Monday, September 22, 2014

99 problems, but Jesus ain't one

Billy Graham always tells people to turn their lives over to Jesus, and this week he finally gets called out on it.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You always tell people to give their lives to Jesus, but what good will that do? I have a lot of problems, but just believing in Jesus isn’t going to make them go away. — A.M.
AM is correct, it doesn't seem that Jesus really seems to make problems just disappear.
DEAR A.M.: You don’t list what your problems are, but I can’t help but wonder how many of them would be on that list if you’d given your life to Jesus. For example, if you’d been following him, he would’ve kept you from making bad decisions and would have given you the wisdom to make right ones.
Bad decisions like priests raping little boys? Jesus didn't seem to help there. Jesus also doesn't seem to help those that need it most since the most impoverished areas tend to have higher rates of belief than those that are better well off.
You ask what good it does to believe in Jesus, but what good does it do to not believe in Jesus?
If you ignore him, it means you have no real purpose in life except to live for yourself. And if you ignore him, you have no hope of life beyond the grave.
Nice rewording of Pascal's Wager...  Surely Billy also advocates belief in Odin then, for denial of him may keep one out of Valhalla. Pascal's Wager is a horrible argument with several flaws. For Billy's sake, I hope he has better than that.
But it doesn’t need to be this way! From one end of the Bible to the other, God constantly tells us, “I love you.”
Yep, nothing says love like killing everything on Earth, commanding genocides, creating evil, condoning slavery, and deciding that all are deserving of eternal torture by default.
He loves us so much that he sent his son into the world to give his life for our salvation. Jesus, the Bible says, “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5).
How is needlessly sending your own son to death loving? 
Will all your problems vanish if you give your life to Christ? No, not necessarily.
At least Billy got that part right. Actually, your problems probably won't change much at all.
But you’ll no longer be alone, and he will give you wisdom and courage to face your problems. Don’t let bitterness, or pride or anything else keep you from Christ, but ask him to come into your life today.
Who's saying non-Christian's are alone? Billy is advocating reliance on an invisible deity that no one can even show to actually exist. A deity that is supposed to grant wisdom an courage, yet has his believers as the healthy majority amongst US prison inmates. Sorry, but belief in Christ doesn't seem to have the positive trans-formative power that Billy claims it does.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Three mistakes atheists make?

The Huffington Post featured a story called The 'Three Mistakes Atheists Make'. In it, Rabbi Eric Yoffie offers three things he claims are mistakes that we atheists make. Lets just test his claim shall we...

1. They dismiss, often with contempt, the religious experience of other people.
It is fine to use critical thinking and unalloyed reason to argue against God. Such arguments are legitimate, but they tell us nothing about the way that much of humankind experiences God, either in the course of regular religious observance or as an exceptional occurrence.
The God helmet, bringing you religious experiences with the
turn of a dial and science.
According to Professor Kitcher, research demonstrates that what people refer to as religious experience is either a psychiatric matter or a general feeling of uplift that is then related by the person involved to a religiously entrenched myth. What it is not, Kitcher affirms, is an encounter with the divine. Yet on what possible basis can he make such a claim? The professor has obviously never had a religious experience; but given that 85 percent of people on earth identify with a religious tradition and most believe in God, there is something both sad and arrogant about non-believers asserting with certainty that no one else is capable of a God encounter rooted in transcendence and holiness.
There's a few problems here... Yoffie claims that Kitcher must not have ever had a 'religious experience'. But the fact that he doesn't believe doesn't mean that to automatically be the case. Most atheists were previously believers. Many have had these experiences only to realize later on what they really were.

Why does it matter if 85% of people claim to have had such an experience. In that 85%, there are believers of several different religions. Given that most are contradictory to one another, these can't all be genuine God experiences. Is it really so unreasonable to ask for some sort of proof to show if one religion's experiences are more valid than another?

And how does Yoffie think we are arrogant? I'm not saying that these experiences can't be real. All I'm asking for is evidence to support the claim. I'm open to being wrong. If I'm wrong I want to know. That's the very opposite of arrogance. All I want is to believe what I know to be true, or likely true. If we took every persons personal experiences at face value, we would still be no closer to an answer to the God question since there are so many conflicting beliefs in the world.

2. They assert that since there are no valid religions but that religions do good things, the task of smart people is to create a religion without God -- or, in other words, a religion without religion.
His argument is that since religion does a good job in promoting values, it should not be abandoned; instead, it should be "refined," eliminating fundamentalist doctrines and transcendent facets of reality. What will remain is "soft atheism," a system of advancing enduring values without the need for a belief in God, redemptive elements, or any of the mysteries that religion promotes.
A religion without religion... That doesn't even make any sense! Yes, some religious people do good things. But I think that Yoffie is missing the point. Many an atheist will tell you that you don't need religion to help people and be charitable. That the good things that come from religion can easily be found elsewhere. You don't need a god to do good, but that doesn't mean building a non-religious group to do the same good. Atheist groups can do charity, and so do individual non-believers. What's important here is doing good, and doing it for the right reasons. In my opinion, doing good in the name of good is superior to doing good just because you think you're being watched. But at the end of the day, I'll take good deeds from any direction, so long as some harm is not also part of the package.

3. They see the world of belief in black and white, either/or terms.

Kitcher is struck by the incredible diversity of religious doctrines. A reasonable person, he suggests, would recognize that there is no way to distinguish doctrines that are true from those that are misguided. His conclusion is that religious doctrines have become "incredible," and must be rejected in their entirety.
If there are 10,000 contrary religious doctrines, it does not follow that they all are false.
Kitcher seems to have gone a step too far, but that doesn't void the ultimate question of proof. If you have 10,000 contrary religions, I'm not going to simply dismiss them all, nor believe them all. What I will do is assume that most or all of them are likely false until proof can be shown in their favor. I won't pick a team without a thorough examination, and thus withhold final judgement. If I think a religion is false, isn't because it has not met the burden of proof. That said, I'm always ready and waiting to change my mind. Just show me my error and the evidence.
Kitcher, either you are a believer or you are not, and given the abundance of conflicting traditions, it is non-belief that makes the most sense. When it comes to religious doctrine, Kitcher, like others in the atheist camp, sees the world in terms of dichotomies: You are a theist or a non-theist, a religious person or a non-religious person.
Considering that non-belief is the default position, and religion has not met the burden of proof, then yes, non-belief is the most logical position. Also, there is nothing divisive about saying that you are either a believer of you aren't. This is simply the truth of reality since they are the only two options. A light bulb is either on or off. Is it being divisive as well?

And what does Yoffie think of believers separating people as saved and not saved? Is this yet more division?

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Town that time forgot

It seems that there is a group in Front Royal, VA seems determined to drag the town back a few centuries...

A group called 'Local Catholics of Front Royal' have a local bakery in their cross-hairs. Naughty Girls Donut Shop is a bakery that is in the theme of 1940's pin-up girls and rockabilly. And this enterprise is actually run and owned by 16 year old Tiana Ramos... Yeah, you read that right, she's 16!

So what do they have against something as amazing as a 16 year old running their own business? They think that the name, logo and decor just aren't vanilla enough it would seem. LCoFR say Naughty Girls promotes promiscuous behavior... somehow. They claim that the girls uniforms make them all look like hussies. Sorry, but they are dressed in rockabilly-style clothing. Perhaps that could have been considered risque in the 1950's, but this is 2014 for crying out loud. I see people dressed far more revealingly just about every day.

To fight this terrible scourge facing their town, Catholic group stuck way in the past has done the wonderful things listed below...

•Threw trash at the front door.
•Yelled 'Naughty girls burn in Hell'.
•Posted many negative reviews on Yelp that had nothing to do with the food of service.
•Also harassed the shops twitter and facebook pages.
•Claim that everyone that works there is a slut. 
•Sent out a letter calling for local businesses to boycott the shop.

How very Christian of them... Also, most of these conservative groups yell about protecting job creators. So why are they trying to run one out of town? I can tell you, if this girl has a successful business at 16, she's only going to be creating more and more jobs.

As much as this Paleolithic Catholic group wishes to demonize Tiana, the facts speak much better of her. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America, she gave $28,000 to help local businesses, $2,000 to give away school backpacks, and $1,000 to local churches. Tiana says that they aren't going anywhere. They are there to give kids a place to go that isn't still in the silent film era. And the cool part is that their website will soon take orders, so you may be able to support her that way. If I'm ever in the area, I know I'll be stopping by.

How does this look scream dirty slut,
because I'm just not seeing it...
But this isn't the first time dinosaur Catholics of Front Royal raised a fuss. Just last month a shop in Front Royal that is owned by a self described Pagan priestess and gave tarot card readings was their last target. Primordial Catholics referenced a 1920's law that banned the 'magical arts' in Front Royal. An odd complaint when the Catholic church says that the communion wafers and wine literally turn into the body and blood of Christ. That sounds like magic to me. Not to mention they worship the 1st century equivalent of David Copperfield.

They claimed that they opposed the shop out of fear of Satanism. Apparently they are too ignorant to understand that Paganism is not Satanism. They were also citing concern that 'these types' of shops attract a criminal element. Really? Kind of like the criminal element of old white dudes raping little boys? That sounds like a lot bigger deal than a nonsense card reading to me. But the shop windows were vandalized with spray paint anyway. Luckily reason prevailed, and the town voted to overturn the ban on magical nonsense.

Ah, and I did mention the Catholic sex abuse problem didn't I? Well proto-Earth Catholics also tried to target a local paper under allegations that they published anti-Catholic articles. What they did was publish articled covering the Catholic child sex abuse controversy. Sorry, but covering something that actually happened is not anti-Catholic. If you don't want people writing about priests raping kids, your priests should really consider not raping kids...

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to persuade an atheist

WikiHow has a lot of different how to lists on their site. But when I saw one titled 'How to persuade an atheist to become a Christian', you know it caught me eye. But it also left me wondering what advice it contained. So lets take a look.
First, they don't have your concept of salvation, as "to be saved from The Law of Sin and Death", or that "all have sinned and deserve judgment".
Actually, we usually do have a good understanding. We just don't believe it. Most atheists were once
Christians, or have been surrounded by Christianity our whole lives. The idea that we don't have the same concept of salvation, reduces to the claim that we don't believe simply because we don't know about salvation. The problem isn't that I don't know about salvation, it's that I've not seen the slightest evidence that the claim of salvation is in any way true.
You might get confronted with well-formulated factual arguments. Many atheists who are interested in Christianity will be able to explain Evolution, the Big Bang or other scientific theories in their stories and opinions. They might refer to certain scientific evidence and people to support these theories. Before starting a discussion, you must expect that they have a non-religious orthodoxy with their evidence aligned in their favor, as they see it, regarding origins from the vacuum of space, universe and life from a black hole, from nothing but (mindless) energy changing to matter by no plan, yet results so astonishing, with no design
True, most atheists do know their science. Something that the author of this how to doesn't know if they think  'universe and life from a black hole' has anything to do with the Big Bang... Also, the results we see are not quite so astonishing without design if you actually know the science at play.
Understand that the Bible presents "infallible" logic in Genesis 1, by presenting creation in several phases, clearly, understandable as simple to complex! Science has not added so very much to the ancient understandings in the Biblical revelation of simple to complex creation, except science is struggling for a cause of this creation.
Huh... How is the Bible infallible and how has science added little when science has shown that Biblical creation is just plain incorrect. Six days is nowhere near enough time, no Big Bang, light created before light sources, many parts of creation made in very much the wrong order (land plants before sea life, plants before Sun). Not to mention that the order of creation in Genesis 2 also seams to contradict the order in Genesis 1.
Verify that the Bible is scientifically correct every time it mentions science, even though it isn't a science text. In perspective, 3000 years ago, before Greek geometry or Arabic algebra, the writer of the oldest Bible texts said correctly, before science existed, that the universe was dark and void "in the beginning" (Genesis 1). The Bible prophet Isaiah stated that the Earth was round 2500 years before Columbus sailed westward, for the East Indies, speaking of "the circle of the Earth"
Actually, the Bible gets it's science wrong quite a bit...

•It says that bats are birds.
•Calls a whale a fish.
•It makes a mess of creation.
•It says that stars are small lights in the sky that can fall to the ground rather than that massive spheres of plasma light-years away that they are.
•It talks about insects having four legs rather than six.
•Claims Pi = 3.
•There is no firmament.
•There was no global flood.

Those are but a few examples, but the Bible is hardly a guide for science. Maybe you can find a few vague statements that can be made to fit, but that doesn't make it a reliable science text by any stretch. And so what if the Bible refers to the 'circle of the Earth' in the poetic way that is does? Circle does not necessarily mean sphere after-all. But it wouldn't really matter if that was what they meant. The possibility of a spherical earth dates back to the 4th century BCE. In the 2nd century BCE Eratosthenes ran an experiment where he not only showed the Earth to be round, but calculated a pretty accurate measurement of the Earths circumference as well. But the Bible wasn't compiled as we know it today until about 382CE. But why an I sitting here expecting the author of this list to know any history if they still believe the old myth that Columbus was setting sail to prove the Earth was round...
Be prepared to have a genuine conversation with them. Show interest in what they are saying. If you are going to convince him or her of anything one-on-one, you have to first take a genuine interest in that person's point of view. If you find yourself pushing to talk much more than patiently listening, this is probably not the case. Keep in mind that it should not be harsh argument, not a lecture on Christianity, nor going directly at them (not a war).
I can get behind this one, even if I've met plenty of Christians that don't follow this example.
Be knowledgeable about Christianity. If you are a Christian and you believe that the Bible is the direct word of God, then have you read most of it and the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? If not, you may find the person you are trying to convert is better versed in the Bible than you. Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They may have hardened their beliefs more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society.
 Yes, while Christians might have read some of the Bible most atheists have read more. I've read all of it in fact. Studies have also shown that atheists actually tend to know religion more than the religious actually do. So believers should be prepared to learn something if they plan to try and convert an atheist.

But what the hell does that last sentence mean?  'Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They may have hardened their beliefs more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society.' Why the distinction between religious and Christian? Also, atheists don't tend to 'harden' their beliefs. We simply ask for proof, and it has yet to be given. Meanwhile, I find that believers tend to be more 'hardened' in their beliefs when they tell me there is no chance they could be wrong or that nothing could ever make them change their mind.
Familiarize yourself with some atheist arguments. If you're going to present an argument for your beliefs, research how Christians answer what atheists have said about your arguments in the past. This will help meet the interest in the other person's thoughts and time. You might see some atheist opinion, and hardened views online.
They aren't hardened views! We just want proof, or at the very least a logical explanation.  While the idea of looking up atheist arguments is a good idea, I don't see how looking up Christian answers to those arguments will help any since they are always lacking the evidence and logic we require.
Have an open discussion. Be open and honest at all times. You could end up doing irreparable damage to your friendship if you let emotions underneath the conversation direct the conversation. It should always be civil, positive and cordial. Never cut them off, accuse them of lying or say malicious things to make a point.
 Sounds good to me.
Establish a common language. You will not convince an atheist that your belief has merit, if you use assumptions that the atheist does not agree are valid. You have to establish a common definition for terms and try to play with semantics to gloss over a point. When you have a discussion, it is best to speak the same language. This means that you will have to back up and use secular reasoning to establish your theological ideas.
Another decent point. You have no idea how many times I've talked with a believer that didn't understand the scientific meaning of 'theory' or assumed that it was fine to expect me to agree that unsubstantiated Biblical concepts should simply be accepted without any proof (threatening Hell or sin are pointless if you can't actually show they exist).
Ask why your friend is Atheist. Has your friend always felt that there is no (caring) creator? Has something happened to cause this person pain in life, or feel that religious leaders are hypocritical? Or does he or she simply choose to base a belief system on scientific proof? Whatever the reason is, you need to get to the core of your friend's beliefs.
Fair enough, even if the majority of the reasons they give are not ones that typically lead to atheism. The most common would be closer to the science reason they gave. We want proof, or have seen no reason to believe in God. Others may simply say that religion just doesn't make any logical sense.
 Quoting the Bible at every possible opportunity isn't counterproductive and saying "I thank God for [something]" is fine. Remember, an atheist does not agree, by default, that the Bible is a valid source of information. You will have to establish that, first.
Quoting the Bible left and right can be annoying depending on the tone. But they are right, I have no reason to believe the Bible until it is shown to be factually true about it's chief message. But this is something that has never been done...
Explain why Christianity helps people to live better lives. It may also be useful to tell your friend about people you've met at church. When listing their good qualities, include that they are "religious, devout, etc. Their religious fervor is going to impress an atheist.
Too bad that religion has also led people to do terrible things or lead lesser lives as well.While the believer wants to focus on the good points, that's only half the story. Also, the good of religion can easily be had with many different religions or no religion at all.
Create reasons for your faith that have everything to do with personal experience. An atheist may want definite evidence, not just a rehearsal of your faith. You'll have to provide concrete facts and scientifically thought out arguments. Your beliefs based on faith, God's love and joy of worship (all immaterial things) are not evidence to the unbeliever. In fact, a reliance on faith is evidence that you aren't relying on facts. However, this will work in your favor as faith is, by its nature, non-corporeal (not material matters).
What a waste of time. How is reliance on testimony that can't be backed up or verified an efficient use of anyone's time. If you rely on personal experience, all you will be doing is showing the atheist that you have no factual basis for your belief.
Use logic and research to your advantage.
Good luck with that! I'd love to see how a Christian can use logic to prove an illogical premise or research to prove events that were never recorded in history...
Realize that scientific theories are not evidence whether God exists or not.
Ah, but science has disproven certain 'acts of God', which brings the reliability of the Bible  very much into question.
Not listening to their views on science may cause an atheist to shut down to anything else you might say.
True, if the believer is just going to ignore everything I say, what's the point of continuing the conversation?
Be prepared to use reliable counter evidence. Their evidence is from respected scientists who portray their results in ways specifically conceived to disprove the existence of God, so use research from Christian "scientists" to rebut their arguments.
This is a joke, right? We don't sift through evidence that confirms what we already believe... that's what Christians do (though 'evidence' takes on a much more loose definition at that point). We follow that evidence where it leads. We have a question and see what the evidence tells us and then form an opinion. But this list would suggest that we start with the opinion and then plug in evidence that we like and then discard the rest. If this claim was true, then the whole fact that we say that evidence will change our mind wouldn't make any sense. So they are either failing to understand what is going on here or are openly calling us liars.

But on the Christian 'scientist' bit... Don't, just don't. Citing someone that hides behind a title while offering up bad science or unsubstantiated claims will not help your argument any. Actually, it may shatter any facade of credibility that he believer has left.
If you don't know the answer to something, simply say that God is responsible for it. "I don't know" is many more times preferable than crediting the creator.
Which is it? 'God did it' and 'I don't know' are two very different answers. The former is no more than an argument from ignorance, while the latter is honest and accurate.
Give practical advice from the Holy Book, such as from the book of Proverbs. Keep in mind that this may not be effective since arguing from the Bible expects him or her to acknowledge it. Don't forget to point out the Scripture itself; that way, he or she will know that it's not your own thinking.
What about the ridiculous advice and commands in the Bible? You can't just pick and choose what
you like and forget the rest. Sure, telling me to love my neighbor is all well and good, but that doesn't get rid of God ordering that a rape victim must marry their rapist. And as the author said, the atheist likely doesn't accept the Bible as true. So what is the point of this? Did I miss the bullet point that proves that the Bible is true?
Go slowly. Do not rush your friend until he is completely comfortable, accepts your inputs, and thinks of you as a "real friend" who happens to be religious.
That sounds nice enough, as long as you really are just that. But if the believer is just trying to weasel their way in just for the purpose of this conversion attempt, than that is just contemptible, dishonest and deceptive.
Let your friend try to convert you. He or she is likely curious about your beliefs, especially if they were raised as Christians. And if this person feels comfortable with you, this will lead to questioning and challenging you. Like a curious child, do you argue? Are you angry? Why? The less defensive you are, the more reasonable you seem. If you're having fun, the other person will, too. Just don't give in. After their arguments about any advantages of being atheist, say that their arguments are perfectly good points, but not enough to convert you to atheism.
Wow... So much for any possibility there was sincerity in the author's actions! They compare an atheist asking questions to a curious child. Talk about condescending. Then they suggest faking interest and to not give in to the atheist arguments no matter what. What if the arguments are convincing? What if they show that the Christian's claims are incorrect? If the goal here isn't convincing someone honestly toward the truth, than there are no good intentions involved. This list becomes instructions for a deceptive and dishonest recruitment drive and nothing more.
Invite the atheist to your place of worship. You shouldn't outright ask them to attend Sunday church, but a church-funded charity or meeting would be a more neutral place. If you invite an atheist to a religious function, tell him or her that it is a religious function. Don't try to trick someone into attending by pretending that it is not. Do this every so often and introduce your friend to other people who attend your church. Make him or her comfortable with the individuals who make up the church and religion.
When I was a believer I attended church plenty. And since I lost faith, I've been invited to church as well. Sometimes I accept, other times I decline. The closeness of the relationship and details of the function are the factors that I use to decide whether to attend or not. But what is the point of this exercise? Most atheist have been to church. Attending a service has never shaken my non-belief any, so this just seems futile.
Wait. See if this person develops any interest in attending your place of worship.
Um... Unless they are attending out of friendly courtesy because they think this fake friendship is real, they likely won't. But there's another thing to consider. Attending service does not mean they are a believer. There are atheists that are married to Christians who attend service as a family, yet retain their lack of belief.
Be persistent. Display patience and forgiveness when presented with new perspectives of beliefs. However, be understanding that your world view may not be foreign to an atheist.
So, basically pester them then? What could go wrong?
Even if your friend feels uncomfortable with it, pray to the Father in Jesus' name or pray to Jesus aloud. As your friend listens (or just allows you to pray), pray that God will bless your friend and draw closer. Remember, it is God's work to draw people in as they learn the Gospel, the Holy Spirit who cleanses them -- and Jesus who saves by grace, through faith, not of yourself, not by working, so no one may boast; it is the gift of God... as you are created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared for us to do..
Oh, and don't forget to be annoying about it! Look, I don't care if people pray for me. I don't care if they pray at all. But this sounds like it's just getting desperate. Additionally, if God draws people in as they learn the gospel, why is it that atheists tend to know it better that Christians and still don't
Don't try to prove the unprovable. A lot of atheistic arguments seem to be about creation and evolution, involving theories which nobody can prove because people were not around at the time to witness these things.
And the Christian  wasn't there when God supposedly created the universe or when Jesus supposedly rose from the dead. Here's the thing... You can prove that something happened without having to be present. The way you do that is through evidence. If you have the right evidence and enough of it, you can prove that something happened in the past. Evolution and the Big Bang have that evidence. The claims of Christianity do not.
Focus instead on what is known. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence about Jesus Christ:
Focus on what is known? Great idea! But evidence about Jesus? They do know that there isn't any, right?
From eyewitnesses who knew him (see the New Testament for these)
That's not evidence. The Bible makes the claim, it can't be used as the proof as well. The Bible no more proves Jesus than the comics prove the amazing Spider-Man.
From prophecies made hundreds of years before Christ about his life, ministry and death which are detailed throughout the Old Testament
A few problems here...

•Again, you can't use the Bible to prove the Bible.
•A book fulfilling the prophesies of the previous book isn't impressive at all. Ever hear of a sequel?
•The prophesies are vague.
•When the Christian Bible was put together they changed the order of the Jewish books to make them look more like they where pointing to Christ when they originally weren't.
From archaeology
There is no archeological evidence for Jesus though. They mention the Dead Sea scrolls. But they at best offer vague prophesy. They also claim the existence of non-Christian writing about Jesus during his lifetime. I googled for this supposed evidence as they suggested, but the results remained the same. There simply isn't contemporaneous evidence for Jesus' existence. And even if there was, it wouldn't necessarily prove he was the son of God.
There is no Roman historical document denying that the Romans had crucified Jesus
Well fancy that! There also is no Roman historical document denying that they had crucified Elvis Presley either. At least we know what really happened to him, right!
From your own experience or the experiences of people you know well
Sorry, but that's not evidence. For every Christian that makes these claims, there is a Muslim, Hindu, or Native American making an identical claim.
Explain how all these things bear witness of His reality and His mission as our Saviour. Research these things well, underlining pertinent verses in your scriptures so you can refer to them again, and writing down details and sources of the other evidences you find so that you can remind yourself of them and share copies of what you have written down with others. There is so much evidence that you will need to write it down rather than rely on just your memory!
And these are likely the things that science actually explains much better if I am to rely on what Christians tend to rely on with regard to this type of evidence. It all boils down to God of the gaps
and argument from ignorance.
Use examples of other people who were atheists or who needed proof about Christianity
So the Christian should find it compelling when I share stories of  Christians that became atheists then?
If you live in a particularly Christian country, then you are almost certainly not the first Christian to try to convert any atheist you meet. Most attempts before you were likely pushy and/or formulaic.
What part of following a deceptive to do list that tells you to be persistent isn't formulaic or pushy?
Some atheists are atheists because of their (many times justified) perception that Christians are hypocritical or evil.
Actually, very few atheist are atheists solely for such reasons.
In 1 John 1:5, it says, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all". We know that darkness is the absence of light. Light often represents understanding, and darkness is lack of it. Light also is and transmits energy. God is all and in all, including in knowledge and energy, as well as any existential reality.
And Lucifer means 'light bearer'. So Does Satan bring about God, or are they one and the same?
One way to encourage someone to believe in God is to spend a lot of time in nature and appreciate the beauty of it. For example, go outside in night and see the stars and moon. It's hard to see such a majestic sight and not think who/what was the cause and made it all.
Unless you actually understand nature and science. Additionally, in my experience, atheists tend to appreciate and enjoy nature more than believers. Also, understanding this science can enhance your awe and appreciation of nature. I know that I love nature more than when I believed. Also, there's the fact that atheists are more likely to be conservationists than Christians are.
Never trick someone. Never lie.
Then why does this list suggest pretending to listen and pretending to be a good friend?
Do not assume that your friend actually believes in God. You have probably been told that atheists are angry at God or do not believe in him because they are disgusted by the things that are done in His name. Atheists are people who have concluded that Gods do not exist.
Almost! Not all atheists are totally convinced there is no God. Actually, most aren't. Atheism is more accurately described as a lack of belief in God, rather than active denial.
Avoid books written by atheists. They are biased against God, but instead try simply to present factual accounts.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to accidentally deconvert yourself or anything... Wait, they say that atheist books are biased against God, and instead present factual accounts. That would mean that the facts are also 'biased' against God. Sorry but if the facts are against you, you don't have much hope of converting an atheist.

Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Better than God

I happened across a video on YouTube by Wayne Philmore where he issues a challenge to atheists and non-Christians. It's odd that he says it's for everyone but Christians, yet mentions different sects of Christianity when he lists who his challenge is for.

Bow down to the intellectual prowess of
Wayne Philmore...
Because a commenter mentioned that they are morally superior to God he is challenging us to live 30 days by the standards of the Bible and God. And he says that if we are able to live 30 days by those standards we will prove that we are better than God. Huh? If we were to live exactly by God's standards, wouldn't we only be equal to God in that manner?

But here's the problem... His challenge doesn't even make any sense because the God of the Bible is a
terrible example for morals. I'd wager that most people in the world are morally superior to the god in the pages of the Bible. So if one is morally superior to God, how does agreeing to live by his low standards prove that you are better?

Actually, there's no need to take Wayne's challenge to prove that I am morally superior to his god. He mentions that you can't lie for those 30 days. Why not? God lied in the Bible, so that should be on the table. The Bible talks of handing over daughters to be raped as a perfectly fine thing, so why the hangup on sex?

The god of the Bible murdered nearly everyone on Earth and commanded genocides. I've killed no one, so I'd say that I'm far more moral in that regard. I would never consider torturing someone for all eternity simply because they didn't believe in me or worship me. I don't consider homosexuals to be sub-human. I wouldn't command that a rape victim marry their rapist. I can stand up tall and say that slavery is wrong, yet God condones it.

Following God's morals would mean needing to send a pack of bears to kill kids that made fun of someone for being bald. It would mean stoning children to death for being disobedient. It would mean killing anyone who has to work on a Sunday. It would mean that stealing a candy bar is no heavier a crime than triple homicide. Following God's lead would mean rewarding a serial killer with Heaven just because they believed, while burning a poor tribesman forever in Hell just because he never even hear of Christ.

The fact that I have never flooded the world and find the idea horrifying proves by itself that I am
morally superior to Wayne's god. So does the fact that I don't think people should own other people, and numerous other horrors that are in the Bible that I do not follow. Unlike the Christian god, I did not purposely create evil and then step back and refuse to do anything to abate suffering. I've never killed people just to win a bet. Unlike God, I can forgive people without first getting something in return.

Instead of demanding worship and dooming all to torture if they don't kiss my son's ass, I treat people with the kindness and respect that their actions and words show that they deserve. And even then, I often treat many people better than they actually deserve. As I see it I, and probably most everyone reading this, are morally superior to God. And It's not because we are so amazingly perfect, (though some will be more-so than others) but because God is such an incredibly poor standard to begin with.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Why feel guilt?

A believer thinks he is saved by Christ but still feels guilty about his sins so he asks Billy Graham about it. And boy does Billy give a terrible answer this week...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I believe Jesus has forgiven me, but I still feel guilty. I haven’t committed any crimes or done anything seriously wrong, but I still feel burdened by this nagging feeling that I don’t measure up. What’s wrong? — M.M.
Guilt can be a good thing. I feel that the fact that MM feels guilty about that wrongs he's committed shows that he's human, but also that he has a conscience.
DEAR M.M.: Let me ask you a question: What has God done with your sins? Does he still hold them against you? Does he still look on you as a guilty, sinful person?

I suspect you know the answer (at least in your mind, if not in your emotions). The answer is simple: God has forgiven all your sins, if you have truly come to Christ and trusted him alone for your salvation.
So? He already said that he believes that Jesus has saved him. What's the point in reiterating that?
Look at that sentence again; God has forgiven all your sins, not just some of them!
To put it another way, when Christ died on the cross, all your sins were placed on him, and he took upon himself the judgment that you deserved. The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

Why, then, do we still feel guilty? One reason may be because we still cling to a particular sin, and we need to repent of it and seek God’s forgiveness and help.
What!? Maybe it's because he still did the thing that Jesus supposedly forgave him for. Something that probably hurt another to at least some degree. MM seems to be a moral person with a working conscience. Is Billy seriously suggesting that there's no need to feel bad about your wrongs if Jesus has forgiven you? If so, that's monstrous!
Or some people feel guilty because as children they were told they didn’t measure up to their parents’ expectations, and they have a hard time overcoming those feelings of failure.

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You mean like a God that Billy Graham says weekly will only accept perfection? A god that says that all are born dirty, broken and deserving of eternal hellfire. Someone like that?
But often we feel guilty simply because we refuse to believe what Christ has already done for us.
 Seriously? He's going to come right out and blame the 'victim'?
But if God has forgiven us, why should we still feel guilty? Fill your mind and heart with God’s promises of forgiveness. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Yup, it turns out that Billy was saying there is no reason to feel guilt about past wrongs if you are saved by Christ. How monstrous and immoral! You still hurt people, you still did wrong, yet Billy wants you to simply discard your conscience. Did you run a school bus full of kids into a ravine? No worries! Jesus forgives you, so why feel bad for those suffering families and all the tender young lives you cut short? How horrible of a person would you have to be in order to say that is something you shouldn't feel guilty about? That sounds like the behavior of a deranged sociopath to me!

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, September 12, 2014

As the world turns?

I had a believer tell me the other day about a story where a NASA scientist found that there was a missing day in all their models and that a believer of the staff declared that the missing day was from when God made the Sun stop in the sky in the book of Joshua. It was then claimed that science had proven this Bible story true. As you can guess, a brief look online found that the entire missing day story was a fabrication.

But the part that believers take this story literally always seem to miss, is that the 'Sun stopping in the sky' would actually be devastating. This is because the Sun doesn't actually stop, but the Earth. Earth spins at 1,674 km/hr (1,040 mph). The problem is that if the Earth were to stop (so that it looks like the Sun stopped) everyone and everything not securely bolted down would suddenly become a projectile flying at 1,674 km/hr. Obviously, this would be fatal, yet the armies in the Bible somehow didn't notice Earth suddenly standing on the brakes.

But that's not all. This dramatic halting of the Earth's rotation would cause massive tsunamis that would flood most of the Earth's landmasses. It would create sudden and massive storms and would also lead to the decay of the protection that keeps Earth from being terribly irradiated by the Sun.

Also, Joshua 10:13 states that not only did the Sun stop, but so did the Moon. That's a bit of a big deal because if the Moon were to stop it would come crashing into Earth. If you thought the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!

As you can see, a basic understanding of physics shows just how absurd that Bible story is, and dressing it up with some fabricated story doesn't help matters any. Remember kids, physics is fun!

-Brain Hulk

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