Is Hawking A Liar?

In his book, "The Grand Design", Hawking writes, " As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."



Hawking, of course, is alluding to the Quantum Vacuum. But, is this "roiling sea of particle pairs, energy fluctuations and force perturbations" really "the absence of anything" or is it in fact something?
maxximiliann maxximiliann
36-40, M
5 Responses Jan 20, 2013

In quantum physics, something and nothing become subjective terms that often overlap in meaning.

Please clarify for me, how exactly do antipodal concepts "become subjective terms that often overlap in meaning"?

This happens when we initially use abstract, absolute and intuitive concepts to describe the universe, and then discover that the universe doesn't work that way.

We're now at the point where kids are learning about the fundamentals of quantum physics in high school. For the purposes of discussing flobadine's post, though, it's sufficient for you to understand: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle (which begets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation)

If it is impossible to know something with absolute precision and certainty, it's inappropriate to use absolute terms to describe those things. This is one of many ways that classical concepts of how the universe works are invalidated through the application of the scientific method.

In case you're still in a state of disbelief, consider that not only is this essentially universally accepted, but we've actually used this understanding to build real things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling#Applications

Interesting. What other terms have had their original meaning conflated with that of their antithesis?

Particle vs. wave? Not quite antithesis, but classically considered mutually exclusive, which I think is more to the point.

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@Renegade

i. Your existence, my existence, the existence of our universe and all it contains is direct evidence for the existence of creation and our Creator. You're not insinuating everything came from nothing by nothing for nothing, are you?

ii. You're looking for empirical evidence for a historical figure and historical events? Well, how do you establish the veridicality of any historical figure or event? For instance, what empirical evidence proves the US constitution was signed September 17, 1787 or that Yuri Gagaran was the first man in space?

iii. You say, "the world we live in today has no need for religion" (which is the same as saying that you don't need God) but, if that's true, then show me demonstrable, quantifiable, empirical, testable, replicable evidence proving:

(a) it’s wrong to rape a little girl to death and,

(b) it's good to treat others with dignity, respect and beneficence.

i. I'm not insinuating anything. I am simply asking for evidence of god's existence. From what I can tell your answer is "our existence is evidence". That's pretty much the same thing you said to me in earlier posts and it holds no more validity now than it did then For all I know Bob the alien created us...why, I don't know because no one can tell me what went on during the days of NOTHING. All anyone can do is "PLACE NAME HERE" and say THAT'S how our world was created. Wow - I find that evidence lacking and almost insulting to my intelligence.

ii. The signing of the US constitution doesn't ask me to follow rules, threaten me with hell or leech itself into EVERYTHING in day to day life. I couldn't care less about the signing of the constitution because it's not asking me to behave a certain way or to be obedient to a dictator. If the day comes where the signing of the US constitution somehow becomes a threat to me then I may reconsider and look further into the issue. All in all, you are comparing apples to oranges - do you do that when you can't come up with a direct answer?

I also didn't ask for evidence of a historical figure or events. I asked for evidence of god. He's not historical...according to religion he exists to this day....so where are the empirical studies of today that show us there is indeed a dictator up in the sky?

iii. Yes, that's right. I don't believe we need a god or religion. It's all based on faith which is simply having complete trust and confidence in something. Sorry man, before I can put my trust or confidence in something it needs to show me it's value, worth and application to the times. Religion and god don't fit those three requirements for me, thus I have no faith and remain a skeptic. I don't need religion to function, be a good person or to treat others fairly. All I need is common sense, critical thinking and empathy to accomplish these tasks.

I'm also unsure why your asking me to provide evidence that we don't need god. It's an opinion based on personal experience not a hypothesis or a theory.

With all your arguments, your links, your comebacks, you have not provided me with anything that would lead me to believe that there's a god. You seem to avoid answering direct questions and you redirect with your own questions when you don't want to answer mine.

I suppose it really comes down to this: you live a life of faith. I live a life of skepticism. Your faith compels you to defend and seek out information that supports your faith. My skepticism compels me to question everything, to never allow myself to become comfortable with the status quo...to always question things that don't make sense. Just so happens that religion is ones of those things that doesn't make sense - especially in a world where our knowledge surpasses our need for superstition.

i. Where, then, did the universe come from 13.70 odd billion years ago? And why did it begin to exist in the first place?

ii. First off, God isn't threatening anyone with eternal torment in a mythical hellfire. That's a lie.

Next, God is anything but a dictator because he isn't forcing you to accept his auspices much less even accept the reality of his existence. You're the one depriving yourself of his infinite wisdom, love, care, protection and blessings.

Third, you're asking for evidence for the life and ministry of Christ Jesus, a historical figure. That entails historical evidence, not empirical. Talk about apples and oranges. Do try and put a bit more thought into your carps ...

iii. Please clarify your moral stance for me if you would. For instance, if the Neo-Nazis were to attain world domination and exterminated everyone who thought racism was wrong, would that suddenly make racism and bigotry morally correct?

iv. Skepticism is fine so long as it's based on knowledge and motivated by a pursuit for truth. When it's just held together by argumentum ad lapidem, on the other hand, is just stark benightedness of the highest order.


In closing, the trust I have in our Creator is very well placed for it is based on evidence and years of enjoying a close personal relationship with him. He's done for me what no one else could or would ever do.

If it's seems I'm fiercely loyal to him it's because I am. And why wouldn't I be? After all, he's been fiercely loyal to me for so many, many years ...

Well it looks like you have circled around back to the beginning of our discussions. You are asking me the same questions you did before - the whole "what caused the universe, neo-nazi moral challenges and such". If you want to know what I think, go back and read my earlier replies.

And I suppose based on your reply you are making the point (without actually making it) that all of your "evidence" of god is historical. That being the case there is nothing more to discuss in that arena..at least for me.

I have enjoyed our discussions and I have learned a lot from them. However, it is starting to become repetitive and I'm finding it difficult to get some answers from you. I'm not interested in big wordy paragraphs or having my questions answered with another question.

I'm not debating with you and am therefore not interested in the whole logical fallacy thing. I'm asking questions and giving my opinions based on my experience. I'm not trying to look super intelligent or knowledgeable, I'm not interested in being a great atheist debater, I am simply trying to get straight answers.

It has become clear to me now though that I will get the same style and type of answers from any educated theist...at least that's the impression I get when I read from the sites or listen to the debates. There is never a direct answer - just scripted, long drawn out, philosophical paragraphs.

I have been at this for about 6 months and I think I have gotten all I am going to get out of theists with regards to my pursuit of answers.

In closing, the trust I have in myself is very well placed for it is based on the evidence and years of enjoying the person that I am and have grown into being. I can do for myself what no one else could or would ever do.

If it seems I'm fiercely loyal to myself it's because I am. And why wouldn't I be? I'm here, I'm me and no one knows me better than I.

Really? Do you have the power and ability to rid the world of war, violence, abuse, strife, discord, animosity, hatred, bigotry, inequality, injustice, abject poverty, disease, depravity and death?

Can you give yourself eternal life? Or how about fully restoring dead loved ones to life? Can you do that?

Can you guarantee a peaceful, prosperous and joyful life for yourself? Can you do it for others?

1 More Response

@Main

Had you read the references I supplied, you would have realized they weren’t borrowing from Christianity but from ancient Judaism. Remember, at the heart of Judaism are a whole host of Messianic prophecies.

Potato, pot-ah-to. It's still religious text. I should have added Judiasm to the list of domination hungry religions like Christianity and Islam.

See the thing is, it doesn't matter where or who your getting your quotes from. All religions have the same motivation no matter what god they follow. Note I said same motivation, not the same rules/stories/guidelines...whatever you want to call it.

I'm still waiting for an answer regarding the reconciliation of pre-christ gods?

i. I don't see how your objection is germane. Please elaborate.

ii. When you say "reconciliation of pre-christ gods" what are you asking for precisely? I don't quite follow.

My objection is:

When I ask you direct questions your answers always include big long paragraphs of cited information. Rarely do these long paragraphs answer my questions.

My other objection:

It doesn't matter what religious text you get your information from because they are all the same. They all worship a god, they all follow the "rules" of their god. What makes you think I will accept the words of Judaism any more than Christianity? I don't believe in god - regardless of the religion.

My question, how do you reconcile pre-christ gods means:

The following gods were worshiped BEFORE the existence of christ and their story lines parallel Jesus (eg. virgin birth, resurrection, spontaneous healing...etc).

1. Horus - 2700 BC(ish)
2 Buddha - 563 BC
3. Krishna - 3228 BC
4. Odysseus - 1190 BC
5. Zoroaster - 1200 BC(ish)

So my question is how can I believe the bible to be true when the written words about Jesus Christ aren't even original.

You're overlooking the fact that the first Messianic prophecies are found in Genesis and that these predate all of these mythologies. In other words, you got it backwards. It is they who have parroted these prophecies, not the other way around.

Where in Genesis would I read about these first messianic prophecies?

It starts at Genesis 3:15 - http://bit.ly/1dr5kAt

I'm not seeing it. Where does it say "there will be a man who is the son of god that will be born of a virgin, he will miraculously heal people, he will walk on water and he will die and rise up"? Obviously not in those exact words but those are 3 examples of stories that were written by other religions that parallel the NT.

Also curious...when was the OT first written?

I. Did you read the article I linked you to? Obviously this is a very involved topic which cannot be addressed with tweet-like rejoinders.

II. What part? The Hebrew Scriptures (OT) is a library of 39 works written over the span of some one thousand one hundred years.

Btw, based on what empirical evidence precisely did you arrive at the dates for the five mythological figures you referenced earlier?

Yup, I read it...at least the first 3 paragraphs of it. Does it talk about prophecies of Jesus walking on water later in the article? Because all I got out of the article is examples of different books in the OT talking about the messiah in very general terms...

Is what you're telling me that you reconcile pre-christ religion by saying "but the old testament talks about this seed, this messiah, this son of god"?

If that's the case it really doesn't answer my question. Perhaps you should point out to me which paragraph talks about the messiah being born of a virgin, miraculous healer and a dead riser.

Sure, let's go with the Hebrew scriptures - first one to be recorded. When was that?

I. Here's a brief list of the hundreds of messianic prophecies recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures: http://bit.ly/1azipLV. (See chart: OUTSTANDING PROPHECIES CONCERNING JESUS AND THEIR FULFILLMENT)


II. It's estimated that Moses finished writing Genesis by 1513 B.C.E. It covers the period from 4026 B.C.E. to 1657 B.C.E. - http://bit.ly/13iZo8I.


III. Based on what empirical evidence precisely did you arrive at the dates for the five mythological figures you referenced earlier?

Boy I sure wish I could get my hands on the original bible (and read whatever language it happens to be in) because all of your sourcing lately on this topic is coming from one place - The Watchtower....a site with an obvious bias because of it's belief system.

I read on another site called Biblica that Moses actually lived between 1500 and 1300 (which would mean your date of 1513 was before he was even born. Just like any other written information, it is subject to change depending on who wrote it.

It's also somewhat convenient that Moses sat down one day and wrote about thousands of years that happened when he wasn't even alive. Talk about recipe for bias! Oh right, but I suppose the claim is that god spoke directly to Moses and so he was able to get the straight story. To which there is no proof. Just like all of the stories in the bible...the only thing you've been able to provide is ANECDOTAL evidence of the existence of god.

Anecdotal evidence is "information that is not based on facts or careful study". When I also read that it's considered a "dubious support of a claim [and is] accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence" that only further strengthens my skepticism.

That aside though - you asked me where I get my empirical evidence to arrive at the dates of these other figures. There IS no empirical evidence! Nor is there for any of your arguments (which is something I mentioned long long ago in earlier discussions with you).

If you are going to ask me the question: where's my empirical evidence, I will ask you the same back:

Where is your empirical evidence that:

-god exists
-Jesus performed miracles
-Jesus rose from the dead
-Jesus was born of a virgin
-Jesus was not just a normal but charismatic and manipulative man who figured out how to dupe people into following him?

i. You're being unnecessarily reductive since there is ample empirical evidence for the transmission of information to Bible amanuensis by way of divine revelation: http://bit.ly/14Ckccl

ii. If you have no empirical evidence then your insinuation of plagiarism is specious. The extremely loose parallels you want to draw between biblical messianic prophecies and other mythological figures does not support your innuendo.

iii. I think it's a great idea for you to read all of the Bible for yourself! Everyone should! That would certainly go a long way to clearing up so many obvious misconceptions people have about it.

i I'm still waiting for an example of empirical evidence...not anecdotal, archaeological or circumstantial (indirect).

ii If you want me to back up my claims with empirical evidence, I expect the same in return. Since all you are able to provide is anecdotal/archaeological/circumstantial evidence then that is all I need provide as well.

I am not attempting to draw loose parallels I am simply waiting for you to provide me with empirical evidence that what YOUR religion say is true. That every other religion/cult/group is wrong or is plagiarizing from your religion. I mean you stated in a post above that it is they who have parroted your religion. I am waiting for some information that will actually cause me to stop and say...maybe, just maybe there is a god. What you have provided me with so far has not quelled my skepticism.

Can I at least have ONE example of empirical evidence? How about for Jesus's resurrection. I will clarify again: can I have some empirical evidence, not anecdotal, archaeological or circumstantial (indirect)?

Empirical evidence: http://bit.ly/14Ckccl

Again, not answering my question. Providing links that show prophecies that have "come true" doesn't answer any of the following:

-god exists
-Jesus performed miracles
-Jesus rose from the dead
-Jesus was born of a virgin
-Jesus was not just a normal but charismatic and manipulative man who figured out how to dupe people into following him?

Still waiting for empirical evidence. If god exists you SHOULD be able to provide me with some current evidence and not always have to rely on the ancient writings of a book.

Honestly, if you have no other sources of evidence other than ancient text (and websites of theists who use ancient text to "modernize" their beliefs), there is no longer any point in discussing this.

In other words, you have been unable to quell my skepticism - especially considering the world we live in today has no need for religion. When we don't know an answer, we don't fear it like we did in the old days - we research it and look for answers, not raise our hands to the sky helplessly and associate it with a higher power.

Please see my reply in the latest story comment thread.

14 More Responses

Your word choice here is.. curious. If a scientist falsified data with the intention of producing a skewed conclusion in an attempt to deceive people, then it would be appropriate to say he lied. Do you believe that is happening here? Your quote even starts out "recent advances in cosmology suggest" not "Hawking says, against all evidence to the contrary, so as to support the Military Evolutionary Atheist Industrial Complex". Your bias and mistrust of the scientific method shows its ugly face again.

Your objection to the idea of vacuum energy is based on your belief that the concept of "nothing" is absolute. You are interpreting the word in a manner that is conceptually abstract, and implying that that's how Hawking is using it as well. It's equivocation. In the real universe, "nothing" is simply "as far away from something as you can get".

Vacuum energy has been experimentally verified, and is consistent with and even predicted by the prevailing cosmological theories.

You accuse others of sticking their head in the sand while you do the same. Why don't you spend some of that intellect on trying to incorporate scientific discoveries into your world view rather than shouting that things we observe and experimentally verify to be true can't possibly be true. Your approach only causes your argument to be dismissed by those you seem to be targeting with your proselytism.

@Fast

If the Quantum Vacuum truly is something, why refer to it as "the absence of anything", "nothing"?

Such duplicitous word-play only serves to advance the Materialist's agenda: gainsaying the reality of our Creator's existence. As Lewontin himself expressed, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

That you would defend such naked skulduggery speaks volumes to the effete of your moral fiber.

It seems to me that it is you that seems to want to manufacture word games here. I think if you asked people whether a region of empty space (a vacuum) was "nothing", they would probably say yes. Would these people be playing "duplicitous" word games with you? Or possibly you're intentionally interpreting the word so narrowly that you can rationalize saying "ah ha! caught you!" when the word is used in a subtly different manner?

The point about vacuum energy is that even in "nothing" (i.e., the absence of classical matter and energy), we still find "something". The abstract concept of true, absolute nothing, does not exist in the real world. Your attempt to pretend that it does by attributing the definition to someone else's model of the real universe, just so that you can find contradiction, "speaks volumes to the effete of your moral fiber."

What if you were to ask them if a "roiling sea of particle pairs, energy fluctuations and force perturbations" was nothing? How would they answer?

"No."
"So I guess our previous ideas about 'nothing' in a vacuum aren't accurate, huh?"
"I guess not."

Not:

"No."
"But Hawking says that's the same thing as nothing!"
"OMG he's lying! The whole Military Evolutionary Atheist Complex is conspiring to turn our children into savage moral-less ********* HOMOSEXUALS!"

If only it were that benign. Hawking's militant agnostic atheism as well as that of all the other New Atheists - Dawkins, Dillahunty, Krauss, Wolpert, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, Kurtz, Weinberg and the lot - is intent on eradicating theism.

That's just one rung below the kind of demonic persecution every single atheistic totalitarian regime of the 20th century has waged against theists.

To make matters worst, you moderate atheists won't do anything to stop them. In fact, most of you would join right along with them. After all, when you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything.


Put yourself in my shoes and tell me if you think I'm overreacting.

Overreacting is not the first word that comes to mind, no.

Thank you!

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@Renegade

Of course you could collect evidence that supports the assertion that "The US Constitution was signed September 17, 1787" (henceforth (A)) but this evidence would be historical, not scientific. For instance, what scientific experiment could you conduct to confirm that (A) actually took place on September 17, 1787 and not some other date?

Withal, the very same quality of evidence used to establish the veridicality of (A) is the same used to establish the verity of any historical event. This applies to ancient historical events such as those described in the works contained within the Bible. In fact, no other collection of ancient historical writings is as well attested to as those found within the Bible.

Over the years, skeptics have challenged— and continue to challenge— the Bible’s accuracy regarding the names of people and places it mentions. Time and again, though, evidence has proved the skepticism to be baseless and the Bible record to be trustworthy.

For example, at one time scholars doubted the existence of Assyrian King Sargon, mentioned at Isaiah 20:1. However, in the 1840’s, archaeologists began unearthing the palace of this king. Now, Sargon is one of the best-known Assyrian kings.

Critics questioned the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus’death. (Matthew 27:1, 22-24) But in 1961 a stone bearing Pilate’s name and rank was discovered near the city of Caesarea in Israel.

Before 1993, there was no extra-biblical evidence to support the historicity of David, the brave young shepherd who later became king of Israel. That year, however, archaeologists uncovered in northern Israel a basalt stone, dated to the ninth century B.C.E., that experts say bears the words “House of David” and “king of Israel.”

Until recently, many scholars doubted the accuracy of the Bible’s account of the nation of Edom battling with Israel in the time of David. (2 Samuel 8:13, 14) Edom, they argued, was a simple pastoral society at the time and did not become sufficiently organized or have the might to threaten Israel until much later. However, recent excavations indicate that “Edom was a complex society centuries earlier [than previously thought], as reflected in the Bible,” states an article in the journal Biblical Archaeology Review.

There were many rulers on the world stage during the 16 centuries that the Bible was being written. When the Bible refers to a ruler, it always uses the proper title. For example, it correctly refers to Herod Antipas as “district ruler” and Gallio as “proconsul.” (Luke 3:1; Acts 18:12) Ezra 5:6 refers to Tattenai, the governor of the Persian province “beyond the River,” the Euphrates River. A coin produced in the fourth century B.C.E. contains a similar description, identifying the Persian governor Mazaeus as ruler of the province “Beyond the River.”

Regarding the historical accuracy of the Bible, the October 25, 1999, issue of U.S.News & World Report said: “In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testaments— corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.” While faith in the Bible does not hinge on archaeological discoveries, such historical accuracy is what you would expect of a book inspired by God.

Of special import are the ancient historical writings pertaining to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. So much so that any denial of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection is comparable to denying the US declared its independence in 1776 or that Columbus landed in America in 1492.

Well that's cool that they found evidence of the people mentioned in the bible. I'm not surprised - they were living, breathing people here on earth. Based on your examples, there was also empirical evidence found: through Archaeological digs. Like Assyrian King Sargon - archaeologists dug up the palace - it exists, it's there for all to see - empirical evidence in other words

Could someone have planted it? Sure, but I doubt it. I have never questioned the historical validity of the people mentioned in the bible. It's god that i question. Where is the evidence of "his" existence?

It's all around you. You're simply misinterpreting it. You're ascribing the existence of the universe and everything it contains to some great "poof" instead of to its Maker.

After all, something can't come from nothing right?

There's also the small matter of Christ being resurrected from the dead. What more tangible proof of God's existence do you need? :)

Well it's been awhile but I thought I would take some time and read the bible (King James version). Mostly because of your following comment:


Of special import are the ancient historical writings pertaining to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. So much so that any denial of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection is comparable to denying the US declared its independence in 1776 or that Columbus landed in America in 1492.

After reading it, I was and still am a skeptic regarding it's validity. Sure there is a lot of "historical evidence" of the PEOPLE who lived then. However, the rest of it is "taking the word of people" who claim what happened back then. The perfect example is the resurrection of Christ. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all have different accounts of the resurrection of Christ.

-Mary shows up and the guards died

-In another Mary shows up and there are no guards. She brought other women with her and an earthquake opened the tomb door

-Yet another - no, the tomb door was already open with a man sitting inside

-Another account says there are two men sitting inside

-And yet another says it was empty and 2 angels and Jesus showed up

-Jesus talks to his disciples on a mountainside

-Another account says he was a vision to each individual disciple

-Another says Jesus came to them in a house but Thomas wasn't there and had to come back 8 days later

I also discovered after reading that apparently Jesus wasn't the only one who performed "miracles". It claims the apostles can do the same thing. For example it talks about how Paul's shadow could heal people. The claim is that "well, the apostles can only do miracles because of god - just like Jesus. The only difference between Jesus and the rest was that he was resurrected which I suppose is the bibles way of saying he was "special" - but was he even resurrected - because based on the above the M,M,L and J books can't even agree on how or where it occurred. Not to mention, the book mentions other resurrections of other people, for example. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead.

I could go on. My point is, what I am gleaning from you is that your evidence of the existence of god is a book full of contradiction, superstitions and clear racial/prejudicial/misogynistic references. I try to avoid living my life based on all of the aforementioned.

Just because the book is full of people who existed back then doesn't mean the CONTENT itself is accurate. And if it is, that scare me, because if we all truly followed the teachings of the bible I would be a 2nd class citizen sitting in church following the following: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law: (1st Cornithians 14:34).

And I get it - times have changed - and Christianity has modified many a rule set forth in the bible. I suppose that is yet another reason I cannot get onboard with the bible being an accurate historical account because it keeps changing. Not just the words but the teachings. I mean when I read the bible, I read it trying to keep as much interpretation out of it as possible. Because the minute interpretation is thrown in, anyone can say ANYTHING to skew the words to fit their belief system any way they please. The King James Bible reflects the ignorance and illiteracy of people back in that time. A bible that includes words such as witches, unicorns and dragons (that have now been modified to "persons familiar with spirits", "wild oxen" and "serpents respectively). So where does the subjectiveness stop and the actual true accounts come in?

Archeological discoveries cannot dispel all of the subjective content found in the bible. I mean it's OBVIOUSLY subjective when Matt Mark Luke and John can't even agree on the events leading up to Jesus' resurrection.

So, to date, I still have not found ANYTHING to satisfy my skepticism.

Consider, if you will, the historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ:

Historical fact (1): After being impaled on a stake, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.

Historical fact (2): On the third day following his death, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his female disciples.

Historical fact (3): Different individuals and groups, on multiple occasions and under various circumstances, personally witnessed the resurrected Christ. This testimony even includes that of enemies and detractors of Christ.

Historical fact (4): His first disciples beleived Christ had been resurrected from the dead despite having every predisposition to the contrary.

As I've shared before, no naturalistic hypothesis explains these four historical facts better than the obvious: That God did in fact resurrect Christ.

Prominently, in his book, “Justifying Historical Descriptions”, historian C. B. McCullagh lists six tests which historians use in determining what is the best explanation for given historical facts. The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” passes all these tests:

1. It has great explanatory scope: it explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and why the Christian faith came into being.

2. It has great explanatory power: it explains why the body of Jesus was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive despite his earlier public execution, and so forth.

3. It is plausible: given the historical context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation of those radical claims.

4. It is not ad hoc or contrived: it requires only one additional hypothesis: that God exists. And even that needn’t be an additional hypothesis if one already believes that God exists.

5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs. The hypothesis: “God raised Jesus from the dead” doesn’t in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don’t rise naturally from the dead. The Christian accepts that belief as wholeheartedly as he accepts the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead.

6. It far outstrips any of its rival hypotheses in meeting conditions (1)-(5). Down through history various alternative explanations of the facts have been offered, for example, the conspiracy hypothesis, the apparent death hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, and so forth. Such hypotheses have been almost universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. None of these naturalistic hypotheses succeeds in meeting the conditions as well as the resurrection solution.

Hmm. Well, I think I mentioned it before somewhere in one of our discussions: historical fact can never be fully objective because it is full of subjective bias. Who writes these historical facts? What makes them all knowing? Just because someone stamps something as historical fact doesn't make it true - it's simply the authors interpretation of what he/she saw. Even what we see can be biased by what our belief system is. Like when I see a bruise on a banana that looks like Jesus, I don't get all excited and claim it's a sign! People see what they want to see and will unwittingly interpret the data in a way that fits into their own belief system.

So the 3 historical facts you provided don't convince me...especially when (as I mentioned in my previous post) the books in the bible can't even agree on the events of Christ's resurrection. That in itself lends to the whole subjective bias phenomenon.

A perfect example of that subjective biased would be this historian McCullagh you mentioned. These 6 tests historians use to verify historical fact: first of all these tests in and of themselves are just begging for subjective exploration!

McCullagh is simply using these 6 tests to strengthen his already biased opinions with regards to the existence of god.

1. Explanatory scope: Explanation of what? The superstitions of people back then?

2 Explanatory power: So what was the explanation for Jesus's body disappearing and why people repeatedly saw him alive? Seriously, how is that explanatory power?

3. It's plausible: Only if you believe in the supernatural when trying to explain something you don't understand.

4. Not ad hoc or contrived: Really? How do you know? How do you know that Jesus didn't partner up with some people and say - Hey, how can we control the masses? How do we make them fear every action they take? How do we calm them down about the inevitability of death? I know! Let's create an all powerful being that no one can actually prove exists and scare them into compliance! Jesus, you can be the good cop...use your charm and gentle ways to lure them in!

5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs: That one SCREAMS subjective bias. It's suggesting that if a lot of people believe it then it must be true. Not to mention, it is not the accepted belief of EVERYONE ELSE who is not Christain - and that's a lot of people.

6: It far outstrips any of its rival hypothesis in meeting conditions 1-5: Really? How so - where is the indisputable evidence that the event occurred? Where is the research documentation that shows us how all other hypothesis were considered and rejected? How did he exclude these other hypothesis? What were his methods?

I am thinking our discussions will be winding down. I have yet to read anything that seems to be your own words. Most of what you reply with comes directly from websites and it is always the same - filled with circular logic and logical fallacies.

I refrained from getting into that whole logical fallacy debate with you as you obviously do it all of the time based on other posts I've read on here from you. I am not interested in the LOGIC or the SCIENCE of the whole god vs no god - I am into the psychology and sociology of it. Seems to me that is not your area of expertise or interest since you never reply directly to any of my questions in that arena.

It's all good! I just think that I have gotten as much as I can out of our discussions. You taught me a lot but alas...I still don't believe in god...

If I may, how is your persistent disbelief objective instead of the denouement of your own subjective biases?

I have never claimed that my disbelief is objective. NO ones beliefs/disbeliefs are objective. The very definition of belief is enough to realize that it cannot BE objective.

Your judgement of my "persistent" disbelief is unfounded as well. I am not standing firm in my claim - it's just that no one, to date, has provided me with any satisfying empirical evidence of his existence.

I will not follow a belief system that is based around death, elitism and preparing for the end of days UNLESS I can be shown, without a doubt, that there is a tyrannical, egocentric, jealous super-being in the sky. I think I would actually break into tears if anyone managed to prove that god exists. Because based on what I read in the bible, he's a terrible, judgemental, self-serving super-being. I would go as far to say that if someone were to psychoanalyze him, they would conclude that he is an outright sociopath. I am not the type to kow-tow to a bully.

Here's what the Bible actually teaches:

"By the end of the 16th century B.C.E., millions of Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, where they were severely oppressed. (Exodus 1:11, 14) In their distress, the Israelites cried out to Jehovah. How did the God of compassion respond?

Jehovah’s heart was touched. He said: “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their outcry . . . I well know the pains they suffer.” (Exodus 3:7) Jehovah could not see the sufferings of his people or hear their outcries without feeling for them. Jehovah is a God of empathy. And empathy—the ability to identify with the pain of others—is akin to compassion. However, Jehovah did not just feel for his people; he was moved to act in their behalf. Isaiah 63:9 says: “In his love and in his compassion he himself repurchased them.” With “a strong hand,” he rescued the Israelites out of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 4:34) Thereafter, he provided them with miraculous food and delivered them into a fruitful land of their own.

Jehovah does not show compassion to his people only as a group. Our loving God is deeply concerned about us as individuals. He is keenly aware of any suffering we may undergo. The psalmist said: “The eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their cry for help. Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalm 34:15, 18) How does Jehovah help us as individuals? He does not necessarily remove the cause of our suffering. But he has made abundant provisions for those who cry out to him for help. His Word offers practical counsel that can make a difference. In the congregation, he provides spiritually qualified overseers, who endeavor to reflect his compassion in helping others. (James 5:14, 15) As the “Hearer of prayer,” Jehovah gives “holy spirit to those asking him.” (Psalm 65:2; Luke 11:13) All such provisions are expressions of “the tender compassion of our God.”—Luke 1:78." - http://bit.ly/12gZQ8c

Hmmm. Interesting. So what was god's light bulb moment from going to a vengeful, domineering god in the old testament to this loving empathetic god of the new testament? I also am curious how he can be called empathetic when even in the new testament he still condemns homosexuality, partakes in prejudice and racism and sees women as 2nd class citizens... ?

Not to mention...just referring to the Exodus quote...god is talking about saving his "children", those who follow him...

If he truly were empathetic, he would be tolerant of everyone and everything. But alas, he is not...as talked about in Exodus he had no problem tricking, threatening and doing his usual smiting of the Egyptians. Sure they were holding his children as slaves, but if he was all powerful then he could have come up with a multitude of other ways to save his children without destroying the oppressors.

He's not empathetic, he's self-absorbed and this is demonstrated in his multiple smitings throughout the bible - "if you're different and you refuse to believe in me, you die".

His love is conditional...I will not be a apart of something that provides conditional love.

I. Do you believe in justice?

I ask because, if you recall, Jehovah God kept sending Moses back to Pharaoh again and again and again, giving him each time the opportunity to do the right thing and end his brutal treatment of the Israelites. In the end, Pharaoh proved himself evil and suffered accordingly.

Do you think it wrong for evildoers to be objurgated in defense of the innocent?


II. It appears you misapprehend how free will works. To borrow from the brainchild of Harry Frankfurt, "so long as a person’s choice is causally undetermined, it is a free choice even if he is unable to choose the opposite of that choice.

Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with the choice of doing A or B. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But suppose that the man really wants to do A and chooses of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and so have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A.

In other words, a limitation in the range of choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If A, B, and C are good choices, and D, E, and F are evil choices, one’s inability to choose D, E, or F does not negate the fact that he can choose A, B, or C.”

When you go to an Italian restaurant, they may only serve 12 out of 150 possible Italian dishes. The fact that you cannot choose 138 of those dishes does not negate the fact that you can choose any one of the 12 options before you. Likewise, God’s expectation that man act morally does not mean man lacks freedom of will. Hence, God is justified in punishing man when he abuses his limited free will to do evil.

That is, if you believe in justice. Do you?

You claim that Jehovah God sees women as second class citizens but this is what the Bible really teaches:

"The Law that Jehovah God gave the nation of Israel provided the people—men and women—with boundless physical, moral, and spiritual benefits. As long as they listened and obeyed, the nation was “high above all other nations of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2) What was the woman’s place under the Law?

Consider the following.

1. Individual freedom. Unlike women in many other nations in ancient times, the Israelite woman enjoyed a great measure of freedom. Though the husband was given the role of the head of the family, the wife, with her husband’s full trust, could ‘consider a field and obtain it’ and ‘plant a vineyard.’ If she had skills in spinning and weaving, she could even run her own business. (Proverbs 31:11, 16-19) Women under the Mosaic Law were seen as individuals in their own right and not as just an appendage to man.

In ancient Israel, women were also free to have a personal relationship with God. The Bible speaks of Hannah, who prayed to God about a personal matter and secretly made a vow. (1 Samuel 1:11, 24-28) A woman from the city of Shunem used to consult the prophet Elisha on Sabbath days. (2 Kings 4:22-25) Women, such as Deborah and Huldah, were used by God as his representatives. Interestingly, prominent men and priests were willing to seek advice from them.—Judges 4:4-8; 2 Kings 22:14-16, 20.

2. Access to education. As party to the Law covenant, women were invited to listen to the reading of the Law, which provided them with opportunities to learn. (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:2, 8) They could also receive training for participation in certain aspects of public worship. For example, some women likely did “organized service” at the tabernacle, while others performed in a mixed choir of singers.—Exodus 38:8; 1 Chronicles 25:5, 6.

Many women had the knowledge and skill needed to run a profitable business. (Proverbs 31:24) Contrary to the culture in other nations at that time—in which the father alone taught his sons—the Israelite mother was to share in educating her male children until adulthood. (Proverbs 31:1) Obviously, women in ancient Israel were far from being uneducated.

3. Honored and respected. The Ten Commandments clearly stipulated: “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12) In the proverbs of wise King Solomon, we read: “Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”—Proverbs 1:8.

The Law included detailed regulations regarding conduct among unmarried persons, showing respect for females. (Leviticus 18:6, 9; Deuteronomy 22:25, 26) A good husband had to take into account his wife’s physical and biological limitations.—Leviticus 18:19.

4. Rights to be protected. In his Word, Jehovah portrays himself as “a father of fatherless boys and a judge of widows.” In other words, he was the Protector of those whose rights were not safeguarded by a father or a husband. (Psalm 68:5; Deuteronomy 10:17, 18) Thus, in one case when the widow of a prophet was treated unfairly by a creditor, Jehovah intervened with a miracle so that she could survive and keep her dignity.—2 Kings 4:1-7.

Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the family head Zelophehad died without leaving a son. His five daughters therefore requested Moses to give them “a possession” in the Promised Land. Jehovah’s response went far beyond their request. He told Moses: “Give them the possession of an inheritance in the midst of their father’s brothers, and you must cause their father’s inheritance to pass to them.” From that time on, women in Israel could receive an inheritance from their father and pass it on to their offspring.—Numbers 27:1-8." - http://bit.ly/130TuaF

Yup, I believe in justice as it pertains to the definition, "Just behavior/treatment and being fair and reasonable". I don't find the following justified: An all powerful being, with the ability to do, well, anything according to those who believe in him. And yet he chooses to wipe out everyone who is not part of his clique. He seems to have no problem with killing off hundreds of thousands of people because they will not submit to him.

If you want to talk specifically about the Pharaoh...Moses tried and tried again to convince him to let the slaves go willingly to no avail. The almighty god could have easily swooped in and rescued his people and left it at that. But no, he decided that this Pharoah must be killed for enslaving His people.

Do you think it wrong for evildoers to be objurgated in defense of the innocent?
No, absolutely not, but I don't hold the belief that it's OK to kill someone because he has mistreated others.

Just wondering...is god exempt from the 10 commandments? Because he certainly doesn't follow: thou shall not kill.

I'm also not sure how free will has anything to do with what we're talking about....please enlighten me.

As for the rest of what you have written:

You are picking and choosing verses throughout the bible that validate your beliefs. And ya, there are tons of wonderful, loving words found in it. But when I read the whole thing I found in between all of those words were conditions, prejudices and misogynism. If you would like I can take the time to go through the whole book again to pick and choose some verses for you.

So what is it you are asking me to believe from this "historical" book: just the loving passages? Am I to ignore the bullying intentions of god? Ignore the totalitarian way he demands one to live?

I'll be honest, I stopped reading what you wrote about women because, again, you pick and choose verses to validate your claims - rather than looking at the bible as a whole. Maybe that's why the bible was written in verse style with so much repetition and nonsensical verses thrown in - to confuse the reader...to ensure that the uneducated mass believers never read or understand the whole bible...never take a step back and remove all interpretation from it and just read the words.

I mean, really, the bible is a group of stories written a looooong time ago by human beings...I could FEEL the ignorance and fear of the time when I read it. I don't know...having a hard time taking the word of a book that was written, rewritten and interpreted over and over from a time when fear and uncertainty was rampant.

Was curious too...Has god talked to anyone lately? He talked to a lot of people back then...why doesn't he do that anymore? Why has he stopped swooping down and killing off whole cities?

I. If I may, the seventh commandment was “You must not murder” not “thous shalt not kill.”(Ex 20:13)

And, yes, Jehovah God has never murdered anyone. Not a single one.

II. “‘“As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from YOUR bad ways, for why is it that YOU should die?” - Ezekiel 33:11

"When I say to the righteous one: “You will positively keep living,” and he himself actually trusts in his own righteousness and does injustice, all his own righteous acts will not be remembered, but for his injustice that he has done—for this he will die.

“‘And when I say to the wicked one: “You will positively die,” and he actually turns back from his sin and carries on justice and righteousness, [and] the wicked one returns the very thing pledged, pays back the very things taken by robbery, [and] actually walks in the very statutes of life by not doing injustice, he will positively keep living. He will not die. None of his sins with which he has sinned will be remembered against him. Justice and righteousness are what he has carried on. He will positively keep living.’" - Ezekiel 33:13-16

"“When someone righteous turns back from his righteousness and actually does injustice, he must also die for them. And when someone wicked turns back from his wickedness and actually carries on justice and righteousness, it will be on account of them that he himself will keep living.

“And YOU people have said, ‘The way of Jehovah is not adjusted right.’ It will be each one according to his ways that I shall judge YOU." - Ezekiel 33:18-20

III. Pharaoh was not executed for “mistreating” people. He was an evil monster:

"15 Later on the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives,+ the name of one of whom was Shiph′rah and the name of the other Pu′ah, 16 yes, he went so far as to say: “When YOU help the Hebrew women to give birth and YOU do see them on the stool for childbirth, if it is a son, YOU must also put it to death; but if it is a daughter, it must also live.” 17 However, the midwives feared the [true] God,+ and they did not do as the king of Egypt had spoken to them,+ but they would preserve the male children alive.+

22 Finally Phar′aoh commanded all his people, saying: “Every newborn son YOU are to throw into the river Nile, but every daughter YOU are to preserve alive.”" - Exodus 1:15-17, 22

This is who you're advocating for. Still think this mass murderer of babies didn't deserve to die?

IV. I was showing how our Creator is absolutely justified in expecting His human creation to be good instead of evil despite granting us free will.

V. I invite you to demonstrate how Jehovah God is any of the despicable things you accuse Him of being.

VI. There’s no need. Everything we need to know has been recorded in the Bible:

“ 16 All Scripture is inspired of God*+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving,+ for setting things straight,*+ for disciplining+ in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be fully competent,+ completely equipped* for every good work.+” - 2 Timothy 3:16,17

I invite you to demonstrate how Jehovah God is any of the despicable things you accuse Him of being.

As I recall in the old testament, god did his fair share of baby killing as well - when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire, he mentions nothing about swooping in and saving the babies first. Let me guess - his claim was that these were babies of evil parents...death by association. Or did he have another justification?

I. If I may, the seventh commandment was “You must not murder” not “thous shalt not kill.”(Ex 20:13)

Well, like I mentioned earlier...the good old bible and it's good old revisions - the King James Bible I read says Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20.13). I can see why in the revisions they changed the wording to murder. You can't justify killing if the commandment is shall not kill, but you sure can with the revision of “You must not murder”. I can hear the replies now - well god WAS justified in killing all of these non-believers because they were evil and breaking HIS laws. So it's OK for god to destroy cities if they're "bad people"? I suppose it's his right because he is above us all. Sounds like a dictator to me.

I'm curious - and asked in my previous post - why isn't god still swooping in and killing off cities and evil people?

But let's be honest - it doesn't really matter. You are obviously well educated and versed in your belief system and have an answer for everything - at least in a very generalized sense.

I am my own worst enemy - I like debate and research and critical thinking - so I keep replying to your posts even though I KNOW that your replies will come with big paragraphs of verse and scripture. I read the bible, I know what's in it.

Here's the difference...you see the bible as affirmation of your beliefs...so of course you're not going to read the bible critically...why would you? So really, what's the point right? I'm not conversing with you in the hopes of converting you, I am conversing with you because you are a theist and I am interested in your viewpoints.

What I have discovered in our talks is that you seem to live your life based on a book that you believe to be the truth. You obviously find comfort in living a life of faith in something you can't see...something that doesn't do today what "he" did the many many years ago that the bible was written. You seem to need a book to tell you how to be a good person...

I guess the answer is clear: all of the information out there pertaining to Christianity is too outdated and reinterpreted for me to give my trust or confidence to...I have trust and confidence in myself and my loved ones - concrete, visible and ever-present.

I put my trust and confidence into emotional reactions and behaviors of myself and others...and in the knowledge that I have the ability to observe, think and learn. Religion, to me, takes away from autonomy...it's a system of groupthink - where the members would rather close their ears and eyes off to critical thinking and alternative ideas and viewpoints to minimize conflict - both internal and external (though I think internal conflict is the biggest problem).

I get how threatening it is to have your belief system attacked - but it sure helps to have soooo many members in this belief system...it's like an internal validation: well we MUST be right because there are so many of us and it's been around for so long.

If those were the criteria required to prove something as right, then slavery, racism, misogynism and many other ignorant, self-righteous belief systems would still exist.

Who knows, maybe one day someone will have the right knowledge, information and proof that will satisfy me. I am not so closed off that I will not consider alternatives. However, to date, there is nothing anyone has said to me, no books or research I've read that have tackled all confounding variables and given me concrete evidence that there is a higher power out there.

I. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula once children too?

II. Any sedulous student of the Bible knows that the King James is one of the least reliable translations of the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine manuscripts.

Observe:

RE: Exodus 20:13

New International Version
"You shall not murder."

New Living Translation
"You must not murder."

English Standard Version
“You shall not murder."

New American Standard Bible
"You shall not murder."

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Do not murder."

International Standard Version
"You are not to commit murder."

NET Bible
"You shall not murder."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Never murder."

English Revised Version
"Thou shalt do no murder."

World English Bible
"You shall not murder."

Young's Literal Translation
"Thou dost not murder."

New World Translation
"“You must not murder."


NOTE:

תִּֿרְצָֽ֖ח׃לֹ֥֖א
loʼ tir·tsach′
not murder

Observe that the Heb. verb ta·harogh′, “should kill,” is not employed here.

Compare with Exodus 2:14 -
"Are you intending to kill me?"

hal·hor·ghe′ni ʼat·tah′ ʼo·mer′?
LIterally: “Are you talking so as to kill me?

III. The last time Jehovah God met out divine retribution against evildoers was in 70 C.E. The ancient city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants received their just due for their iniquity.

As for the future, Jehovah God forewarns that he will once again act to free the innocent and just from brutality, despotism and dictatorship of the evil. (Read 2 Peter 3)

IV. How do you read the Bible “critically”? Have you ever read it in its entirety or is your familiarity with the Bible second (or third) hand?

V. Doesn’t everyone need to learn how to be a good person?

VI. To the contrary. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth for Jesus instructed “You must love Jehovah your God [] with your whole mind.’” (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)

The fact is that, “not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth; but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-28) Think back, if you would, to the types of men Jesus chose to be his apostles? Were they the scholars, brain trusts and learned of their time? No. They were simple men; “unlettered and ordinary.” (Acts 4:13)

Why is this fact so important? Because if these simple, ordinary men were to obey and 'love Jehovah with their **whole** mind' then they had to **understand** what they were being taught. (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) Hence, the need for logic and reasonableness. In fact, 1st century Christians were admonished to understand, to “thoroughly [] grasp mentally [] what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know [] that [they] may be filled with all the fullness that God gives.” (Ephesians 3:18,19)

The residents of the ancient city of Beroea, for example, were praised and set as an example for all of us because, when Paul and Silas went to teach them truth, these 'carefully examined the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.' (Acts 17:11) Did Paul criticize them because they tried to reason things out? Did he tell them that their investigation was unnecessary because absolute truth was simply unattainable? Not at all. In fact, he **encouraged** them to make sense of things and wasn't afraid of their scrutiny of what he was teaching them. Why? Because "God is not a God of confusion" and so, they had to 'love Jehovah with their **whole** mind'. (1 Corinthians 14:33;Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)

In fact, with soooo many people running around sharing their subjective opinions on what Biblical truth is, now more than ever, it is imperative that we “not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” (1 John 4:1)


VII. You misunderstand, I do not feel the least bit threatened by your assay of my beliefs. To the contrary, I am thrilled to help you understand what the Bible really teaches.

VIII. Likewise, I am not a friend of Jehovah God because everyone else is. Not at all! I love my Magnificent Creator because I know Him and am deeply grateful to Him for all He’s done for me. Just like how anyone would gush about their amazing best friend to anyone and everyone, I effervesce with joy when sharing with others how wonderful it is to know our Creator and for Him to know you.

IX. What “confounding variables” are you speaking of?

I. Yes, they were all children - how does that have anything to do with my question about God murdering babies in Sodom and Gomorrah?

II. I chose the King James Bible because it was one of the earlier english versions of the bible. It also goes to show you how much the bible has been changed over the last 400 years. How the bias of man can interpret and translate pretty much however they want to.

It shows how "times have changed" - and that's what every new translation of the bible seems to do - change with the times. How can I trust in a book whose interpretations change every time there's a revision. And these changes aren't the result of discovery of a new truth No one went back in time and talked to god or the people who wrote about Jesus (yet never met him) - they are changes that were done by men who decided, hmmmm, I don' t like the way this is worded OR this is how I interpret the meaning of this verse.

Perfect example is the whole "thou shalt not kill". When I was 13, I took confirmation for 2 years. My pastor taught us, "Thou shalt not kill"...We spent a good month on the commandments...there is no doubt, it was KILL not MURDER (that would have been about 25 years ago).

I don't dispute that Christianity has modified their doctrine to change kill to murder. Just like I don't dispute that the doctrine has been changed over and over and over again. That's my point - it's bad enough that the bible is historical "evidence" but this "evidence" keeps getting modified and interpreted. I don' t have FAITH in men who change original documentation because all men are flawed with biases. How can I know that those who re-wrote the bible were being objective when "interpreting" the verses? Knowing how egocentric man is I can quite safely assume that the interpreters were not without bias.


III. The last time? So obviously there was more than one. Which I already knew since as I mentioned before in previous posts (and as you ask me later in this one) - yes I have read the whole bible (save the looooooooong verses that just listed a bunch of children begetted here and there). I couldn't believe how much god reminded me of a manipulative toddler or a moody teenager who had a tantrum every time a person didn't listen to him or do as he said.

As for the future, Jehovah God forewarns that he will once again act to free the innocent and just from brutality, despotism and dictatorship of the evil. (Read 2 Peter 3)

That's convenient. God shows up for awhile to throw his weight around and then out of the blue decides, meh - I'll leave them be for now. Though I suppose he's just in the bathroom since of course 1 second to him is like 100 years here.

IV. How do you read the Bible “critically”? Have you ever read it in its entirety or is your familiarity with the Bible second (or third) hand?

Again, as mentioned in the first post I put out since Feb - I read the King James Bible. Oh, and pardon me for my misuse of the word critically. I read the bible with the intent of not interpreting what I read. It did nothing to help convince me that there must be a god. It simply provided me with insight on how people thought at the time. How important it was to them to be able to fill in the blanks with god when trying to decipher the unknown and when trying to rule the masses.

V. Doesn’t everyone need to learn how to be a good person?

To believe that someone has to LEARN to be a good person is quite an insult to the intelligence of man. I just have to google BABIES and "GOOD EVIL" and find plenty of information out there on how babies can distinguish between the two and prefer the former. It is in a baby's best interest to be "good" so that those around them will care for them. They do this because it is innate in them - it's how they survive.

Good and evil / right and wrong is and will always be relative. It has and will continue to change...as the times and cultures change. It is modified based on what the view of the majority of society is (or the majority of the group that is important to you).

VI. Not sure what point you are answering to with this. As usual though it is "backed up" with the words from a bible that has long since been altered from when it was originally written.


VII. You misunderstand, I do not feel the least bit threatened by your assay of my beliefs. To the contrary, I am thrilled to help you understand what the Bible really teaches.

Perhaps I should be clear - none of my words are meant to be directed at you personally. I speak in general. I KNOW you're not threatened by what I am saying. That's the whole reason why I discuss with you. You are willing to continue the conversation and help increase my knowledge. I think that's why we are still conversing and why I can't seem to stop!! Gaining knowledge is a hobby of mine and right now you're the only theist willing to debate with me!

VIII. You missed the point or choose to ignore what I said about groupthink. Of course you personally love your god for yourself, etc, etc. I was speaking to the culture of religion, not each person's individual beliefs. Again, I speak in general, not about you personally.

IX. What “confounding variables” are you speaking of?

My apologies - I misused the term. I can't use that term here because there ARE no controlled variables when it comes to "historical evidence" - they are just words...

Clearly you live your life based on a book. I live mine based on perception, observation, skepticism and self-preservation.

It doesn't matter how much you quote the bible - I don't buy it because of all reasons mentioned in my posts: It's a book that has been changed and rewritten by different people in different eras more times than I've probably been alive. The bible is the word of men...many men as it turns out...and ALL men are subject to bias, especially when the topic is based on something you can't see and something you desperately want everyone else to believe.

It's also hard to believe in a book that contains the same/similar stories as a number of religions before it. The following are examples of that: http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-christ-like-figures-who-pre-date-jesus/. This is just a site that popped up when I googled "religions before Christianity".

Not to mention - what about all of the other religions that still exist today? Two huge things they have in common: they are based on fear of the unknown and are vehicles to mass submission. A submissive human is a controllable human. Religion had it's time...back when so many were ignorant and didn't have the tools or knowledge to answer those unknown questions.

Laws and government have done a fine job of controlling the masses into submission. Science, technology and human advancement have and continue to do a fine job of answering questions about the unknown (the tornados that occurred in the old days were a result of the weather systems, not god). We don't NEED religion anymore. Except I guess for those who can't stand the thought of not knowing what happens to us when we die.

We certainly don't need it to learn how to be good. There are plenty of people out there that do a GREAT job at being good (as defined by today's society)...and they include atheists, Christain's and people of every other religious denomination. The same can be said about the "evil" ones out there - they come to us as atheists, CHristains and every other religious denomination as well. Good and evil has nothing to do with whether you believe in god or not. It has to do with each individuals life experience and interpersonal interactions and how they interpret and reconcile each of these moments.

It's for this reason I find it so pointless when theists and atheists alike list off names of people that were or are "evil" as if their belief or lack of belief in god was the SOLE reason for their actions. If that were the case, then all "groups" of people would be the same - and that is CLEARLY not the case. That's why I find it so laughable when theists bring up Hitler - to this day I haven't read the arguments about whether he was an atheist or theist because it DOESN'T MATTER - Hitler wasn't a mass murderer because he was a theist or an atheist. He did it because he was a power hungry, insecure man.

To say anyone killed or did evil in the name of atheism clearly misunderstands what an atheist is to begin with - it's not even a system of belief! I am not part of a group, I don't follow doctrines or obey rules from a book. We are all born atheist...we have to be taught how to be a theist.

You said it yourself in the above post:
V. Doesn’t everyone need to learn how to be a good person?

We are born curious and cautious...we have to be taught to have "faith" - we have to be taught to believe in something that we can't see.

I. It has everything to do with your accusations. To put it into perspective consider the following thought exercise: What if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a newborn possessed a defect such that he would inevitably become a mass murderer a serial rapist or some other kind of sadistic monster (like Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Vlad Dracula).

Would it be just to spare all the innocents of the suffering he would inevitably wreak upon them by ending his life?


II. You’re missing the point. As anyone with even a cursory prehension of Bible translation will tell you, the Bible was not written in English but in ancient Hebrew, Koine and Aramaic. They will also tell you that the Textus Receptus, the master text that served as the basis of the KJV, is an exceedingly poor translation of the ancient Bible texts.

Concordantly, the issue isn’t fickle doctrine but, rather, the level of competency and care taken in the translation of Bible texts, that’s all. The fact of the matter is, Erasmus did a lousy job.

If you’re interested in what the Bible actually says I suggest you employ a Bible edition whose text is a faithful translation of the original languages the Bible was transcribed in.


III. You’re confusing God’s mercy and extraordinary forbearance for indifference and acquiescence. Remember what He said at Ezekiel 33:11,13-16 and 18-20? Perhaps it would be in your best interest to heed His admonition.

IV. My apologies but I’m still not quite sure what you actually mean. Perhaps this will help me better understand your philosophy. If I may, can you please share with me what you understand from the following excerpt:

““Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment.” - Exodus 34:6,7


V. Are you contending, then, that Elizabeth Bathory, Talat Pasha, Josef Mengele, Reinhard Heydrich, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Kim Il Sung, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Emperor Hirohito, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, Tomas de Torquemada, Mao Zedong, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vlad Dracula were all evil babies? Or that they simply weren’t intelligent enough to know the unspeakable horrors they were committing were horribly, horribly wrong?


VI. You insinuated earlier that my beliefs were not based on reason and evidence and the historical references I shared with you clearly showed that, then and now, belief in God has always been based on evidence and reason. As such, it is the anti-theist’s world view that is based on credulity and a herd mentality instead of evidence. After all, when has anyone ever presented even a shred of evidence that God does not or cannot exist?


VII. I’m glad for I am here to serve :)


IX. A more correct and less caricatured portraiture of how I choose to live my life would be to say that I live it based on truth and wisdom. That this truth has been recorded in an ancient text is neither here nor there. After all, truth and wisdom don’t come with an expiration date now, do they? :)

X. You affirm that religion exists solely for the benighted masses? That it’s a weapon deftly employed to subdue? I wonder, then, what do you make of the following:

"A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God." - Francis Bacon

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

–Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

“If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”

–Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

–Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton.

Oh and, btw, did you know that, according to a recent Pew survey, 51% of scientists abjure Atheism? (http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx) What do you make of this fact?

XII. Does your "seeing is believing" philosophy mean you discount the existence of atoms, electromagnetic waves, molecules, amino acids, radiation, carbon monoxide and the wind?

I. Oh I see, so you're saying that god killed those babies because he knew they would grow up evil. Ahhhh, the justification of dictatorship rule...

This also makes the assumption that people are born evil. That is as much an outdated and unfounded claim as the existence of god.

II. I know the bible wasn't originally written in english. Why do you think I am so skeptical of it's validity - it's been translated and rewritten so many times it reminds me of the game telephone where by the time a sentence is passed around to 10 people, the whole meaning and wording of it has changed! It's hard for me to put complete and total trust into something like that. It's even less credible to me when you said that the KJB was a poor translation - how do I know any of the other ones are credible? If I were a betting girl I would guess that the current version will be discredited by the Christain community in another couple 100 years...because it won't fit the times.

So the KJB of the 1500's (which reflected the culture of the time: racism, misogyny and homophobia) has been cast aside for yet ANOTHER and more politically correct version - how many versions of the bible are we up to now???

III. You're again asking me to read words from a book, thoughts of men...of course the book is full of loving, wonderful words about god - you catch more bees with honey in today's society. The KJB of the 1500's knew how to catch it's bees in it's time: with mind-numbing fear.

IV. What I understand about the excerpt:

God has nothing but love for those who believe in him, the rest can "go to hell".

My understanding of this is further reinforced by 34.11: Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

So ya, he loves you if you follow him...to the rest of those pagan tribes - if you don't convert, you will die - whether it be me who does it or my followers. Sounds more and more like a cruel, self-serving dictatorship.

V. These people were not born evil. To be so dichotomous regarding good and evil is something that baffles my mind considering all of the social and psychological advancements that have been made regarding human behavior.

VI. Also not sure why you bring up anti-theists since that's a whole other mind-set that I'm not a part of. I'm an atheist who has yet to be convinced there is a god. Not sure how you call them credulous though - I suppose the really angry ones are - the ones who love to get into word wars and personal attacks.

One CAN'T produce evidence of something that does not exist. Nor is there a need to - I'm not interested in disproving god...and I'm sorry, but I have to say it...the burden of proof doesn't lie on me...you know that.

I know you say your proof is historical evidence but I mentioned before, historical evidence = man's thoughts/interpretations written on paper. Not to mention, as I stated in my previous post, just look at all of the religions pre-Christ: all of the famous stories can be found in these other religions. How can I accept the words as undisputed truth when they're not even original!

http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-christ-like-figures-who-pre-date-jesus/

I will ask again; What about all of the other religions that still exist today? What about their claims of THEIR strong historical evidence?

X. You keep bringing science into it. Atheism and science don't go hand in hand and I am not a scientific atheist. Again, you are making assumptions and trying to put atheism into a little box - a system of belief. Atheism is not the dichotomy of religion, it's completely independent of religion altogether.

For this reason your quotes mean nothing to me. They are words uttered by all different men with different agenda's and beliefs. I am not interested in the words of philosophers or "authorities" of a topic because they are ALL biased and self-interested.

XII. No, but those things don't tell me how to live or expect me to follow their rules. They don't ask me to conform to a belief system. If I thought that the existence of these things were detrimental to myself or society, perhaps I would look into it a little more...

My doubt, plain and simple, is due to the fact that religion is a method of conformity that I don't want to be a part of. I don't need to feel special, I don't need to know the meaning of life. We are just another species whose role is to contribute to the planet earth's needs. My legacy: to leave the planet earth having done everything I can to keep it healthy....sure gets harder every day.

I. Please clarify for me, are you against protecting the good from evil?

II. Were you aware that there are literally thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts - in their original languages - available today in museums the world over? As such, your claim of tampering or errata has no basis in fact.

III. Sociopathy, Psycopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorders are taught not engendered?

IV. You’re an agnostic atheist. I get it :)

V. Are you somehow insinuating that an unrestricted negative can't be proven?

But wouldn't that make your own claim an unrestricted negative?

Fatally, though, if there are no proofs of unrestricted negatives, then no one can prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative. And if no one can prove that no one can prove an unrestricted negative, then it must be logically possible to prove an unrestricted negative.

So the claim that no one can prove a universal negative is self-refuting - if it's true, it's false.

VI. You misapprehend. You see, all the historical evidence for the existence of God is but part of a larger whole. Taken in and of itself it may not be sufficiently compelling, I agree. However, taken in it’s totality, the only plausible, logical and reasonable conclusion is “God exists and He created us”.

VII. Earlier, you made the outlandish claim that religion was only for the unenlightened and that it existed solely as a means to subjugate the masses. The fact that so many bright, well respected scientists of the past and present are theists throws down your allegation. It too has no basis in fact.

As such, it is very reasonable to recognize and worship our Creator. Why don’t you?

VIII. Forgive me for asking, however, are you an anarchist?

Before I delve into what you wrote....you still haven't given me any information / your views on the following:

I know you say your proof is historical evidence but I mentioned before, historical evidence = man's thoughts/interpretations written on paper. Not to mention, as I stated in my previous post, just look at all of the religions pre-Christ: all of the famous stories can be found in these other religions. How can I accept the words as undisputed truth when they're not even original!

http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-christ-like-figures-who-pre-date-jesus/

I will ask again; What about all of the other religions that still exist today? What about their claims of THEIR strong historical evidence?

@Renegade

My apologies. Their historical evidence only goes to confirming the existence of their leaders. It is silent, however, as regards their supposed divinity. After all is said and done, these others were just charismatic leaders who created a following such as Ellena G. White, Joseph Smith and Jim Jones.

Does this address your question ?

Whoops. Just realized I copied and pasted WAY more than I intended to. To put it simply I want to know:

How do you explain pre-christ religions and how many of their stories are the same as the stories in the bible?

http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-christ-like-figures-who-pre-date-jesus/

The same way I explain the fact that hundreds of ancient flood legend coincide with the biblical Noachian Flood:

"These folklore accounts of the Deluge agree with some major features of the Biblical account: (1) a place of refuge for a few survivors, (2) an otherwise global destruction of life by water, and (3) a seed of mankind preserved. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Druids of Britain, the Polynesians, the Eskimos and Greenlanders, the Africans, the Hindus, and the American Indians—all of these have their Flood stories. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Vol. 2, p. 319) states: “Flood stories have been discovered among nearly all nations and tribes. Though most common on the Asian mainland and the islands immediately south of it and on the North American continent, they have been found on all the continents. Totals of the number of stories known run as high as about 270 . . . The universality of the flood accounts is usually taken as evidence for the universal destruction of humanity by a flood and the spread of the human race from one locale and even from one family. Though the traditions may not all refer to the same flood, apparently the vast majority do. The assertion that many of these flood stories came from contacts with missionaries will not stand up because most of them were gathered by anthropologists not interested in vindicating the Bible, and they are filled with fanciful and pagan elements evidently the result of transmission for extended periods of time in a pagan society. Moreover, some of the ancient accounts were written by people very much in opposition to the Hebrew-Christian tradition.”—Edited by G. Bromiley, 1982.

In times past, certain primitive people (in Australia, Egypt, Fiji, Society Islands, Peru, Mexico, and other places) preserved a possible remnant of these traditions about the Flood by observing in November a ‘Feast of Ancestors’ or a ‘Festival of the Dead.’ Such customs reflected a memory of the destruction caused by the Deluge. According to the book Life and Work at the Great Pyramid, the festival in Mexico was held on the 17th of November because they “had a tradition that at that time the world had been previously destroyed; and they dreaded lest a similar catastrophe would, at the end of a cycle, annihilate the human race.” (By Professor C. Piazzi Smyth, Edinburgh, 1867, Vol. II, pp. 390, 391) Notes the book The Worship of the Dead: “This festival [of the dead] is . . . held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month—the month nearly corresponding with our November.” (By J. Garnier, London, 1904, p. 4) Interestingly, the Bible reports that the Flood began “in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month.” (Ge 7:11) That “second month” corresponds to the latter part of October and the first part of November on our calendar." http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2002160

This is significant because biblical messianic prophecies predate the appearance of all these other Christ-like figures. In essence, just as all the ancient flood legends are a derivative of the historical Noachian Flood, so are all Christ-like mythos derived from biblical messianic prophecies: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003018#h=18:0-60:0

*Sigh* I was hoping to hear your words for a change.

And you copied and pasted the words of a person from a Jehovah's Witness website to boot!

Also, you didn't really answer my question.

You cited: "This is significant because biblical messianic prophecies predate the appearance of all these other Christ-like figures".

All I read was stuff about floods.......nothing about the doppelganger characteristics.

All of the other gods listed on the site I referenced all "existed" BC. How could these religions have gone forward in time and stole/borrowed references from the bible??

Like the following religions whose gods had many characteristics of Christ:

1. Horus - 2700 BC(ish)
2 Buddha - 563 BC
3. Krishna - 3228 BC
4. Odysseus - 1190 BC
5. Zoroaster - 1200 BC(ish)

To name a few....

Are you suggesting that these religions somehow all conspired one day to alter their doctrine to match Christianity? That each of these religions, on their own without conspiring together, came up with the same idea to plagiarize Christianity?

Christianity is no different than it's religious predecessors - it came up with stories and rules to keep the masses in order.

The only difference that I can glean is that Christianity was just way more successful at growing and spreading (and we all know how it did that back in the early days).

Oh, maybe one other difference: these other religions were not thinking "world domination", something that seems to be the goal of some of our religions, like Christianity and Islam.

It makes no sense to me to put my faith into a book that isn't even original (not to mention, again, written by biased/flawed human beings) - not when it's telling me how to live my whole life.

Please see my reply in the latest story comment thread.

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