2001.

So the next time someone tells you that Jesus was a myth, ask them this question: “Name one other resurrection story that stuck. Just one.” I don’t know of any. I think there’s a reason for that.

3.   “Science and faith are incompatible ways of thinking. They are separate realms that should be kept separate.”

I’ll tell you a little story. Back in the early 20th century there was a great deal of optimism in the mathematical profession that we were closing in on a theory of everything. What mathematicians were looking for was a set of constructions that made all of the propositions of mathematics form a nice, tidy, complete circle.

Let me explain what I mean by this. How many of you took high school geometry and it was stuff like, “This triangle has three equal sides; therefore, it is an Equilateral triangle.” And then you do all these proofs and you work all this logic from it.

Well, if you take that high school geometry book, there are always four or five things that the book starts with as premises that everybody knows are true but no mathematician has ever been able to prove are true.

For example, “We know this is true, no one has ever been able to prove it. We know it’s true because it works and it’s all consistent, but we can’t prove it.” And they were like, “Someday we’re gonna prove it!”

Well, in 1931 a guy named Kurt Gödel proved that it would never happen. And actually, I think that Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem is just as important as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Most people have never heard of it, but let me explain what his Incompleteness Theorem says.

This is the kindergarten version. It says, “Anything you can draw a circle around requires something on the outside to explain it, which you cannot prove.” This applies to everything. It applies to a bicycle; if you build a bicycle, the fact that it’s there relies on something outside of the bicycle.

It’s true of a geometry book, a software program, the English language, or the universe. Gödel’s Theorem was a crushing blow to mathematicians. It was as if they realized, “You mean, we’re never going to make everything flow into a perfect circle?” No. Can’t be done.

Actually, the universe is like an MC Escher painting where you climb up the steps and all of a sudden you’re at the bottom again. There’s a book called Gödel Escher Bach, which takes Gödel’s Theorem, Escher’s paintings, and Bach’s music and shows how they’re all basically the same.

For instance, in Bach’s music the notes escalate and they go up and up and somehow all of a sudden it starts with bass notes again and you didn’t even notice. What does this have to do with the question, “Science and faith are incompatible ways of thinking”?

Gödel’s Theorem says that you cannot do science without faith; it’s impossible. You start with a fact – “I know this because of this, and I know this because of this,” you always go back to some fact that you can’t prove.

Now, what does science do? Science says, “If I drop this cup from my hand onto the ground, it’s going to fall every time. Only past experience shows that to be true. I cannot prove that it’s going to fall again. I always have to rely on some assumption that I can’t prove in science.”

One little extra thing I want to throw in here; the statement that, “Science and faith are incompatible ways of thinking, separate ways of thinking that should be kept separate,” is that a scientific statement?

No, it’s a philosophical statement.

Even a statement about keeping science and philosophy separate requires philosophy. And the statement itself presumes that philosophy gets to say something about science.

That’s exactly what Gödel was talking about.

I’ve written a much more thorough treatment of Gödel’s Incompleteness theorem here: http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/incompleteness/


4. “The history of science is the story of one religious superstition after another being eradicated by reason and logic.”

I want you to think about something:

Where did science come from?

If you study the history of science, you’ll find out that it got started in Greece and didn’t go anywhere. It got started in Rome and it fizzled out and didn’t go anywhere. It got started in ancient Egypt and in China – didn’t really go anywhere there either. It got started in Islam, and every time in those places, it stalled.

Why did it succeed in Europe after failing everywhere else? We all know it launched there and took off like a rocket.

Here’s why I think it happened. In the Apocrypha, the part of the Bible that the Catholics read and the Protestants don’t, Wisdom of Solomon 11:21 says:

“Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure.”

I submit to you that this verse is where science started. That all things are weigh-able, measurable and countable. That there’s a systematic explanation for what goes on in the universe. So far as I know, no one else in the ancient world made a more definite statement about science than Solomon did right here.

Western Christianity believed that the universe was governed by fixed, discoverable laws, and that’s what gave birth to science. The reason that science succeeded in the West and failed in all those other places was that in all those other places, there was no theological basis to believe this.

If you believe that it rained today because Zeus is in a snit with Apollo, how are you going to come up with a systematic explanation that doesn’t invoke some kind of arbitrary, whimsical source?

Christian theology believed that God could create the world and then on the seventh day that He could rest and the universe would continue to do what He told it to do. Therefore, the great scientists viewed the study of science as a way of studying the mind of God.

I would rewrite the question to say this: “The history of science is a story of faith in a harmonious universe being rewarded in weight, number, and measure.”

1,000 years ago you couldn’t take that for granted. Now we all take it for granted, because we figured it out.

5.  “The Bible is a translation of a translation of tales cobbled together by Constantine in 300 AD.”

People make a lot out of this. Constantine got everybody together and they hammered out what they agreed was going to be the Bible. “You know, we just don’t buy these books, we’re going to keep them.” A lot of people have this idea that this is when the Bible that we have today came to exist.

I want to show you a book that will correct that notion. This is called Faith of the Early Fathers by Jurgens. I have to mention here that this is another Catholic book. I was raised Protestant. I was a preacher’s kid. We were uber-studious Protestants. We took ourselves real seriously. Some of you know what I’m talking about – “Oh, that kind…starchy!”

We thought that Catholics were bad people. You know, “Go tell them how bad they are!” Well, then I grew up and my brother-in-law, Alan, studies church history. He gets a Ph.D. in church history at Iowa State, not some conservative place.

He went to Iowa State because they had the biggest and best library he could find on church history.

It turned out that most of his professors were atheists. To get a dissertation pushed through these guys was a Herculean task. But he and I would talk about theological stuff, and it was kind of funny because every time I would raise some theological question, he would always say something like, “Well, yeah, the first people to probe that question in detail were the monks in Western Italy in 800 AD and what they said was…” and he’d go off on something.

Anything you could come up with, someone had already thought about it and written about 1,200 books on it. I thought Christianity started all over again with Martin Luther after this burned-out period…oh, come on! Heavens, no.

So this is a Catholic book. I have great respect for Catholics and Catholic theologians and all that. I know somebody will probably want to get in a fist fight about that with me at the end, but I’m telling you anyway.

This book is a collection of all of the earliest writings, and actually there’s three of them. I just brought the first one. It starts at about 80 AD and it’s letters from all these guys that ran churches. Letters from pastors to their congregations, and letters to disciples from their mentors, and it ends somewhere around St. Hilaire of Poitier and St. Cyril of Jerusalem. I don’t know what year this was, probably about 400-500 AD, and it starts at 80.

It goes in order, so you can read 80 AD and then you can read 110 AD and then you can read 125 AD and 300 AD and so forth. In every chapter there are footnotes of the Bible verses they’re quoting. It’s exactly the same.

Pastor Bill Hybels at Willow Creek could use this to preach a sermon out of any page in this book and it would be just fine. It would be scriptural and it would be original Christianity, no different than we have today. Most of these early letters sound an awful lot like the New Testament letters that Paul wrote.

Anyone that tells you that Christianity started in 300 AD is just as ridiculous as saying it started in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door.

6.  “St. Paul invented Christianity by making a rabbi named Jesus into God. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just later fabrications.”

Obviously, the book that I just talked to you about does speak to that, because you can go all the way back to 80 AD and you have a whole body of literature that’s already telling a consistent story.

What’s usually said is that Paul wrote his letters in 40-50 AD and the Gospels were written in 60 – 90 AD and that’s too long. All of these myths would have accrued, so yes, Jesus was probably just this radical guy and he had these radical teachings and then they wanted him to be God and so they made the story about Him being God, and the people were so desperate and oppressed by the Romans that they found it believable – well, let’s do a comparison.

Paul Tibbetts was the pilot of the Enola Gay, which was the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. He wrote a book in 1998, shortly before he died, called Return of the Enola Gay. How many years after 1945 is that? Fifty-three years after the bomb was dropped.

I found this book at my father-in-law’s house because he’s into World War II. You go over there and he always has The History Channel on. I started thumbing through this book, and the reason Tibbetts wrote the book was to correct revisionist history.

Revisionist history said, “If we had just been a little nicer to the Japanese, we should have just gone over there and talked to them, and they would’ve…”

Tibbetts is saying, “No! Let’s get this straight.” He goes into extensive detail about the political situation and all this stuff that was going on behind the scenes. He tells what it was like to get in that plane, what it was like to let the bomb loose and go into a 135 degree angle and feel the shock wave from  the bomb and the brilliant flash of light and think, “Oh my word, what did I just do?” and all that.

Now, does anybody doubt that his autobiography tells you more or less accurately what happened? Is anybody going to reasonably doubt that he doesn’t remember what happened, 53 years later? I don’t think so!

So if Jesus died in 33, what’s 53 years out from 33 – isn’t that 86? That’s like getting to the outside limit of when they said the Gospels were written.

Is there any reason to think that the Gospels were any less reliable?

Considering there are four of them and considering they don’t all perfectly line up or quote everybody verbatim the same way, they don’t all tell stories the same way – four independent accounts – can anyone reasonably think that the Gospels are any less reliable than his story? I don’t think so.

And if you compare it to other things in history, a lot of those things were written even further after the fact than that. I would like to point to the consistency of early teachings about Jesus and raise the question: Why do substantially different teachings about Jesus only appear after 150-200 years? Isn’t that kind of what you would expect?

I rest my case.

7. “Evolution disproves God.”

That’s a good one. I like that one. I have a question for you. Who knows what that is? DOS – how many of you have used DOS somewhere in your early childhood? This is a screenshot of DOS 3.0, 3.3, which is about 1985. You all remember DOS:

C:> dir

C:> dir /w

C:> format c:

When you tried to format the hard drive, did it say “Are you sure?” I don’t remember. Early versions did.

Now here we have Windows XP with Internet Explorer, which is about 2005. Let me ask you a question: let’s say that DOS never got modified by the guys in Redmond, Washington and it evolved into Windows XP all by itself.

Imagine that DOS adapted, that it had a capability built in to where it would sense that it needed an Internet connection and it needed a web browser and it needed Outlook, and that it needed a mouse and updates and antivirus software. And let’s say that it would rearrange its code and then test different versions with some version of natural selection until the pieces started to work.

Did that happen? No. If DOS had actually evolved all by itself, off without any exterior tampering, tinkering or code writing from any software engineers, and it had just done that, would you be more or less impressed with the person who wrote the first DOS program?

You would go, “How did you do that?” You could go to China and for $2 you can buy a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of Windows. All those versions, especially the ones in China, they don’t have the little 3D thing on them. It’s grey and it has Magic Marker on it ‘Windows XP’.

Now, the copies of copies of copies of copies, they all had mutations, didn’t they? And the marketplace had a chance to select them. Does anyone know of copies of Windows that were better because of the mutations?

No.

Now, I just tried to apply the usual theory of evolution to DOS and everybody got a chuckle out of it. First of all, everything that evolves that we have any experience with, evolves because of some ability to do so or some kind of design or something acting upon it.

At the very least, if we’re going to even imagine that DOS could have evolved into Windows XP, we have to imagine that it has some kind of special program inside that’s ready and willing to rearrange all the pieces.

You know what? I am totally open to the possibility that God planted a cell in the ocean and that cell had some kind of magnificent program that could eventually evolve into everything that’s on Planet Earth. I am open to that.

And if that happened, then God is even more impressive than the version of God that says, “Well, OK, now we need apes, so let’s put an ape there, and now we need people, so let’s put a person there..”

I’m not trying to get into some debate about Genesis 1; this is simply an engineering argument. If evolution is true, then God is even more impressive than they thought God was before anyone thought of evolution!

8. “In their arrogant superiority, Christians think everybody else is going to burn in hell for all eternity.”

Let’s get the most riling questions out on the table. I want to point some scriptures out to you. Little things are kind of tucked in there that are easy to miss.

John 15:22 – Jesus says, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.” Hmm, that’s interesting.

Luke 11:30 – Jesus said, “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom and now one greater than Solomon is here.”

Let’s look at this again. “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them” – so what does this tell you about judgment? This isn’t like some cowering guy staring at God, getting pounded; this is anybody who has anything to say about what he knew, didn’t know, did and what he did not do, and what they did perhaps in a comparable situation.

Let’s look at this one. Matthew 11:21 – “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

Well? That’s a statement about two people, now, isn’t it? “Tyre and Sidon would have believed if they had Me.” Do you think that gets taken into consideration? I think so.

Acts 17:29 – Paul refers to idol worship and he says, “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Now, this always comes up, somebody always says, “Well, what about the guy in Africa that never heard about Jesus?” They’re like, “I have to get this guy figured out before I decide if I’m going to go for this Jesus thing. I’m not sure if this is fair. I think this is all a setup. What about all these people?”

Here’s my concern: If you’re that guy, I’m not real worried about him. Not that the missionaries shouldn’t go talk to him and all that. In the Great Commission – “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” – God told us to do that for a reason.

This is just my opinion, but I suspect that guy in Africa, he has no missionary, Bible, or anything, I think if he looks up in the sky and goes, “Somebody made all this, whoever You are, I’d like to know you,” I think God can respect that prayer.

What I’m concerned about is that guy will rise up in the judgment and testify against the guy who used him as an excuse. If you look at all of these verses, the theme is, “Hey, guys, you knew an awful lot. What did you do with it?”

“If Tyre and Sidon had seen what you have seen, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.” The people he was talking to saw a lot. They saw the dead raised, they saw the blind see.

9. “The Bible is riddled with contradictions and therefore cannot be the perfect word of God.”

I’m going to take an interesting approach with this. I brought with me three different versions of the Bible. I’ve got a King James New Testament, a New Living Translation Bible and a New American Standard. I could have brought an NIV, but all you guys probably have one, because that’s kind of the popular Bible translation.

Do they all read the same? No.

I had to sign this thing before I came that I understood that Willow Creek has a doctrinal statement. One of the things in the thing that I had to sign was that I understand that Willow Creek says that the scriptures are inerrant in their original writings. That’s a very common thing that you’ll find in the Protestant church, that scriptures are inerrant in their original writings.

Do we have the originals? No. What we have are thousands of Greek manuscripts and there are slight differences with some of them. You could make a whole little tree of this copying error and that. You could put it all together and we could open all three of these Bibles up to John 5 or Ezekiel 34 or Revelation 12 or any book and we could read them side by side.

And rather than getting 12 decimal places of precision, I think what we get is more like there’s an outer edge on one side or the other on how you can interpret something, and then there’s something sort of in the middle.

Maybe the King James seems to be here and maybe the NIV seems to be here, and maybe the Catholic Bible seems to be here. But they’re all kind of within this range of variation. So there’s some wiggle room, not like 12 decimals of precision, but more like maybe two.

No matter what Bible you read, did Jesus rise from the dead in all of them? Is adultery a sin in all of them? Is it not all right to lie, cheat, and steal in all of them? Is there a debate between predestination and free will in all of them? Yes.

I had this realization one day; “Hey, wait a minute! I don’t have to sit here and nitpick every last verse that some skeptic wants to pick a fight with me about and make me explain everything that doesn’t quite seem to fit together, because you know what? This is like a puzzle that you’re trying to put together and some of the edges are fuzzy and I can’t put it perfectly together. And that’s all right.”

I was emailing back and forth with an atheist and he’s quibbling about the different tomb stories of the Resurrection. I don’t think they contradict each other, but in order to make them fit, you have to make a couple of assumptions before they fit.

He’s trying to duke it out and I said, “I don’t feel like defending the idea that the Bible is infallible. I’ll just say for today that I have four stories that were pretty close! So what do you think?”

He didn’t know what to do.

I said, “Well, Jesus died on the cross, you are a sinner, God created the world, 12 disciples went out and preached. The story’s pretty clear. How many of these little nit picky things from the New Testament that you brought up because you found them on some website do you have to get all straight before you get the big picture here?”

Try this on for size; the Bible is the word of God with a lower case w. But if we’re going to use a capital W, what is the Word of God? Jesus! Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible is the written testimony, inspired by the Holy Spirit, testifying to the Word of God. There’s a verse that says, “No one can confess Jesus Christ is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s not put the Bible above the Holy Spirit.

You realize if you want to sort out all those puzzle pieces, you need the Holy Spirit to help you do it. And a person who does not have the Holy Spirit is not even going to be willing to do that. That’s why they’re arguing with you.

So when I get in these debates, I say, “Let’s just assume that this is like any other piece of history. Someone wrote it down as best they could, and here we have it. Let’s make a judgment from what’s in front of us. So what do you think?”

Did they just make all this up? Like perhaps, Jesus didn’t really die; they pried him off the cross and he was almost dead and then he was in the tomb, and people in the Middle East had these clever ways of reviving almost dead people and then he popped out. He looked so good, he looked like Superman, and everybody said, “Wow!  You’re the Son of God!” Yeah, that’s what happened! Sure, that’s what happened!

Guys that are pulled off crosses when they’re almost dead always inspire people three days later to like change the world! That’s what happened!

Sorry, I’m getting a little sidetracked… here’s a fun one:

10. “More people have been killed in the name of religion than any other cause in the history of the world.”

Let me show you a book, called The Black Book of Communism. How many of you think this is cheery? Oh, yeah, if you’re feeling a little too good today, just read this one. This book documents the genocide of 160 million people in the 20th century alone – mostly by atheist governments.

Remember the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao? Well, that was a great period in China’s history, wasn’t it? How about Stalin? Oh boy, Stalin loved children. Yep, that guy just loved puppy dogs and children. He was such a nice man. 160 million people! Do you realize that’s more people than all the religious wars of the whole history of the world put together?

Some people say, “Well, it was just a coincidence that they were atheists.” All right, well, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but there does seem to be a correlation. Let’s recognize the question behind the question.

First of all, I don’t think you can overstate just how dangerous a worldview atheism actually is. I’m sure there are atheists here, and I’m glad that you’re here and you’re welcome.

When my brother slid into his faith crisis, I wanted to argue with him and he wouldn’t; and I’m not sure that would have been the healthiest thing if we had argued. I think it was probably a good idea that he declined, but I was ready to go. In truth, he was dragging me with him. I was scared because he was raising all kinds of questions.

I started going to Willow Creek 15 years ago and I started leading Seeker Small Groups. Those groups are where people who do not necessarily believe the Bible or Christianity get together at a table, and so every other Sunday for a couple of years I got seekers in there pummeling me with questions, and I thought I’d heard everything. Well, when Bryan and the Internet came along, I had no longer seen everything!

It was intense. Bryan was asking all kinds of penetrating questions and I was going to all these websites and it was like walking into machine gun fire. One of the things that I did was decide that I had to duke this out. So I started this website, www.CoffeehouseTheology.com, and it has emails that you can sign up for and see what it’s all about, if you like. If people replied to the emails, the emails came back to me.

The reason I did that was that I wanted to know if enough people came through the website and sent me emails, if Christianity cannot stand up to the test, I was going to find out! I decided that I was going to take everyone on and I was going to see if someone can punch a hole in this thing. And there were some scary moments. I was like, “Oh my goodness, these are big questions!”

I probably answered 10,000 emails during the last 6 years. There have been a LOT of people and a lot of conversations. The first thing I’ll tell you is that nobody’s punched a hole in Christianity. I think it stands up very well. If you have a question, there’s a book or website or something that has a good answer to it.

Here’s the other thing; nobody comes out swinging like the new breed of atheist like followers of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and all of those guys. These guys are furious! People talk about Muslims being extreme? Well, I get emails from a lot of Muslims and none of them come out swinging like the atheists do. They’re angry. And Richard Dawkins says things like, “Teaching your children that there is a God who would reward or punish you, people that do that are worse than child molesters.” That’s what he says.

It’s a war. What’s the track record? 160 million dead people. Now, this is not a battle of guns, because the pen is mightier than the sword. This is a battle of the pen. This is a battle of truth and belief systems. I think Christians have a moral obligation to know what’s going on, because if you don’t know what’s going on, you’ll get picked off by a skeptic.

The reason we have science today is because Christianity said there is a logical rational universe that was designed by an intelligent Creator. And the reason we have democracy is because Paul said, “There is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free; all are equal in Christ Jesus.”

The most cherished Western values come from Christianity. Don’t surrender them to someone who has an axe to grind.

832 Responses to ““Top 10 Reasons To [Not] Be A Christian””

  1. Hal Friedman says:

    One of the problems I have with Jesus’ resurrrection is its lack of corroboration from those who were not already Jesus’ followers. It seems Jesus could have cured this problem by appearing to those who didn’t believe in Him.

    Now it would only be natural for Jesus, after resurrecting, to go first to His followers to assure them that He was all right. Why then, didn’t He then go walk down the main streets of Jerusalem so all could see Him? Why didn’t He go to the Temple and confront Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin? Why didn’t he confront Pilate? Had He done so, it would have provided nearly uncontrovertible proof of His resurrection. His enemies couldn’t have denied who He was. They would rather have been forced to acknowledge who He was by the evidence supplied by their own eyes. The would have been the most powerful witnesses to His resurrection. In short order, the whole world, or at least the Western part of it, would have found out about it. The resurrection would have been recorded by everyone, Romans, Jews, Greeks, everyone, right at the time it happened, instead of in documents written only by His followers decades later.

    If Jesus understood His mission was to die for everyone’s sins, why not make it easy for all to accept Him by establishing the resurrection’s reality in such a direct way? The fact that this did not happen, that only those who were already His followers claimed to have seen Him, casts doubt on the reality of the resurrection.

    • perrymarshall says:

      I think one of the most persuasive reasons to believe this is not because Pilate said he’d seen Jesus, but because the first witnesses were women.

      Nobody who made this story up at that time would have ever made women the first witnesses, because women had no legal status.

      I have an article about this here – you may find this useful: http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/what-we-know-about-jesus-and-the-resurrection/

      Personally I think that if you seriously investigate the resurrection you’ll find that no alternate explanation convincingly fits the data.

      • Hal Friedman says:

        This is a common misperception of what Jewish law, Halakha, actually says about women as witnesses. Halachic authorities in general did say that a woman’s testimony was not to be considered if it contradicted the testimony of a man who claimed to be a witness to the same event, but women’s testimony was to be considered if there were no male witnesses testifiying to the contrary. See;

        http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/teshuvot/docs/20052010/mackler_women_witnesses.pdf

        Also, it may have been impossible for a fabricator to have men be the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection since I believe it was “womens’ work” to prepare a body for burial during those times and it would not have rung true if the Gospels had a man going to the tomb.

        With all due resect, you have not answered the main point I raised which was why Jesus didn’t appear to his enemies or even the general population of Jerusalem to provide nearly incontrovertible proof of His resurrection. Why didn’t he do this?

        • perrymarshall says:

          1 cor 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

          I don’t know who all the 500 were, but Paul should surely count as one of his enemies as a direct answer to your question.

          • niall ridgeway says:

            im confused about your reasoning that, because it was women who first reported seeing jesus after the ressurection, it must be true because a woman’s testimony was not recognised. If a woman’s testimony was of no value, why did everyone believe them?

    • There are many tactics Jesus could have used to “cure” the problem for the world.

      Why didn’t he call down a legion of angels to vaporize the Romans? That would have established him as a force to be reckoned with and certainly launched a new era of respect for Christianity.

      Why didn’t God let him off the hook, or at least give him a more humane death? Why did he have to suffer so? Death and resurrection would still be the essential story.

      Why did he stay “dead” for three days? Three hours would achieve the same result.

      Did he really ascend into heaven? Where is heaven? If it’s a physical place, even traveling at the speed of light, Jesus hasn’t cleared the Milky Way.

      Etc. etc….

      The story, as written, has clearly “worked”. At least it works for me. I take it straight up – no mixer, no ice.

      It might be more useful for us to spend our time living like Jesus than arguing about his tactics. The ultimate sin is to presume to know the mind of God. If we were meant to have a crystal-clear knock on the side of the head certainty, Jesus would be in the White House?

      • Hal Friedman says:

        If we were meant to have a crystal-clear knock on the side of the head certainty, Jesus would be in the White House?

        But why make it so difficult to believe? Jesus would not have called down force to change the world since that would be against His non-violent teaching. “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” But there is no reason whatsoever for Him to not have appeared in as public a manner as possible after His resurrection to make it as easy as possible for humanity to accept Him. It is not presumptuous to attempt to “know the mind of God” since much of what is claimed to be God’s will is not, such as jihad, and that can only be shown by use of intelligence and reason, i.e., questioning the “mind of God”. The fact that Jesus did not make public appearances, when it woupd have been so easy to do so, still is a major reason to not accept the literal truth of the Resurrection.

        • perrymarshall says:

          Hal,

          According to the Bible Jesus did make public appearances. So I reject your fundamental premise.

          • Hal Friedman says:

            To whom did he appear? If so, where is the corroborating evidence? The Bible can’t be used to corroborate itself. If Jesus had appeared to the general populace, it would have been noted by sources outside the Bible. The fact that these appearances were recorded only in the Bible and nowhere else serves to support my premise that Jesus did not appear to anyone.

            • perrymarshall says:

              Hal,

              Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts can all be used to corroborate each other because they’re all 5 independent accounts. Proof: They all report things differently, to the point where some people argue they are contradictory. They clearly were not harmonized before being published and disseminated.

              You cannot in intellectual honesty embargo the 5 best historical documents (of which we have 1000’s of copies dating all the way back to the 2nd century) and THEN say “Show me the evidence.”

              And yes, Jesus is mentioned in other places: Thallos, Pliny the Younger, Seutonius, Tacitus, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, and Celsus to name a few. And Josephus and Eusebius and the Talmud. Good book on the subject: Jesus Outside the New Testament by Van Voorst.

              Lastly I want to mention, there are tons of secular critiques attempting to damn the 4 gospels but most ignore the book of Acts. Acts cannot be legitimately ignored, it contains more than 60 externally verifiable names, places, political leaders, events and landmarks. It anchors the gospels in a most elegant way.

          • niall ridgeway says:

            saying that because it happened in the bible it must be true cannot be used as an effective argument. That’s every athiest’s point. we are looking for proof of god / jesus / miracles / etc. the bible was written by the people who believe in god and were trying to convert other people. there is a reason why the bible is not found in the non-fiction section of the library.

        • Good point. If Jesus could have called a press conference and got on all the major networks including Oprah, (if he had appeared 2,000 years later) what would have happened? Let me think about that. Maybe he was doing the best he could in a decidedly non-mass communications age? Maybe it has to be hard, I don’t know why that would be. You raise some very interesting questions. More to follow…

          • Hal Friedman says:

            That’s a good point. Why didn’t Jesus come now, when His resurrection appearances could have been televized? Absurd question? No more than trying toi answer why He came when He did. If one accepts original sin, then why didn’t Jesus come right after Adam’s fall? Why wait several thousand years? And if we had to wait so long, why not wait a (relatively) little longer so He could have done it right, in front of a world audience where subsequently one would have to be either insane, hopelessly corrupt or irrationally fanatical to deny His resurrection? Why not indeed?

            • Lynda Bonus says:

              Mr. Friedman,
              Isaiah 55:8 (KJV)
              “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
              Also, may I add that Jesus did many miracles and healings while he was on earth and yet people still refused to follow him or believe he was who he said he was. Who is to say that if he appeared after the ressurrection to non-believers that they would have believed? People’s hearts are hard and they choose not to believe…Jesus said to Thomas, a follower that needed to see to believe:
              “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
              If faith was easy we would just take it for granted. But God has called us to be responsible for part of our relationship with him. That’s the faith part.

          • I don’t know why it happened the way it did, but I have faith that it happened at exactly the perfect time and in exactly the perfect way because the evidence is perfectly clear that Jesus’ tactics certainly worked.

            How many country preacher/rabbis wandering around in a backwater of the Roman Empire, have changed the way the world keeps track of time (AD/BC); have spawned magnificent art, music and poetry; have influenced the fundamental tenets of the governments of mighty nations; have instant recognition from billions of people; have started the incredible good works that Christians do around the world?

            It’s a wonder ain’t it?

            I think he did the best thing for those times: anoint a chosen few, teach by example and simple parables, radiate holiness, and send them forth. Every one of those guys ended up dying horrible deaths rather than renounce Jesus.

            It’s a wonder, ain’t it?

            • Hal Friedman says:

              I hear what you’re saying about faith but I’m afraid more is needed. Christianity appears to be losing its world-wide influence. Western Europe is mostly secular, the US is significantly secular, Islam is the fastest-growing religion. Where is Christianity gaining in influence? There are many reasons for this decline but chief among them, IMHO, is a basic disbelief by modern people in the Resurection and other miraculous events as well as a general disbelief in supernaturalism which, admittedly, affects all religions, not just Christianity. I am not talking about explicit mass adherence to atheism, rather the fact that most people, even if formally professing belief, conduct their lives as if God didn’t exist. This problem could have been obviated if Jesus had conducted His ministry in modern times where incontrovertible evidence of who He is and what His mission is could have been supplied sufficient to convince all but the most insane of skeptics. Either that or He should have come right after the Fall. There is no reason to explain why He came when He did and I’m afraid “faith” just doesn’t cut it, at least, not for me.

              • perrymarshall says:

                Hal,

                There are plenty of miracles you can investigate and I’ve given you links to sources where you can investigate them in this very article.

                Read about Fatima, read about Lourdes, read Casdorph’s book, read my stories, read those of others here on this thread.

                Walk out of your house and drive your car to a charismatic church. Suspend whatever disgust you may feel at the craziness of whatever goes on there and just start interviewing people and ask them to tell you what happened to them.

                Devote 3 months of your life to investigating this, the same way you’d investigate prostate cancer if you came home from the doctor next Monday with a disturbing diagnosis.

                The “Enlightenment” allegedly “proved” that miracles don’t exist. All it actually did was make a distinction between the “miraculous” and the “normal and customary” and amputate the former in favor of the latter. All the while conveniently ignoring the fact that even the normal and customary still relies on some kind of miracle or divine decree to even exist. Why do we have such fine-tuned laws of physics, for example?

                You have permission to ask such questions. You have an intellectual obligation to expect some kind of coherent, systematic answer.

                The evidence is all around you. You only need to open your eyes, look, and seek. He who seeks will find.

                As for the alleged decline of Christianity, you could be right. Note however that it is growing like crazy in Africa and South America. And I refer you to this article by an atheist about the effectiveness of Christianity in Africa:

                http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

                And as I said to another person on this thread, I often ask people:

                “Name 5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

                And:

                “Name 5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

                • Hal Friedman says:

                  It wasn’t until the Enlightenment that any “Christian” country, Protestant ot otherwise, did not have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses. In particular, the Calvinists and Lutherans were just as adamant at persecuting “heretics” as any Inquisitorial Catholic. Those nations whose societies are the product of the Enlightenment, such as the USA, are most secular, NOT the same as atheist, and are those which are most prosperous, literate and protective of human rights. IMHO, ANY religion, Christian or otherwise, that tries to dominate the state will inevitably produce a society that leads to human rights abuses and, usually, poverty and illiteracy. I do not believe there is such a thing as “One True Religion” and the vain human attempt to find one and then impose it on others, which seems to be a logical consequence of that search, is what has caused more human misery than anything else. Lest you reply with “What about Communism?”, IMHO, Communism is just as much a religion as Christianity or Islam because they all share a belief in faith in unseen and unprovable things like God, the Final Prophet, the Logic of History, the Second Coming, the Socialist Utopia, the One True Church, the One True Proletarian Vanguard, etc. All these systems of belief are hostile, to varying degrees, to the untrammeled search for truth through the application of reason,as opposed to the required mass acceptance of dogmatic “truth” revealed by either the Magisterium, the mullahs or the Politburo. All these systems portray life as black and white choices, Satan or Capitalism vesus Jesus, Allah or Socialism. Tthe reality of life is that choices are made mostly between varying shades of gray. Acknowledgement of reality is ackowledgement of the fact that we can never know all there is about reality and life. With my belief system, there is no room for Inquisition or KGB; there is no such thing as an infidel or class enemy and nobody goes to Hell or the gulag just because they don’t believe what I do. My system, and it’s certainly not just mine, will, if put into practice, save a lot of lives from persecution and death.

                • GyanP says:

                  I would like to speak about my own country India which is Hindu. remeber the times before the invasion first by Turks then by Europeans.
                  Your assertion is absolutely wrong. India was rich, much more advanced in Science, Technology and other streams of knowledge. In every way it was a developed and advanced country, and very rich, and people from all over the globe came to us to gain knowledge.
                  It had prosperous people, and flourishing trade with other countries all over the world.
                  Precisely due to this rich heritage it became the target of first Turks then Europeans – and they were Christians there is no denying the fact.
                  This country was plundered, looted and butchered like anything – this is our unfortunate History – partly because Hindus were peaceful and forgiving people and not hostile and vindictive like its aggressors. Turks spared no opportunity to destroy its heritage and spirit of the people. Then came Christian rulers who took away the remaining wealth. But, Perry, you will agree with me, that even all this has not been able to destroy the spirit of this country – but yes the 1000 years of foreign domination have destroyed many good things — and corruption and many distortions have crept in, which we are all fighting to put an end to. Despite the un-mentionable torture of people by foreign rulers and efforts to convert the people to their faith (Muslim and Christians both)- yes for 1000 years – still 85% of population is Hindu. This is no mean feat. This tells you about the inner strength of Hinduism. Here there is no conflict between science and Theology. A Hindu can very conveniently be a Physicist and a devout Hindu with perfect ease. On top of that there is no Catholic Church type body to look after and protect the faith of Hindus- it is all from within, at individual level.
                  Our theology and religion is much more advanced and developed and scientific than Christianity. You too can live and experience it. We also don’t have a holier than thou attitude like yours – we are not insecure .
                  Perry, this is a cycle of History. At one stage we were up, you were down. At a later stage you will be down and we will be up.
                  Kindly don’t drag anything and sundry just to prove your point.

              • Why is Christianity losing adherents? Entropy and cowardess.

                GK Chesterton:
                The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.

                I can attest to the fact that it’s not for the lazy or faint of heart, my friend. You’ll have to dig deeper, think harder and face more reality than you thought you ever could.

                But it’s worth it. You’re already on the path. It’s just a matter of time, kiddo.

                • perrymarshall says:

                  GK Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy” is just brilliant. And short, and a fairly quick read. But it’s like eating Pecan pie. VERY rich and requires thought.

                • Hal Friedman says:

                  Is Christianity too difficult to be tried? If so, is it true? In Deuternony 30:11 God exhorts the Israelites to follow the Law He has just given to Moses by saying: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” If Chrisitanity is too difficult and beyond reach to be practiced by most people, can it really be from God?

                  • perrymarshall says:

                    Let’s turn that around: If some religion is not too difficult and CAN be practiced by most people, would anyone think it was from God? Should we lower our standards to the mediocrity of humanity?

                    A religion that 10% of the people can satisfy and 90% cannot simply gives the 10% power over the 90%. But ALL are equal in Christ Jesus.

                    • Gregor Cuddeback says:

                      Perry, would this not be the same as the following example though?:

                      I, as a car designer want to increase the GNP/ capita in my country of residence, and so design an absolutely amazing car, but price it so that only the top 5% of the population in terms of income can afford this. I did this so that those people who can’t afford it will get better jobs, higher education, and earn more money. I want as many people to own this car, but I will not lower my standards to the mediocrity of those people clearing less than 1 million per year after tax.

                      You must ask yourself, is this an efficient or even plausible way of raising the GNP/ capita? Would it not be better to take the market into account as it is, and make the car more affordable but help raise the GNP/cap through other measures, such as assisted social programs? In the end, you can tell people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps as frequently as you want, but all that will do is create a demographic situation where not only the homeless are begging for change.

                  • The bar seems high, no doubt about it. But it’s part of the deal (covenant)where the only way we can be happy is to truly express our true Christ nature by asking, sacrificing and believing. Otherwise it would be too easily won, hence worthless.

                    Jesus explained it several times. On the stormy sea when the waves were swamping the boat and the apostles were freaking out, he called them cowards for not having faith, stood up and calmed the sea. Or when the rich kid comes to him and asks what he should do to become a follower. “Well, just sell everything you own, give all the money to the poor, and fall in line.” Or when he states very clearly: “”Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother.”

                    It’s a deep commitment to follow this path, but if you ask for help, listen to the masters and try, you’ll be far richer for it.

      • Roger Reyes says:

        Ron Weitnauer says:
        February 4, 2010 at 4:53 pm

        There are many tactics Jesus could have used to “cure” the problem for the world.

        Why didn’t he call down a legion of angels to vaporize the Romans? That would have established him as a force to be reckoned with and certainly launched a new era of respect for Christianity….

        My reply to Ron:
        you have 4 question excluding the etc., etc…
        it takes time to answer them all so I chose this one question for the meantime.

        Why were the Romans not vaporized:

        Reason 1: In the first place why do you think that the Romans were his enemies worthy to be vaporized? They were also his creations. Lie, deceit, murders, were not creations of God… we invented it. The goal of Christ is to save “all men”.

        Reason 2: Some Romans were destined to be saved where if the whole Roman Armies were “vaporized” (as you say) they will have no chance to know Christ.

        Here is an illustration from Genesis before Sodom and Gomorah is to be destroyed (vaporized):

        23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare [a] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge [b] of all the earth do right?”

        26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

        Reason 3:
        If the Romans were vaporized the Greeks, Persians, and other race will obey Jesus Christ out of:
        a. fear without love, or
        b. out of Love and fear

        But Jesus wants them to obey him our of “Love without fear” as a son loves a father or as a brother loves an elder brother. therefore vaporizing the Romans is a no-no.

        Reason 4:
        There are rules (torah) which God follows which he deems right and in which we do not even comprehend.

        the Book of Job illustrates this:
        source: (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%2040&version=NIV)

        Job 40

        1 The LORD said to Job:

        2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
        Let him who accuses God answer him!”

        3 Then Job answered the LORD :

        4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
        I put my hand over my mouth.

        5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
        twice, but I will say no more.”

        6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

        7 “Brace yourself like a man;
        I will question you,
        and you shall answer me.

        8 “Would you discredit my justice?
        Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

        9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
        and can your voice thunder like his?

        10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
        and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

        11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
        look at every proud man and bring him low,

        12 look at every proud man and humble him,
        crush the wicked where they stand.

        13 Bury them all in the dust together;
        shroud their faces in the grave.

        14 Then I myself will admit to you
        that your own right hand can save you.

        15 “Look at the behemoth, [a]
        which I made along with you
        and which feeds on grass like an ox.

        16 What strength he has in his loins,
        what power in the muscles of his belly!

        17 His tail [b] sways like a cedar;
        the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

        18 His bones are tubes of bronze,
        his limbs like rods of iron.

        19 He ranks first among the works of God,
        yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

        20 The hills bring him their produce,
        and all the wild animals play nearby.

        21 Under the lotus plants he lies,
        hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

        22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow;
        the poplars by the stream surround him.

        23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed;
        he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

        24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes, [c]
        or trap him and pierce his nose?

    • Dalibor Šver says:

      I believe many that saw him after the resurrection became his followers, not all of them were his followers before.

    • Justin Hart says:

      Hi,

      I was not sure in which forum to ask this. I am not an Atheist or follow any religion. I suppose the closest definition would be agnostic but I prefer not to be boxed. Anyway the point raised above to me is quite valid but I just wanted to ask a different question.

      I recently had a beautiful experience where I felt something that I cannot describe to you about there being a something else out there looking after us and taking care of us. This feeling did not identify itself and I did not invoke it by using any name (nor have I in the past) but I was absolutely certain that it was a communication from something not of this world. I am extremely reluctant to put this down to a Christian experience as there was no identification of any kind just an absolute sense of wonder and love. As much as I am sure you would like to tell me this was your God I cannot accept that. What do I do now?

  2. pit yunk says:

    It is better to share love than others who fight in the name of religion by kill peoples, like terorist, remember the Sept 11 attack, Bali bomb, and many Indonesia bomb attack and many more?

    so… who is the one that more likely called fight in the name of religion???

  3. Hi Perry,

    Wonderful site, I found it while web surfing today (First day of the year 1/1/2010). Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that Jesus was God come in the flesh, who else could he possibly be?

    I currently do a lot of web development, mostly consulting.

    Very interested in apologetics, theology. Your reasoning is rock-solid, and a great encouragement to me — would like to be a more powerful witness in my sphere’s of influence here in the Bay Area.

  4. josef zack says:

    Dear Perry,

    I want to thank you for the tremendous effort you do to make the bible and Christianity understandable in the “real world”.

    Time after time, as I move to one subject to another, I encounter the thorny questions that had me stumped, when asked (or verbally attacked?) by dedicated atheists.

    The Ten Most…. really help me out. I don’t witness on the Christ per se. It is difficult enough to try to live a “life of Christ”. of course I am aware just how impossible it is to live a “life of Christ”.

    in a bind, my short hand description of my Christian beliefs always falls back onto the Apostles Creed.

    Perhaps there is a more perfect description of Christian Faith, but that creed does it for me.

    Finding this web-site literally has been a God send for me.

    I must admit to a happiness when you deal effectively deal with aggressive atheists and agnostics.

    as I am older now, I care less as to whether I “have it right” when that ever present atheist jumps out of the bushes (figuratively speaking) and lays into me or a friend about the utter “wrongness” of Christianity.

    You provide a service blessed by God, in my humble opinion.

    What amazes me the most is that I haven’t been hit up yet for some “magic Christian CD series for a mere $5K” appeal as of yet.

    I shy away from bible literature arguments, wording, phrasing, history etc. I simply believe that believing and asking the Holy GHost to fill me, asking Jesus to intercede with me with God is more than enough. However, I have never denied (at lest yet that I recall) denying God, Son and Holy Ghost.

    Last comment is that I’ve read much of C.S. Lewis work and he too provided a path to God-Jesus-Holy GHost at a time when I very much needed such a path.

    Take care, GOd BLess and do please continue to just be you.

    best regards,

    jz

  5. Keep up the good fight Perry.

    Truly you are “going forth into the world with strength and courage to love and serve with gladness and singleness of purpose”. (Words that always choke me up a little when I pray them each Sunday…)

    I’m also an electrical engineer by training, reasonably bright, and always like a good brain wringing. I’ve recently read a book by Karen Armstrong about THE BIBLE and it’s tortured history at the hands of man.

    Turns out there was a heated debate in the early days about whether “the bible” should be committed to writing at all. “If we do that, every Tom, Dick and Perry will be able to put their own spin on it. I mean, it probably won’t happen… but we could concievably have people with power declaring war because of their interpretation that God was on their side! Do we want that???!!!”

    [Wry smile]

    Really man, you put too much thought into it. The bible is poetry, not prose. It conveys the ideas that are beyond thought; that the mind has not soiled with a name.

    I hope to meet you someday. Being good. Doing good. Bless you.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Ron,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Re: Bible and tortured history… it might sound from what you said as though there was some official committee that decided what the Bible was going to be, and some specific time at which it was written. It was written over a span of 1000 years and you can easily find both ancient copies of those documents as well as apocryphal writings. If you read the apocryphal books you start to see why they weren’t included.

      • Hey Perry,

        I wasn’t referring to the Council of Trent or anything like that. Of all the ancient writings, the ones that are currently called “The Holy Scripture” are a sufficient sample to get the message out.

        I simply feel that a wholly literal interpretation of the bible is not possible and not desirable; leading many to outrageous conclusions, some silly, some a waste of time, some downright evil. (You can build a pretty strong case that the bible, hence the Lord, says you should change your oil every 3,000 miles, isolate yourself outside the city for 24 hours after “nocturnal emissions”, and kill Hittites on sight.)

        Our bible began as oral proclamations from a long lineage of people dedicated to preserving it through their priesthood, rituals and songs and was carried down through a very careful and bulletproof oral tradition. Once you write it down and teach the riff raff how to read you’ve opened Pandora’s box.

        It’s a very minor point, and I meant no disrespect to you or the work you do. God’s peace.

  6. sick peacer says:

    God create humans just to show that God is the one and only one. The Truth said that we are the truth one, the Chosen said we are the chosen. Why did it happened? At the beginning God Create Adam and Eve from dust, God think that was good! They created like’ God face. But God want to test them for their trust to God. If God didn’t create this creature/satan, what ever you said. Trust me, Earth will be have it shape as it at the beginning! No war, gas, hate, even religions. It make humans think that my Prophet was the truth/chosen.

    Please read this, with your heart! do not with your brain!? Why? Because your brain contain of viruses or creature. That’s why God create brain shape like intestine, it was create as a road to your finish line. Your hearts create like what? Answer it from your heart again, please…

    Back to the topic, this controversy began from Abraham/Ibrahim, both said Father of trust. why? Because, God want to test his trust with order to sacrifice his son. He did it and just did it! That’s why he known as Father of Trust!

    Don’t you ever think, what Abraham/Ibrahim did wrong? He didn’t patience. God promise will never end. God didn’t gave him son because, God want to make him trust that even your age go old, God promise will be done! After that because he think that impossible for me and my wife Sarah to have son, he get married with Hagar. I called him Father of unpatient because, unpatient = risk, isn’t it?!

    That was a big problem now, after Hagar pregnant and Ismael was born, God promise begin. Ishak born, and until now this controversy create two religion. Even though there was two opinion about Abraham/Ibrahim sons, actually God wants this two trust Love’ each other until God send the Peace Maker. Who? Nobody know, That was God top secret until the Judgment day.

    What the meaning of God wants this two trust Love’ each other? In my opinion (I use my heart!) the chosen must be control their attitude, because without that, the truth one had an authorized to remembering the chosen. But sometimes the truth one use their anger to remembering the chosen and the chosen fight back. Both think that their actions had an authorized from God. Did they ever think that this is an authorized from EVIL? Nobody realized until the game is Over. Until all of us had an authorized from evil to enter two choices Hot or Warm.

    Please don’t make evil lol or laughing out loud because all of your ego. Live is so simple. Fill in Love in your brain, because without Love, your brain act like an animal. Just think why animal could live without risk? (food job, etc) because God create earth with all food and all job, etc. One days a week you need to rest from your job to praise your Creator.

    Judgment day will come, 2012? Nobody knows. Just do your job and fill your act with Love, and praise the Lord everyday. Just hope, God never send His anger to us.

    Actually, I love that one of brave producer filmed this opinion. I’ll create the story, anybody?

    Peace and Love… sickp3acer http://sickpeacer.blogspot.com

    • right…Just do your job and fill your act with Love, and praise the Lord everyday. Just hope, God never send His anger to us.

      There are 3 kind of people:
      1) those who act just like you
      2) those who are a bit weird…like to blasphemy other religions
      3) those who want to remain in power…like to mislead other people with lies

  7. sickpeacer says:

    dear mr Perry,

    Bible, who wrote that book? don’t you ever think there was a lot of name consist in it?
    We are all now realize that without it, we could be become Barbarians. but now every human in this world had known and read Bible or another version of Bible (middle east version).
    what happen now? they act more than barbarians. more smarter more than barbarians or animals. they use politics or mask to make their want success.

    love n peace
    sickpeacer

  8. marmo martins says:

    You know what! you should read the Bible sometime, and most of all, understand it. It seems you carry too many childhood traumas that only Jesus Christ can heal.
    I will be praying for you.
    God bless you

    • sickpeacer says:

      dear mr marmo
      Thank you for your reply, as a human being i might be wrong, but sometimes you or me was not realized that all reason for not trusting Jesus become atheist. So who’s your leader? science? i’ve been looking anywhere, but the only one i’ve found was emptiness. Someone have to be a leader.
      there was a thing that i’ve posted at my blog. It doesn’t matter if you agree or not. As a human being we need to rest our logic, if you want to talk about Him. because He is the only want who teaching Love and peace, other only teaching the opposite. Tell me who can do thing like Him?

      regards,
      sickpeacer

  9. Martin Lagerwey says:

    I read through your “10 reasons” and comment on #10
    I was surprised by this quote;

    “And Richard Dawkins says things like, “Teaching your children that there is a God who would reward or punish you, people that do that are worse than child molesters.” That’s what he says.”

    I couldn’t find the exact words that you quoted but I found the reference and will put it into context for you. Dawkins describes a person he knows who had been molested by her priest. She said it felt yucky. She compared that with her fear of Hell which kept her awake at nights. Dawkins doesn’t believe in hell and questioned the unnecessary trauma caused by this kind of fear tactic. Many Christians today also frown upon scaring people with the theology of hell.
    I don’t think you representation of Dawkins is accurate and I can understand why this atheist is angry.
    If you describe it as a war you would need to attack him and call most atheists angry. Your site is a bit of a lightning rod and attracts some flack. The hostile emails you get do not represent athiests. Most simply don’t see a reason to believe in God, and see no point in arguing something they don’t even believe in. The book review on your site “athiest makes discovery” noted that her atheist friends are very kind and good people.
    Scientists tend not to believe in God – in USA where 90% of people believe in God and 50% believe in 7 day creation (can you believe that?) scientists that believe in God are only 0.14% or 800 in 480 000 scientists. An easy stat to find.
    Many people have been killed in the name of all kinds of religions and also communism. People quote their own inflated figures of deaths in wars. How does that prove the truth of God or atheism?

    • perrymarshall says:

      Martin,

      I understand where you are coming from on this question. But the comparison is a *major* category error. Here’s why.

      A person who molests a child does so for purely selfish reasons.

      A person who warns you that someday you will stand in judgment before God is normally not saying this for selfish reasons at all. Yes, you can envision all kinds of scenarios in which the person has something to gain by saying it. But Richard Dawkins also has something to gain by saying what he’s saying – he’s selling books. In all honesty it’s a lot easier to not say anything at all. And 99% of the time people stay silent about it.

      A person speaks to you of heaven or hell because let’s admit it, if heaven is real and if hell is real…. and I know it and you don’t… then I know you’d rather I said something than not say something.

      People in all cultures and religions give considerable thought to how their deeds will be judged. Atheists have this same anxiety. There is no such thing as an atheist who is completely unconcerned, or who has total assurance that there is no afterlife. Richard Dawkins’ own anger over this very topic is proof that he’s got anxiety about it too.

      Hell is not a scare tactic. It’s a word of caution. If you would like to read medical documentation of people having near death experiences involving hell, I direct you to To Hell and Back: Life After Death Startling New Evidence by Maurice Rawlings http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Back-After-Startling-Evidence/dp/0785275347/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266357960&sr=8-1 It’s written by a heart surgeon who was disturbed by the number of people who had terrifying experiences as they crossed the threshold of death.

      Your statistic about scientists believing in God – where did you get that? Is that the old chestnut about National Academy of Sciences representing all scientists? I don’t believe that statistic for one nanosecond and neither should you.

      The 100 million murders of atheism in the 20th century don’t prove or disprove God. They only prove that atheism has more blood on its hands than religion does.

      • Martin Lagerwey says:

        Perry,
        I agree that nobody is justifying child molesters – ever. The person in question was more traumatized by her fear of eternal damnation than of being molested. How does the possibility that her priest might have had a good motivation in teaching her about hell make her trauma less. Dawkins may have a good motivation too, in “debunking” hell and removing her trauma – even if he does sells books. Dawkins is not wrong or selfish just because you disagree with him. I cannot see your “major” category error. My point is that you misrepresented him in your attack. He probably thinks you’re angry.

        The statistic; Newsweek 1998 July 20 and Nature 1998;
        a recent survey finds that, “among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever; almost total”. Interestingly, the biologists in the National Academy of Science possess the lowest rate of belief of all the science disciplines, with only 5.5% believing in God. This decline in belief in biologists strongly indicates the nature of the cause, and the ability of the teaching of evolutionary biology to turn people away from a belief in God. Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

        You are clearly aware of this statistic since you have already rejected it in within one nanosecond. But you might suspend your disbelief another moment and consider that this survey is more targeted. You suggest that it pretends to represent all scientists but it clearly states that it intentionally represents only natural sciences – they are the ones who study origins [of life, species, earth and universe].

        If I want an accurate report on the impact of smoking cigarettes, I will ask surgeons and lung specialists and not dermatologists or psychologists, a targeted survey.

        Even Christian surveys quote two in three scientists don’t believe in God but that includes social sciences as well as natural sciences.
        I maintain that scientists (especially natural scientists) tend to not believe in God. Both statistics indicate this. Please don’t tell me what I shouldn’t believe without cracking the chestnut first.

        • perrymarshall says:

          Martin,

          I had this conversation last year on my other site. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/einsteins-big-blunder/comment-page-1/#comment-103 and below.

          Perry

        • perrymarshall says:

          Martin,

          There’s something else that needs to be said here.

          The fact that the idea of God’s judgment causes people angst is not the problem here. Jesus taught that for all those who follow Him and accept God’s forgiveness, there is NOTHING to fear. If she believes what Jesus said then the remedy to her trauma is readily available.

          There’s a more central issue which is: Is there such a thing as ultimate justice?

          One only need to watch a few holocaust films – or have a nephew or niece or son or daughter who’s been molested by someone – to understand that there are very GRAVE injustices in the world.

          If there is no God, then these wrongs will simply never be addressed.

          If there is a God; if God is anything like what is depicted in the monotheistic religions; then those who perpetrate injustice against innocent people have much to fear. Hebrews says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall in the hands of an angry God.” Indeed, there are ample reports by people who had near death experiences who say it was the most terrifying thing imaginable.

          I’m not making this up, these reports are well documented. You can accept or reject this information but that is what *some* people who’ve been clinically dead have had to say.

          I don’t think it’s insignificant that atheism, which rejects the idea of Ultimate Justice, has the worst human rights record of any worldview in the history of mankind. Atheist governments murdered over 100 million people in the 20th century alone. That’s more genocide than all the religions of the world combined in all centuries combined.

          One can only wonder if it’s merely a coincidence that Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were atheists. Compared to them, the crusades and pogroms were a friendly game of patty-cake.

          If the idea of divine judgment causes some people to lose sleep, that may be preferable to the alternative. Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot don’t seem to have been losing much sleep over this question.

          “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.“ -Vladimir Lenin

          • Martin Lagerwey says:

            Your hostile attack on atheism does not prove your point. It is persuasive but not necessarily correct. It is based on the assumption that God exists. It is an assumption that I think you recognise but do not accept.

            We’ve had the debate about statistics on how many scientists believe in God but it’s a distraction (not proof of God). So is the pulling of statistics out of history about did the crusaders or communists kill more people in wars. This does not prove God’s existence. I think your assessment of the historical record is rather skewed and the comparison of religious wars as ‘patty-cake’ belies a bias.
            You correctly suggest that if there is no God, and no afterlife, it is entirely possible that the child molester will never be punished and the priest who made her fear hell will not be punished either.
            For an atheist there is nothing to fear in death either. No pain or regret or suffering; just death.
            Perry, if atheistic leaders killed lots of people in wars, that doesn’t mean God exists. Wanting it doesn’t make it true.

            But your suggestion ‘if there is no god…’ is rhetorical because you claim to have proven God’s existence by information theory. I have followed some debaters who are not convinced by your argument. I believe that you infer God’s existence but then call it proof. I would make the point that if an intelligence was responsible for the origin of life, that is a long stretch to proving the claims of Bible and other scriptures.

            • perrymarshall says:

              I have proven God exists only to the extent that science can prove anything. Which is not proof, it is only 100% inference.

              We have just as much inference for a designer, as for saying when you take toast out of the toaster, it will get colder not hotter. Or that objects will fall when you let go of them. Science has not formally proven gravity or thermodynamics. But so far both are 100% consistent. The inference to the design of codes is equally consistent.

              Thus far this only infers a deistic or theistic God. The reason I further invoke the Judeo-Christian concept of God is because with a simple and elegant set of interpretive filters, Genesis 1 matches modern cosmology and evolutionary history without error.

              Specifically: If you assume “day” is a period of time, if you assume that the story is told from a terrestrial point of view and that animals are livestock, Genesis 1 matches modern science tit for tat, starting with the beginning of time itself in verse 1. No other religious scripture even comes close to this level of accuracy.

              • niall ridgeway says:

                you say you ‘have proven god exists only to the extent that science can prove anything’

                i disagree.

                let’s say i have a theory, for example – that water boils at 100 degrees celsius, in order to prove my theory, i would need to demonstrate that water does indeed boil at 100 degrees (at sea level) and it does this every time we do the experiment, with no exceptions. i would also need to have other people try my and boil their own water and make sure they get the same result. only when this has been achieved will people accept my theory as fact.

                therefore, if god is real, we should be able to prove it. in the bible, jesus says that we can pray, and our prayers will be answered. so as an experiment, i want you to pray that i see proof of god. surely if god is real, he would want me to see proof of him.

                • perrymarshall says:

                  And I believe that if you sincerely ask God to show Himself to you and you work to pursue that revelation, your search will be rewarded.

                  • Martin Lagerwey says:

                    I think that philosophical “proofs” like information theory and what happened before the big bang have limited practical value.

                    Scientific method tests theories like the boiling point of water and anyone can check it out to show it is true. It works every time.

                    Praying for confirmation that God exists is subjective and not proof that can be checked. It doesn’t work for many people. I had one “light-bulb” moment at age 36 when I realized that God wasn’t real and it illuminated my life as totally and powerfully as my childhood conversion (to belief in God at age 12.) These two experiences were among the most powerful of my life. These transcendent(?) experiences are a human condition and not proof of anything else. God’s revelation is not likely to persuade a scientific mind like Niall, who wants proof.

                    Why is it that medical science teaches that drugs and medicines cure all kinds of ailments but they never suggest prayer? Medical science does not recognize prayer as a remedy for sickness beyond placebo effects. They sometimes offer placebos but not even prayer. (Some doctors might suggest prayer but that is their individual belief/experience and not the science they were taught. I know that sometimes it seems that doctors are astounded at ‘miracle’ healings but I haven’t seen one and neither has my doctor. There are so many people praying for healings that they should be a daily occurrence in every hospital and medical surgery.

                    • Caleb Neff says:

                      I already pointed out that the first law of thermodynamics was violated when the universe began. Seriously, if we have a break in the law that makes others possibe, then what more should it take?! Either way, I have asked how atheism can account for logic, or explain absolute physical laws. Further, if materialism, then science is impossible, because our observations have no reason to be correct (it’s just baking soda and vinegar).

    • Many people have been killed in the name of all kinds of religions and also communism

      Show me a religion without its hands stained with blood

      Too many people are hiding behind religion in order to remain in power

      The books were written by man..so it is up to you to follow or not to follow

      • perrymarshall says:

        See my comments on communism at Why I embrace Christianity as opposed to other views:
        http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/faq/#christian

      • sickpeacer says:

        that’s why Jesus come! love was the weapon. OT consist of war and promise that somebody will come to teach all. NT consist of… Love.
        nation that use war as a reason, actually deny Him! they always confess that Jesus was their savior. In fact? we could not discuss nation that never or actually know but deny Him.

        regards,
        sickbrain from sickpeacer
        http://sickpeacer.tk

      • Kooros Hamze says:

        Dear Budi
        It is very helpful to know there is one book which is not written by man, i.e. Holy Quran, which is revealed in Arabic language from God. This is a miracle, (a very specific one), which was given to the last messenger of God. The nature of this miracle is so that anyone in the future can see and evaluate it.
        As you mentioned, too many wrong actions are performed under the name of religions, this is an unfortunate fact which has mislead atheists. However, it does not change the reality of God’s guidance and spiritual evolution of man through His messengers.

  10. afia says:

    well mr. publisher, i can see where you are coming from with all of these writings of yours.

    i know that most of you white folks think that because you are elite and liberated somehow, faith in God or his son Jesus Christ is not possible. but please take your time and think about some things before you come out with your various conclusions.

    i understand why you think, reason and and write such things but mind you, for the fact that religion has been the cause behind so many of the atrocities in life does not mean that there is not one true religion out there.

    take jesus christ as an example, do you not think that if all of mankind are to go by his sermon on the mountain recorded at Matthew chapters 5 to 7 the world would not be a better place for all of us to live in?. think about it…. is it not because the world is plagued with dishonest politicians, hypocritical religious leaders and hardened criminals that is why we are all suffering?

    is it not because of difference in religious, cultural, racial, educational and social background that is why we see most of the atrocities happening today?

    from where i come from in Ghana, West Africa it is worst here. coming to the point of evolution, how were scientist able to draw the conclusion that we evolved from something by chance? did they not use natural elements to come to that conclusion? why did they not use any of their sophisticated inventions to determine this? this even goes a long way to show that their assertions are wrong. and i think the earlier they came to admit to the existence of a supreme being the creator, the better it would be for them. come to think of it they have not even been able to sustain life with all their advance technology and knowlege, they have not been able to bring a cure to so many of the diseases that plague us today like malaria, AIDS, diarrhea just to mention a few.

    they have also not been able to come to know why humans die because it is beyond them.

    i have a lot to tell you and i know you are an elderly person so my little advice i would like to give you is that there is a true religion today that worships the only true God despite the hypocrisy you see in religion espcially Christianity and you can find it if you truly want to. i know God will help find it if you are honesthearted.

    the wisdom that you have acquired is good only to a certain point. if you truly want to find fulfillment in life, search for the true organisation who are serving the Almighty throughout about 236 lands in the world. you would see that you can find joy and fulfillment in life which i know you currently do not have if you would truly admit it. talking negatively about Jesus nor God is not going to bring you any happiness.

    That is the little advise from a humble girl who lives in Accra – Ghana

    Afia

  11. sickpeacer says:

    10 Reasons to Not Be a Christian <—-
    change it to…
    10 Reasons to Not Be a Peacer and Lover (someone who like Peace and Love)

  12. Ray Perry says:

    If God created man in his own image and i look like God,isGod in a lot of trouble???

  13. The more Secular a country is, the more peaceful and kind to it’s civilians.

    Check out this video, shows facts about the most religious countries.

    Enjoy:

    Imagine If All Atheists Left America
    January 01, 2009
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbef07aQtB8

    • perrymarshall says:

      This video is an eggregious misrepresentation and frankly an outright lie. Fact: most university professors, most scientists etc etc are NOT atheists. Those statistics are easily verified.

      Stephen Hawking is most emphatically NOT an atheist – he’s said so himself.

      Oh, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s noticed how peaceful and kind China and Russia have been to their civilians during the last 90 years – 100 million people slaughtered. Yessir, peaceful and kind, just like you said.

      Thanks for posting this. It’s good to be reminded how distorted the atheist propaganda actually is.

      • Martin Lagerwey says:

        Statistics on faith in America show that atheism is positively associated with science, education levels and of course income levels (affluence). As Martin Luther said, if you want people to stay in churches, don’t let them get educated.
        Of course, as you now, statistics prove little. They are are a tool for persuasion, but not proof.

        When did Stephen Hawking say he believes in God? He did say God [in his famous quote about the ‘mind of God’] is a metaphor for the laws of science. He emphasized that a personal God would be extremely unlikely. He is an atheist, even if you post your denials in capitals.
        If you follow opinions and persuasions and misquotes then any other viewpoint will look like distorted propaganda, but hey, they’re not Robinson Crusoe.

        • perrymarshall says:

          “As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn’t reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe.”

          Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 8

          “One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!”

          A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), pp. 8-9.

          “However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.” (p.193)

          “Yes, I do, if by God you mean the embodiment of the laws that govern the universe.”- Stephen Hawking, when asked by Larry King if he believes in God.
          This quote is from the CNN transcript to “Larry king Live” Aired December 25, 1999 .

          Hawking also said, as reported in the Hebrew weekly newspaper “Jerusalen”{Dec 22, 2006, p.28} when asked if he believed in God- said that he does ‘Believe in God, but that this divine force established the laws of nature and physics and after that does not enter to control the world”

          From Wikipedia’s entry on Stephen Hawking: Hawking takes an agnostic position on matters of religion,[52][53] He has repeatedly used the word ‘God’ (in metaphorical meanings)[54] to illustrate points made in his books and public speeches. His ex-wife Jane however said he was an atheist during their divorce proceedings,[55][56] Hawking has stated that he is “not religious in the normal sense” and he believes that “the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.”

          Well, there you have it. There is one ex-wife who says he’s an atheist. I’m not finding any statement of his own to that effect. Interesting “atheist”, that Stephen Hawking.

          Statistics on faith in Europe and Asia show that atheism is positively associated with tyrants, genocide and massive human rights abuses of global scale.

          Of course, as you know, statistics prove little. They are are a tool for persuasion, but not proof. In any case one will do well to remember that Christian theology gave birth to modern science in Western Europe, as I explain in the following article: http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/faq/#christian

          The fact that science got started and failed in China, Rome, Greece, Egypt and Islam – and was never started at all by atheists – is of course only a bit of anecdotal evidence. As is the fact that a large percentage of early scientists (Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Mendel, Kepler, Boyle) were devout Christians.

          • Martin Lagerwey says:

            Thank you for your considered reply and quotes by Hawking. I still suspect that he used God as a metaphor in a nation where an atheist is more hated than a homosexual or a Muslim. His ex wife probably knew him well and didn’t feel inclined to sugar coat her words.

            Your link to the origins of science confuse me a bit.
            Science assumes the laws of nature do not change. You quote a Bible verse that supports this idea. But actually the Bible in many other places teaches us to have faith in Gods ability to break these laws sometimes. How can this be a fertile ground for the development of science?

            How can it be that more than 40% of Americans still believe in Creation Science, that is that the earth is only 7000 years old? Why do their pastors recruit pseudo scientists to cherry-pick problems in geology and evolution and present them as proof for the young earth theory. I can only assume they don’t care about truth but only to make people believe in the Bible. I think that when you interpret “day” as time period, being less literal it makes lots more sense.
            Because of the teaching that God can perform miracles, and could create in a week, or raise people from the dead, or make a virgin conceive, the Bible sets the foundation for some very unscientific thinking.

            Christians in public life in (secular) Australia are embarrassed to admit (and almost never do) when they believe in a young earth. (Yes, we have some too) because they know how ridiculous it looks. Do they really believe it?

            350 years ago when King Charles (of KJV Bible fame) believed in the Divine Right of Kings it was compulsory to attend Church. I accept that most scientists did believe back then, especially if they wanted to keep their jobs, or their heads.
            Boyle did attend Church and was a keen scientist.
            He was nearly lynched for creating vacuums (that God couldn’t exist in). They made a law where Vacuums were illegal. Boyle, along with the next King, created the Royal Society to pursue questioning and science. I suspect that this was in spite of religion and not because of it.

            • perrymarshall says:

              Martin,

              Yes, the Bible clearly teaches that God breaks the laws sometimes. Now we can go into all kinds of semantics about precisely what we mean by that, but this statement will suffice for this conversation. It is clearly stated and understood by everyone in the New Testament – the writers, the bystanders, the women who visited the tomb etc. – that dead people do normally stay dead. NOBODY normally expects dead people to rise. All those “ancient superstitious people” knew that then, just like we do now.

              Which is the entire context of the resurrection of Jesus – that it was only possible because God raised him. Read any of the Gospels and Jesus’ miracles are explicitly held out as proof that he was sent by God.

              Which is to say there is a “normal and customary” operation of the world — and then there are occasional dramatic exceptions which we can only refer to as miracles. I would submit to you that the Christian distinction between miracles and “normal and customary” actually served to highlight the boundaries of science. Science is about dissecting and analyzing and quantifying the normal and customary.

              Jews and Christians have always believed that if God can create the universe and all its laws, He can make exceptions to those laws too. There are many documented cases of miracles by the way, and not just ancient ones. “Real Miracles” by Richard Casdorph is one such book that documents 10 – each chapter is a case study. You can buy it on Amazon.

              If a miracle is defined and understood then there is nothing unscientific about it – it actually creates a contrast to naturalism that makes science all the more clear.

              Allow me to remind you that atheism has its own set of miracles and virgin birth stories. Atheism says that life arose by random accident. I don’t see any reason to believe that’s more plausible than someone rising from the dead. Atheism says evolution occurs by random copying errors of DNA. All the mathematics behind “evolution by random mutation” require for all practical purposes a miracle because the numbers DO NOT work. This has been well known for 50 years but nonetheless ignored. None of these assertions can be properly classified as scientific because none of them have ever been proven. They are all articles of faith.

              EVERY worldview invokes a miracle somewhere. Nearly all religions readily admit it. Secularists deny it.

              I know quite a few young earth creationists. I know one college professor (old buddy from high school) who had to sign his agreement to YEC in order to work at a Christian college. To me, that’s ridiculous and I would never do that. However I can respect him for being consistent with his own faith convictions, even if I urgently disagree with the way his college interprets the Bible. Martin, I could regale you with all kinds of stories. Hey, I’ve spent 40 years in the church. I know how ridiculous some of these things can get.

              I have to stop and remind myself that the age of the earth is far from the most urgent question faced by mankind.

              And yes I know there are all kinds of “persecuted scientist” stories. But let’s not forget that Richard Sternberg (whose academic credentials and work history are impeccable) was thrown out of the Smithsonian for attributing the Cambrian Explosion to Intelligent Design in a peer reviewed paper.

              He was only following the evidence where it leads, that’s all. He was doing what scientists are allegedly supposed to do – offering the best available explanation for phenomena.

              So the “persecuted scientist” thang cuts both ways. Never forget that. I always try to keep in mind that there are two sides to ALL those stories, and on both sides of the faith fence.

              I feel just as strongly about Old Earth / Intelligent Design / Evolution with respect to Christians, as I feel about naturalism vs. design with respect to atheists. I have spent 6-7 years of my life earnestly researching these issues and the http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com website is my best thinking to date. It’s provisional, it’s subject to revision, it’s offered both humbly and with confidence at the same time. So far it matches all the factual data that I’m familiar with. That’s the best I can offer.

              I can only encourage you and others to openly follow the evidence where it leads, and I pray God’s blessing upon you as you do exactly that.

              Thanks for participating in this conversation thus far.

              • Bobbie Boise says:

                These same myths have been thrown at me many times. The only answers I have are: The heart knows the answers and so does the mind. It’s not that important to me How God the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost did what they did in creating human life, the world and everything in it; just that they did it and that I know they did it. Those pushing doubts are usually some forms of religious organizations. That’s the saddest thing of all. Even the demons believe in God and His creation according to the Bible. And many athetists (if they truly are) simply say they don’t believe or have time to ask how, when or where or argue the matters. I’ve seen so many things against everything the Lord taught being used in His name for worldly gain. Thank you for standing for the true principles of His Word.

              • Martin Lagerwey says:

                ‘Science is about dissecting and analyzing and quantifying the normal and customary.’

                This quote defines the difference between the Christian and naturalistic views. Yours accepts miracles and allows for God sometimes breaking the natural laws. Science and naturalism doesn’t. If it saw these laws being broken sometimes it would look for explanations in natural laws. To say God did it suggests to not look any further because we have our (unexplained) answer.

                As long as God is defined as unknowable and untestable (like the invisible pink unicorn) I cannot see how these two views can be united. They differ by definition.

                ‘If a miracle is defined and understood then there is nothing unscientific about it – it actually creates a contrast to naturalism that makes science all the more clear.’

                I think you are defining science as including the miracles of God but I define science to include natural laws and nothing outside of them. I think scientists would agree with this definition. Based on this understanding I think miracles, if they exist make science, by definition unclear and an insufficient explanation.

                ‘EVERY worldview invokes a miracle somewhere. Nearly all religions readily admit it. Secularists deny it.’

                Science agrees that origin of life is not explained (yet). That is not invoking a miracle at all. I cannot explain the tricks of magicians but I suspect that it is not magic.

                I think that a problem emerges when religious organizations claim that intelligent design and creation [pseudo]-science claim to be scientific while invoking untestable miraculous interventions.
                I am sure you are familiar with the ‘ID taught in schools case’ in the Supreme Court.

                • perrymarshall says:

                  Yes, theism and naturalism differ by definition. Science is not inherently naturalistic as evidenced by MANY scientists whose scientific views were impacted by their religious views: Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Boyle, Mendel, Copernicus, Galileo, Boyle et al.

                  Yes, science is insufficient. ALL scientific theories still invoke a miracle at some point. Spontaneous origin of life. Universe out of nothing. Infinite # of universes. The list goes on and on. There is no such thing as a worldview that doesn’t invoke a miracle.

                  Yes, science says “someday we will have it all figured out.” And each answer opens up three more questions. It’s endless. Science is further from eliminating God than it was 500 years ago.

                  • Martin Lagerwey says:

                    Perry

                    You quote theistic scientists who lived in an age when almost everyone believed in God. This was an age of Divine right of kings and compulsory church attendance. During the enlightenment when people learned to test theories and discovered natural laws, alternative explanations became available more people questioned God. The origin of species became the toughest question but this is well understood and accepted today. Only some theists question it because it suggests common descent and challenges their core beliefs. Science was in its infancy and had few answers 500 years ago but has many today. I think the seven top scientists today are mostly non believers. (I would strenuously suggest that Einstein didn’t believe in God but I’m sure you’ve had this debate already, and it’s a moot point anyway.)

                    Scientific method means to test assumptions and present ideas for disproving by others. This is hardly evoking miracles. There was a time when atoms were not understood and a time when germs were not discovered yet. We know these things now. Harder to prove, since evidence is ancient and conditions were uncertain is the origin of life. This may never be known for sure, so maybe that’s still a miracle. (Paul Davies suggested the “echo of the big bang” is dissipating and like ripples in a pool will be lost. If we lived a million years later, there would be no “echo” left and we would never know for sure that the big bang occurred.)

                    Multiple universes is philosophy and not science, unless they can be tested. Universe from nothing is philosophy, unless it can be tested. How matter began is the same philosophical problem for both our worldviews. I think that’s the end of the list of miracles.

                    You will not find many scientists who consider miracles or supernatural forces as something they seriously consider in their experiments. Therefore science is naturalistic today. It is defined by laws of nature. Supernatural laws are defined as superstition and outside the realm of science.

                    If each answer opens three more questions its because we stay inquisitive. But knowledge is becoming more complete, not less complete. Science does have a lot figured out. If science is insufficient then I would ask what has religion offered in the last 500 years? If you don’t want progress then get out of the way.

                    Science is not even concerned with eliminating God, or proving it. You cannot disprove what you cannot define.

                    I feel the need to defend science when people assert that science relies on miracles and affirms God, neither of which are true. One of the common fruits of science however, and in particular systematic biology is a certainty of evolution and its comprehensive explanation of origins.

          • Perhaps Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Mendel, Kepler, Boyle) were devout Christians however they did not agree with the church….could you still call them Christians..?

            • alexk says:

              Budi,
              The word “Christian” means “Christ follower”, not church follower. I firmly believe that all of those you mentioned and more were listening to God’s call to bring correction to the [church] structures which had been set up by men and not by God. All of those people disagreed with the church, but I would still call them Christians.

            • Roger Reyes says:

              Perhaps Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Mendel, Kepler, Boyle) were devout Christians however they did not agree with the church….could you still call them Christians..?

              These people that you mentioned were not theologians, some of them are explorers, some are scientists, and some are mathematicians. They are thinkers and explorers willing to contribute to the good of the church – not to destroy the church. It is the church who disagreed with them. The reason why the church behaves this way is this. The church in the first century is infiltrated with gnostic, mystics, magicians in their congregations. every new teaching is suspect for heresy.

              • perrymarshall says:

                Roger,

                Yes, absolutely all of these people were Christians. And in many cases I’m not so sure the church opposed their work nearly as much as some secular writer would have you believe. The Galileo story as told to most people is considerably exaggerated, for example.

      • niall ridgeway says:

        i just noticed your use of the term ‘propaganda.’

        i dont see how encouraging people to be critical and make their own decisions fits into the definition of propaganda.

        also i find it ironic that the word comes from ‘Congregatio de Propaganda Fide’ an organisation started by Gregory XV to convert people to christianity

      • I can always assume how a religious extremist will reply to anything I state…with a condenscending tone to the insulting words used.

        If attraction or example are your ways to get someone to convert, you and your people are the least likely to be successful.

        As for the video, all facts, and the source is posted right there on the website.

        But I understand your idea of facts….they are to be used only if they aupport your religious fundamentalist ways.

        Keep up the good work at converting people…your base now consists of uneducates Tea-baggers who act the way mobs did right before they used to lynch black people.

        That was supported by the bible too.

        As was slavery, not allowing woman to work outside the home, marrying outside your race/religion/class/ etc.

        Christianity has always had the bible to utilize, which is why the religion has become so wide spread.

        Killing was the way Christianity was allowed to become a as large as it is, and, the bible supports kiliing all those who do not convert.

        It seems the Christians are hell-bent on killing of Islam.

        When the next 9/11 happens because of Christianity, will you please accept responsibility for it this time?

        Thank you in advance.

        • perrymarshall says:

          “the bible supports kiliing all those who do not convert.”

          Wow, that’s interesting. I’ve been a Christian for 35 years and I’ve never seen this. Please quote the scripture that contains this command.

          Thanks,

          Perry

    • Martin Ward says:

      It looked as if most of those supposed atheists in the video are celebrities from the movie industry. Bearing in mind the kind of role models many celebrities are with their multiple marriages, profligate lifestyles, inordinate and disproportionate wealth, drug and alcohol addiction etc. maybe America would be a hell of a better place without them. Whatever you do don’t send them to the UK, we have plenty of our own thank you.

      • sickpeacer says:

        I think, it’s your job to wake them up. everywhere could become hell or heaven. all atheist formerly believed God, money, think, science and ego make them frustrated and try another god/Jesus to justify their problem. emptiness created by their own think. that’s why at http://sickpeacer.tk header i write ‘MIND AS A SOURCE OF TROUBLE’

        regards,
        sickbrain from sickpeacer

        • Gregor Cuddeback says:

          Mind is not the source of trouble, it is the only way find a solution to trouble. Solutions don’t miraculously appear out of thin air. Not using the mind is the source of trouble.

  14. sickpeacer says:

    N A M E

    God gave 4 name only in Bible, it Ishmael, Ishaq, Johannes and the last Jesus. Bible exposes 3 names only, why? Because Ishmael will be a big nation, that was a promise, Ishmael was a blessed. It wrote at the Bible.
    Why churches never teach all about Ishmael histories? Why churches only teach Ishaq, Johannes and the prime name call Jesus? That’s because church fear. In my opinion is the opposite. Actually church had to tell all about the history. History from Abraham, Ishmael, Ishaq, Jacob and finally esau. That’s the source of all problems.
    I’ve read that Ishmael (God Heard) cry for his bless and finally it becomes promises and that promises done. They become a big nation with all their oil, gold, etc. Ishaq with his bless wait his savior until now. Jacob (thief) with his cheat become a nation call israel. Esau (terrorist) become a monster who bombing and kills because his bless cheating by Jacob (thief). We can’t blame that story, because it God plans. Actually Ishmael, Ishaq and esau was God plan to complete it at New Testament, we can read all about Him and all about His theory about Love and Peace. Church only tell about Jacob(thief) as a chosen nation. Just look what they had been done? Is this the chosen? What a thief nation who still wait their savior until savior become destroyer.
    I’ve been searching for so long the name that can be a figure and could solve these problems. Until I write this post my search is over, Jesus is my choice. The reason is : 1. But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. 2. But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Was he a human? Just think anyone could be like Him?

  15. Kooros Hamze says:

    Dear Perry
    Regarding to “CAN PROVE GOD EXIST” , I would like to remind that this is not a correct expression about God.
    Logically, we can discuss about this, only when (at least theoretically) there is a possibility of absence of GOD.
    If you make such assumption (possibility of absence of God), you already accepted that God may not exist! – Is it clear?
    I suggest correction of terminology, that is, “we notice God’s signs and designs”, if you like.
    When we search through holy Quran (the only text directly lowered to mankind from God) we find it full of reasoning for unbelievers that all creatures, specially mankind, are designed by His power.

    Best regards,
    Kooros

  16. What do you think about the Catholic faith ???

    • perrymarshall says:

      I think the Catholic Church is the original Mother Ship of Christianity.

      I think it’s accumulated a lot of barnacles. And at least in the United States has a fairly significant “quality control” problem.

      But at its core center and in the writings of the Church Fathers is some really outstanding stuff. Ignore it at your peril.

      I think the protestant reformation produced much-needed competition that proved to be more fruitful than the negative aspects of the division it created. But I think the global Church of Jesus Christ is far larger than any one denomination or sect and there are valuable things to be learnt from all of them.

  17. Robert Rowe says:

    IS is self defining and not subject to argument.
    GOD IS!
    Evolution seems to be, but is not provable.
    Nature IS!
    The Holy Spirit is perceived to be.
    Christ is believed to be.

  18. Robert Edwards says:

    I’m sorry Perry, you sound like a good guy with good intentions but I’m afraid that is where it stops. Abraham was influenced by the Egyptians hence the Sun rose on the third day. Religion is the curse of civilized man and was used to control its people with fear. Evolution is a fact and if you agree with this then religion is bogus and just a myth. If you believe we all came about about 6000 years ago then I will stop here as any further conversation would be pointless. All I can say is this; I was brought up as a Christian and went to chapel every morning but over the years and gradually seeing how Christians behave (say one thing and do another)I started to reject religion. At the Council of Nicaea (325ad) many of the more liberal gospels were thrown out and the more conservative, and those that discussed divinity, remained. For instance, if only one passage is flawed then all are flawed – its like telling a lie, once told many other lies try to cover it up but it only makes matters worse. The integrity of the Bible has so many holes that its soon sinks in the lake of truth. I will always stand by your right to practice what ever faith you believe in and likewise I expect the same of you to protect my right to be an Atheist. The coups d’etats of all time must be the way religious organizations have commandeered morality and ethics and how Aquinas usurped Natural Law. I have found in my travels around the world that it has been mostly non-religious friends that have proven the above to be so.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Robert,

      I understand your frustration and your story of division and hypocrisy. I am truly sorry that you experienced that. You’re, uh, not the only one. Let me assure you :^>

      As for everything else you say, read my above article very carefully, read the articles on this site and the links. I have heard every argument you make 1000 times and I will look you straight in the eye, sir, and assure you those arguments do not stand up to historical analysis or philosophical scrutiny. I respect your right to be an atheist but I also challenge you to examine the facts and not the atheist jingoisms and bumper-sticker slogans.

      Lastly if you feel religion has commandeered morality and ethics, I pose this question:

      Where were all the busloads of atheists and atheist relief organizations when Katrina destroyed New Orleans? When earthquakes destroyed Haiti? Where were all the atheists swarming all over the place giving out clothes and taking their vacation time to build houses and hand out clothes and food?

      Every day on your way to work you drive by hospitals and charities with names like “Saint Luke’s” and “Holy Cross.”

      So where’s the Bertrand Russell Children’s Memorial Hospital? Where’s the Voltaire Home for the Mentally Disabled? Where’s the Richard Dawkins Adoption Fund? Where’s the Frederick Nietzsche Home for Orphans?

      I often ask people:

      “Name 5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

      And:

      “Name 5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

      Is it just a coincidence that atheist regimes killed 3X more people in the 20th century alone than religious wars killed in all centuries combined? Or is there some kind of meaningful correlation to the fact that Stalin, Lenin and Mao were all atheists?

      “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.“ -Vladimir Lenin

      • Martin Lagerwey says:

        If Christian countries are more ethical and wealthy than other countries, does that make their beliefs true? I don’t think so. If communism killed lots of people, does that make god true? If Santa Claus promises a gift for each good child does that make him real? I don’t think so.
        Robert sees holes in the Bible and I see them too, I would hope everyone does. My relative runs orphanages overseas for the overt purpose of saving souls for Jesus.

        Robert, I can look you straight in the eye and say that history will support anyone’s argument. I too was strongly committed religious and opened my eyes one day and saw God absent. Suddenly the world made more sense and I no longer had to justify crazy beliefs that I no longer believe. You recognize that mostly non-religious friends have proven themselves to you. I suspect that it is about even. People ask me “Why be moral if you don’t belief in God?” But you are because you are. A moral man is good if he is a priest or a boy scout leader. The religious mind finds it hard to see goodness in man and I find it quite offensive.

        Why are facts distinct from “atheistic jingoism and bumper stickers”? Are only theistic arguments considered “facts?” I would wish a bit more respect for your view. The fact is that science has explained origins and developed technology pretty well and I haven’t seen the miracles and interventions that would imply the fingerprints of God.
        Atheism is not a belief system for me. My basis for belief is science or naturalism and I try not to be defined by what I don’t believe.

    • RE:
      All I can say is this; I was brought up as a Christian and went to chapel every morning but over the years and gradually seeing how Christians behave (say one thing and do another)I started to reject religion.

      There was one other guy who consistently condemned religious hypocrites, know-it-alls and showoffs.

      Jesus.

      And he did it in no uncertain terms.

  19. Shane Almgren says:

    Dear Perry,
    I would like to challenge your defense of Miracles in segment 1. I think one of the immediate problems in addressing this issue is that the word “miracle” has been misused so frequently that many people enter into the debate bringing significantly different definitions to the table (similar to “evolution,” which is patently observable all around us on a daily basis – at least on a micro level – but most Christians automatically infer a Darwinian meaning to the world, and thus end up arguing apples and oranges). When my daughter was born, many people commented on what a “little miracle” she was. I’ve heard “miracle” used to describe beautiful sunsets, not dying in a car accident, or an unexpected check arriving in the mail at a time of need. True, these are all joyous, beautiful, and providential occurrences; but none of them are actually “miracles,” that is, none of these events violate a Law of Nature, as Biblical miracles often did. I find it interesting that EVERY single example of “miracles” that the faithful can offer involve healing of some sort. Now scientists and the medical establishment have been acknowledging for quite some time the presence of spontaneous remission, healing, and the like in their studies. They don’t yet understand how or why it happens, but they at least don’t deny that it is a real phenomenon. But to jump to the conclusion that “God did it, and not just ANY God, specifically the God I believe in,” is simply to invoke the time-honored “God of the Gaps” fallacy. Anything we can’t currently explain is chalked up to God, until such a time as science comes up with a working explanatory model. We used to believe that God caused birth defects, still births, plagues, famine, abundance, droughts, natural disasters, eclipses, the motion of the planets, etc. Then we learned about germ theory, DNA, the hydrological cycle, Newtonian physics, techtonic plates, etc., and God no longer needed to do all those things (I guess you could say He’s slowly running out of a job).
    Since “miracle” – in its truest definition – describes an event at odds with the Laws governing the universe (the “natural,” if you will); and since we don’t have have a complete grasp of all the Natural Laws at work in their entirety, there is absolutely no way to ascribe absolutely everything we don’t understand to supernatural causes. The only way we could do that is if we had a complete list of everything that was “natural” so we could identify the “supernatural” when it showed up. We can’t.
    It is entirely conceivable that spontaneous healing is a natural occurrence whose mechanisms we have not yet discovered. I am reluctant to relegate them them into the “Divine Miracle” column of 2 primary reasons:

    (1) We have NO scientific examples of non-healing type miracles, such as occurred in the Bible. We have no documentation of seas parting in half, axe heads floating, water turning into wine, or the contents of a single lunch-box satisfying the appetites of everyone in the auditorium. All we have is the occasional healing, which brings me to:

    (2) The statistical ratio of the supposed miraculous healings within Christianity turn up in other religions as well, and are exactly in line with the law of averages that medical science tells us we can expect these random and rare occurrences to take. I submit that before Christians can start validly claiming that their particular God of choice is personally responsible for any spontaneous healing, they first need to acknowledge that – and then explain how – this same phenomenon appears in every non-Christian demographic in the exact same ratio.

    It seems to me that people WANT to believe in miracles so badly that they imagine seeing them everywhere they look. Personally, I am not swayed by the recounting of someone needing money for groceries receiving their tax refund “just in time.” That’s not God, it’s the US Postal Service. Now, if you desperately need food and your tv set suddenly turns into a baked ham….well, now we’ve got something to talk about (unless you’re Jewish, I suppose). Do you have any examples of events which clearly violate the known Laws of Nature – “miracles” as the Bible intended the word – not from the perspective of people who never learned that the sun’s rays refracting off the atmospheric gasses is what makes the sky look “pretty?”

    • perrymarshall says:

      I assume you meant “We have NO scientific examples of healing type miracles, such as occurred in the Bible.”

      Absolutely not true. You could only say this if you have not followed the links and read the materials I have referenced in this article. We most certainly do have scientifically documented examples of healing.

      Secondly, how curious it is that most of the healings I’ve seen, and those which are documented by Casdorph and others, immediately followed prayer. As opposed to, say, a visit to McDonalds or a trip to Des Moines Iowa.

      • Shane Almgren says:

        No, sir. I proof-read my comment several times before posting it, and I meant exactly what I wrote. “We have NO scientific examples of non-healing type miracles, such as occurred in the Bible.” If that comment was phrased confusingly, I’ll attempt to clarify what I meant: we don’t have any scientific confirmations of events that do not involve healing of some sort, to the extent that we can even know that these events are in fact “supernatural.” I have absolutely no reason to think you are not being 100% truthful in asserting most of the healings you have personally witnessed have immediately followed prayer. But simply acknowledging that fact doesn’t get you 1 step to closer to proving that such an event happened contrary to the Laws of Nature, at the behest of an Invisible Sky Man intervening on your behalf. It would seem to an impartial observer that you are making 2 significant logical errors:

        (1) SELECTIVE OBSERVATION: This is a logical fallacy that most of us tend to make, wherein we decided what we’d like to believe before we have any evidence to support it, and then filter out any evidence to the contrary to make our misguided thesis hold up. True, many times healing occurs immediately following a prayer of some sort, but for every 1 time it happens there are 100,000 instances of prayer being blatantly disregarded.

        (2) CAUSATION vs CORRELATION: there is a vast difference between something happening in synchronization with another event, and something happening AS A DIRECT RESULT of that event. Too often we see multiple events that we’d like to believe are somehow related, and incorrectly assume that one of them has directly CAUSED the other. Given prayer’s spotty track record of being mostly hit-or-miss (with the overwhelming statistics backing up the “miss” portion), I find it hard to justify the conceit that on the rare occasions it does seemed to “work,” that it had anything to do with the prayer offered. For that matter, why does it appear to be that “God” is limited as to what type of healings He’s able to manage? (We’re all still holding our collective breath waiting for an amputees arm to grow back.) If you’ll open up a medical textbook and make a listing of every malady known to man, and then make a separate list of every documented “miraculous” healing, you’ll find that all those healings are relegated to a few small categories. There are a few categories in which healings seems almost always to occur, and some categories in which it never does, without exception. Now, one would reasonably expect that, were God actually responsible for whatever healing took place, it would be liberally sprinkled across every medical ailment. That this is demonstrably NOT the case, that it appears there are a distinct set of maladies that God appears to be either unable or uninterested in correcting, and that whatever healings do occasionally occur happen to be precisely within the range of what medical science tells us we can expect (whether prayer is present or not), leads me to believe that an Invisible Sky Dude plays no role in the matter. And on the rare occasion He might SEEM to…well, that might just be us mortals with incomplete knowledge inventing connections where none lie simply because we like the concept of it all.

        (btw, I think Ronald McDonald and 8 families from Iowa are now considering a class action lawsuit for libel. 😉 )

  20. saint says:

    I want to say smt about evolution. if my eng is not so good, i m sorry. In my opinion, evolution is real but there is no connection between evolution and god. In other words, if god create the world 4.6 billion years ago after this creation evolution may work alone and god help to formed humankind. Actually i want to say, humans can create lots of theories about creation or existance of god, but these ones always stay in theory. I think religions are most popular and most logical theories about the universe. I have lots of ideas about whole thing but my english is not good enough, i hope all u understand.
    regards,
    Saint

    • saint says:

      i want to add something, i have a composition about god’s existance like 6-7 pages. if u say how can i add, i can add.

    • Saint

      Not always….humans can create lots of theories about creation or existance of god, but these ones always stay in theory

      However it doesn’t mean to stop searching for knowledge based on science and truth instead of relying on past or outdated facts

      If GOD stop thinking …no Universe exist..

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