Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Questions to The New "On The Box" Show

Greetings, Tony and Chad. Thanks for your invitation to atheists to ask questions. I'll dive right in.
  1. Take a half-dozen believers of various religions and denominations, whose hearts are as right with god as yours are, but whose beliefs contradict yours in ways that really matter. Say, one of you guys, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Mormon, a Catholic, and Fred Phelps. How can I, assuming that it's possible for me to take on the requisite humility and childlikeness, decide which of you has the truth? Keep in mind that each one of you believes that he alone has the truth, that the other five are just plain wrong, and each one believes that the reason for the other guys' error is most likely sinfulness, or at least spiritual laziness. The short version of the question is, "How do you know?"
  2. Say that you're sitting around one day, minding your own business, and some entity appears before you and says, "I am Yahweh." How can you know that this entity is telling you the truth? How can you know that it is what or who it claims to be? If you didn't know that Yahweh hates being asked for a sign, and you asked for one, how could you know that the sign is legitimate? How could you know that what you perceive is reality, and not just some really good simulation? The short version of the question is, "How can you distinguish reality from illusion?"
  3. You say that Yahweh is good, and Satan is evil. In saying so, you indicate that you have at least some ability to distinguish between good and evil. Please consider these acts committed by Yahweh:
    • Drowned every single baby in the world, as recounted in Gen 7:11-12
    • Burned all babies to death with fiery sulfur in Sodom and Gomorrah, as described in Gen 19:24-25
    • Starved unnumbered babies to death, as recounted in Ex 9:6, 9:25, 10:15
    • Ordered and assisted in the slaughter, presumably by sword, of every male, from babies to toddlers to preteens to teenagers to young men to fathers to grandfathers, and the slaughter of every non-virgin female, from teenagers to young women to mothers to grandmothers, and including rape victims of any age, from a nation large enough to field an army of roughly 10k men, as in Num 31:5, 7, 17
    • Tacitly endorsed the enslavement as wives every virgin from aforementioned nation, from baby girls to toddlers to preteens to teenagers to young women to spinsters, as in Num 31:18
    • Tacitly endorsed or explicitly ordered the slaughter, presumably by sword, of every human, from babies to toddlers to preteens to teenagers to young men and women  to fathers and mothers to grandfathers and grandmothers, in the following ten nations Heshbon (Deut 2:34), Bashan (Deut 3:6), Jericho (with the exception of one household) (Joshua 6:21) , Ai (Joshua 8:25), Libnah (Joshua 10:30), Lachish (Joshua 10:31), Eglon (Joshua 10:35),  Hebron (Joshua 10:37), Debir (Joshua 10:39), Hazor (Joshua 11:10)

    If killing babies is always wrong, then Yahweh did wrong. If killing babies is sometimes justified, then at least in principle, abortion can be sometimes justified. Similarly, if killing elderly people is sometimes justified, then at least in principle, euthanasia can be sometimes justified. You may wish to say that although abortion and euthanasia could in principle be justified, humans do not have the moral wherewithal to decide under which circumstances these would be justified. But if that's the case, then how can you have the moral wherewithal to decide whether Yahweh was justified in committing these acts?

    The short version of the question is, "How do you distinguish good from evil?"
  4. Consider this scenario: I am born into a family that has one child already, my older brother. Our parents treat my brother terribly. Dad is criminally abusive. Mom is criminally neglectful. They treat me quite differently: Dad is kind. Mom is warm. They're exemplary parents to me.

    With that scenario in mind, consider these questions: should I be grateful to our parents? Should I express my gratitude toward them on a regular basis? After I've grown to adulthood, isn't it extraordinarily sick and twisted for me to praise my parents for having treated me so well?

    Now consider that while you and I and almost everyone watching this video is warm and fed, there are billions of people in the world who spend their entire lives cold, hungry, and miserable. I'll claim that if you praise a deity for your good fortune, then these people would be justified in cursing that same deity.

    Should we lucky few be grateful to that deity? Should we express our gratitude toward it on a regular basis? And isn't it extraordinarily sick and twisted for us to praise it for having treated us so well?

    The short version of the question is, "How can you be grateful to, and full of praise for, your god and still have a clear conscience?"
  5. Shorter questions:
    • Religious people often claim that atheists are arrogant. How is it not astoundingly arrogant to believe that you and at most a few million other humans in all history have the truth, while all the billions of others are dead wrong?
    • How will you feel at the judgment, watching your counterparts, those just as sincere as you but in the wrong religion, being thrown into hell? And how will you feel if it turns out that your counterparts were in the right religion? In other words, "what if you're wrong?"
    • Would you be good if there were no potential punishment after you die?
  6. If it's not ok for atheists to take scripture out of context, then why is it totally fine for the author of Hebrews to do so? Consider:
    • Hebrews 1:5 - "I will be his father, and he will be my son." That's from II Samuel 7:14, but read on for context; in this case, just the next few words: "When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men." Now, if Yahweh was talking about Jesus in the first sentence, who was it talking about in the second sentence? Taken in context, it seems that Yahweh was talking about Jesus. So Yahweh fully expected Jesus to disobey and it expected to punish him.
    • Hebrews 2:6-8 - This is from Psalm 8:4-6: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" In two millennia, has no one noticed the obvious problem? The psalm is asking why Yahweh should even bother with us lowly humans. If "the son of man" means "Jesus", which the author of Hebrews obviously intends, then we can rephrase the psalm: "What is Jesus that you care for him?" Why would a psalm purportedly prophesying the messiah ask Yahweh why it cares about the messiah?
  7. Please resolve this apparent contradiction in the New Testament:
    • "God is love," I John 4:8, 16
    • "Love keeps no record of wrongs," I Corinthians 13:5
    • "The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books," Revelation 20:12
  8. Given that Yahweh does everything deliberately, never accidentally, is it reasonable to assume that a sin mentioned frequently is more bothersome to Yahweh than a sin mentioned less frequently? For example, the New Testament goes on and on about sexual immorality, mentioning it at least 20 times, five times in the book of Revelation alone. But the bible never condemns slavery, rape, torture, child abuse, cruelty to animals, or environmental irresponsibility. You could say that the bible mentions some of these, but you'd have to admit that it mentions them obliquely; it's not nearly as explicit or vehement about these as it is about sexual immorality. In fact, both Yahweh and Jesus fully endorse slavery; if the bible can be said to frown on it, then the disapproval comes only from the Apostle Paul, and again, rather midly. Shall we assume that Yahweh cares far less about these genuine abominations than it cares about the trifle of sexual immorality?
  9. How is it that saying some four-letter word is an offense that would result in a response video being rejected, while you guys (and/or people of whose actions you approve) go around everywhere telling people that they're most likely going to burn in agony for eternity? If one of your fellow believers posted a question that started off with some declaration concerning the eternal fate of atheists, you wouldn't think twice about it. But if someone posts a question that contains a simple vulgarity describing some completely normal human body function, you'll reject it immediately. How is it that a simple vulgarity is actually more offensive than the hideous doctrine of eternal torment? 
  10. How is it that saying the word "god" followed by a four-letter word of condemnation counts as blasphemy, given that followers of Jesus frequently defame their lord with lies, distortions, obfuscations, and rhetorical trickery? Some examples:
    • Ray Comfort's crocoduck and "dead dog" arguments -- These are straw man nonsense, and Ray knows it.
    • The logical fallacies and dishonesty that pervade Chad's evangelism videos.
    • William Lane Craig's blatant lie about basing doctrine on "poetic passages," in his debate with Shabir Ally in Toronto on March 5, 2002.
    • William Dembski's blatant lies and misrepresentations in his debate with Christopher Hitchens in Texas on November 18, 2010.
    • Myriad Christian apologists claiming that carbon dating doesn't work, while most of them either know this to be a lie, or are simply taking someone else's word for it without spending even five minutes studying the matter.
    • Myriad Christian apologists implying that a refutation of science is sufficient to prove the truth of the bible.
    How is it that these dishonesties are acceptable to Christians, while a curse that doesn't even include the name of your god counts as blasphemy?
  11. For this question, I'll assume that you believe that life begins at the instant of conception. Do aborted zygotes go to heaven? If they do, then I'll also assume that children who die before they can talk also go to heaven. At what point does a child cross the line from salvation by default to condemnation by default? And how do your answers to these questions fit with John 3:5, where Jesus says, "...no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit"?
  12. For this question, I'll assume that in spite of John 3:5, kids who die before they can talk automatically go to heaven. I'll also assume that this applies to any living human, even if it's a just-conceived zygote in a mother's womb. One possible path for me is to die before birth and spend eternity in heavenly bliss. Another possible path for me is to be born and live to whatever time in life it is when I need salvation. From there, I could either be saved and go to heaven, or fail to be saved and go to eternal torment. I'll assume that you agree with me that the vast majority of humans will be condemned, so if I live long enough to need salvation, the odds are hugely against me. Given all this, isn't abortion actually one of the kindest and most merciful gifts one could ever give to an unborn child?
  13. Is it Jesus' miracles that convince you that he's for real? Let's look at his miracles: changing water to wine, curing lepers and epileptics, feeding a huge crowd with a few scraps of food, walking on water, raising the dead, controlling the weather. If I did any of these things right in front of you, you'd assume that I have good technology; it would never enter your mind to think that I'm a deity. I won't pretend that you base your entire view of Jesus on his purported miracles, but I assume that it's safe to say that your conclusion about his nature is at least partly based on his various wondrous acts. What is it that makes these acts miraculous when performed by Jesus, but simply high-tech when performed by anyone else?
  14. Is it Jesus' profound sayings that convince you that he's for real? Let's look at some: love your enemies, do unto others, a sin committed in the heart is equal to a sin actually committed, don't judge. Let's put aside for the moment that Jesus wasn't the first person to say these things, and consider some really profound things that he could have said explicitly and made a huge difference to history:
    • Slavery is wrong
    • Torture is wrong
    • Cutting off little girls' clitorises is wrong
    • Hitting, marrying, and having sex with children are wrong
    • It's better to prevent evil behavior than to punish it
    • Yahweh once said that "If a man rapes a woman he has to pay her father and then marry her," but I say, "If a man rapes a woman he has to pay for her to see a qualified therapist for the rest of her life." Extend this out to all crimes: justice for the victim, in the form of healing, is a thousand times more important than justice for the criminal, in the form of punishment.
    • If you kill, you're on your own in defending it; you certainly do not have permission to kill in my name
    Clearly, I'm not the first person to have ever said these things, but they're far more profound than anything Jesus ever said. What is it that makes Jesus' trifles godlike, while really good stuff is considered just another human opinion?
  15. If I worship a Supreme Being called Yahweh, where is the line between you considering me a brother-in-error and you considering me to be worshiping something false and in grave danger of condemnation? What if my Yahweh forgives everyone with no blood sacrifice, as according to a lot of modern, Western Christians? What if my Yahweh has already sent Jesus a second time, in the form of Jah Rastafari, as according to the Rastas? Or my Yahweh sent Jesus as a prophet but not a savior, as according to Islam? Or my Yahweh was once a human, and through the right kind of behavior I can become what Yahweh is, as according to Mormonism? What if my Yahweh says that the bible is almost never literally true, as according to many respectable Christian denominations? What if my Yahweh disagrees with you on your "once-saved-always-saved" stance? What if my Yahweh disagrees with you on whether women should be silent in church? What if my Yahweh is identical to yours with the sole exception that you will be condemned? How do you distinguish between an idolater and a brother-in-error?
  16. In the Gospel According to Matthew, in Chapter 9, Verses 27 - 30, Jesus gives sight to two blind men and then tells them not to let anyone know. In case anyone wants to split hairs here, note that the NIV translation says, "Don't tell anyone," but every other English translation out there says, "Don't let anyone know." So I was blind, and now I can see, and I'm supposed to pretend that I still can't see? When I was blind, anyone having a conversation with me would know it instantly, because they'd see that I can't make eye contact. In order to fake blindness, I'd have to refrain from ever looking anyone in the eye. Further, if I'd always been blind, then I would never have seen any blind people having conversations, so I wouldn't know that faking blindness would require such behavior. And of course the worst part, Jesus is explicitly telling these guys to practice deception. Please explain.
  17. I know: this one's technical, but it seems important. I count seven rather suspicious passages in the Gospel According to Matthew, where a fragment of a story seems to have been corrupted and then duplicated. These are:
    • Chapters 5 and 18, where Jesus says, mutilate your sinful body.
    • Chapters 9 and 20, where two blind men receive sight.
    • Chapters 10 and 16, where Jesus says, deny yourself, take up your cross, and martyr yourself, Islam-style.
    • Chapters 12 and 16, Jesus' opponents demand a sign; Jesus offers only the sign of Jonah.
    • Chapters 13 and 25, where Jesus gives his blessing to unbridled capitalism.
    • Chapters 14 and 15, Jesus feeds lots of people with very little food.
    • Chapters 16 and 18, Jesus grants binding and loosing authority to his disciples.
    To this layperson's eyes, these seem like fairly obvious and unsurprising errors of transmission. But allowing for the possibility that it really is the infallible word of the Supreme Being, what meaning are we to assign to the fact that god chose these 14 events to occur in such a fashion as to appear, when recounted faithfully, to be copying errors?
  18. It seems to me that Jesus, although he did revere the Old Testament, considered it to be not entirely the infallible word of Yahweh. In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus has a bit of a tiff with some Pharisees concerning divorce. He tells them that it was not Yahweh, but Moses, acting against Yahweh's will, who gave the Jews permission to divorce their wives. Jesus says that divorce was never Yahweh's intention, and further, that Moses' allowance actually gave them permission to sin, given that Jesus here declares it a sin to divorce and remarry unless on the grounds of infidelity. Isn't Jesus announcing unequivocally that the Old Testament is not entirely infallible?
  19. Some more short ones:
    • What are we to infer from the fact that Jesus, whose contemporaries believed that he was a carpenter or at least had grown up in a carpenter's household, was always ready with a parable related to farming or shepherding or estate administration, but never pronounced a single carpentry-related parable?
    • Given that Yahweh does everything deliberately, what are we to infer from the fact that Yahweh chose to micromanage Joseph, sending him three separate dreams in the first couple of chapters of Matthew, when one dream would have worked just fine? See Matthew 1:20, 2:13, 2:22.
    • In Mark 5:41, Jesus resurrects a little girl. In Luke 7:14, he resurrects a young man. Strangely, he addresses them as "little girl" and "young man," respectively. Why didn't he address them by their names? He knew their names, didn't he?
  20. In Matthew 2:16, King Herod issues an order for all Bethlehem-area boys two years old and younger to be killed. Just before this atrocity, in Verses 13-14, an angel instructs Joseph to flee with his family so Jesus won't be killed. Does Joseph ask the angel for permission to warn the other families in the area to take precautions to protect their children? No. Surely Mary, her maternal instincts at a fever pitch, begs Joseph to let her warn her friends, to save the children of her best friends, kids whom she knows intimately and loves dearly? No. The Baby Jesus, being omniscient and all, knowing that his beloved playmates were all about to die horrifically, he did something, right? No. The angel? No. Yahweh? No. Why?
  21. For this question, I'll assume that you believe that the bible is the infallible word of the Supreme Being of the universe. What are we to make of disagreement among the various ancient manuscripts that have contributed to the book that is known today as the bible? Some Christians may wish to protest that although there are discrepancies among the source documents, nothing of any importance is in dispute. But consider the heartwarming story of Jesus rescuing a woman accused of adultery with his profound suggestion that the person without sin should be the first to cast a stone: countless people over the centuries have been deeply moved by this story, so it can hardly be considered of no importance. But my NIV bible contains a disclaimer: "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not" include this story at all, John 7:53 - 8:11.
  22. More short ones:
    • Jesus says, in various forms, that a kingdom divided against itself will be ruined. See Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:24, and Luke 11:17. Does this apply to the church, given that there are tens of thousands of denominations of Christianity?
    • In Matthew 12:40, Jesus says that he will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Perhaps I lack the spiritual discernment to do the math correctly; I count Friday afternoon, Saturday, and maybe a bit of Sunday morning. That's not even two days. I count Friday night and Saturday night, for a maximum of two nights. Please explain.
    • In Luke 16:9, Jesus says, "...use worldly wealth to gain friends..." This seems like contemptible advice to me. Please explain how this is good and moral behavior.
  23. More short ones:
    • Please reconcile this apparent contradiction: In John 5:31, Jesus says, "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." In 8:13, the Pharisees agree with him on this point, but then Jesus changes his mind, saying, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid."
    • Please reconcile this apparent contradiction: In John 8:15, Jesus says, "I pass judgment on no one." Not five minutes later, in verse 26, he says, "I have much to say in judgment of you." Then in 9:39, he says, "For judgment I have come into this world."
    • In John 8:58-59, Jesus makes his famous, "I Am!" pronouncement. Let's assume that in this he really was announcing that he is Yahweh itself. Why then, when the Jews pick up stones to execute him for blasphemy, does he run away? If he has officially ended this inexplicable time of secrecy where no one is to know who he is, then why this suspicious retreat?
  24. More short ones:
    • In the first eight verses of John 10, Jesus says that he is the gate, that anyone who tries to enter heaven by some means other than Jesus is a thief and a robber. He then underscores this by saying that all who came before him were thieves and robbers. Isn't he talking about the prophets? Isn't he absolutely nullifying the Old Testament?
    • In John 10:17, Jesus says, "The reason my father loves me is that I lay down my life." Isn't that conditional love?
    • What are we to infer from the fact that the Gospel According to John never once mentions the name of Jesus' mother? In the final chapter a woman named Mary Magdalene is mentioned, but this Mary is in no way connected to Jesus' mother. What does that mean, given that Yahweh does everything deliberately?
  25. In Luke 14:10, Jesus instructs us to take the lowest place at a party, and wait for the host to honor us in front of everyone by moving us to a more prestigious place. Very few Christians, if any, ever do anything like this. Why? In Verse 12 he tells us that when we throw a party we must not invite friends, brothers, or relatives, but instead, the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Very few Christian parties, if any, have ever come close to excluding friends and relatives in favor of these others. Why?
  26. In Luke 12:33, Jesus says, "Sell your possessions and give to the poor." He makes many such pronouncements. In Acts 4:34 we find that "There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them," and the proceeds were distributed among those who had need. Why are there so many filthy-rich Christians and so many poverty-stricken people in the world? And why are Republicans and Tea-Partyists so opposed to socialism?
  27. Are we to assume that Yahweh hates nerds? Consider these various miracles:
    • Healing lepers by touching them
    • Feeding gigantic crowds of people with only a few scraps of food
    • Walking on water
    • Causing a fig tree to wither
    • Calming a furious storm
    • Converting water to wine
    • Causing a boat in the middle of the lake immediately to reach the other shore (see John 6)
    • Ascending into the sky until hidden by a cloud (see Acts 1)
    My overarching question for all of these is, "What did it look like?" During all those hours of feeding thousands of people, no nerdy Jewish kid sat enthralled, watching Jesus closely? And no one bothered to write it down? What a ripoff! And when the boat immediately reaches the other shore: are we talking teleportation, or maybe the boat just moved really fast, like a speedboat. Why no details about what a blast they had, wind in their hair and tongues hanging out? It makes me want to pull my hair out.
  28. In Acts 1 we read that Jesus hung out with his pals for over a month after his resurrection. We don't get to find out everything that he did, but one thing he did do, according to Verse 4, is eat with them. I might be off-base here, but this suggests to me that they had some leisure time, which suggests that they covered all of the more formal business that Jesus felt the need to cover. So why is it that after Jesus finally leaves, Peter jumps up and says, "By the way, we need to replace Judas"? Why did this never come up during 40 days of Jesus loafing about with them? The outrage is underscored by the fact that when they had to choose between Joseph and Matthias, they prayed and cast lots, asking Jesus to show them his choice by lot, which, according to a lot of Christians, is a sin. Surely, omniscient Jesus knew of this need; why didn't he discuss it with them personally? And why didn't he punish them for their sin?
  29. Revisiting Acts 1:24-26. Here the Apostles cast lots in order to ask Jesus whether he prefers Joseph or Matthias to replace Judas. I'll assume for this question that it was somehow acceptable for the Apostles to cast lots. Why is this not a widespread practice among modern Christians? Did former President Bush II have a stronger relationship with Jesus than did the Apostles? Why would Jesus have spoken more intimately with him than with his closest friends? Why didn't we see the president at a press conference praying and throwing dice to determine whether we should invade Iraq? I'm not really asking you to speak for W; my real question is why this extremely simple, extremely effective method for determining Jesus' will isn't commonplace.
  30. Acts 15 tells us of the hoopla over whether Gentiles must be circumcised. A big meeting is held among the brothers to discuss the issue. Peter, the rock on whom Jesus built his church, rules that Gentiles should not be required to be circumcised. In Galatians 2:3-5, Paul brags about how he resisted some "false brothers" and refused to allow Titus to be circumcised. In Galatians 5:2, Paul gets serious: "...if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all." But then in Acts 16:3, Paul circumcises Timothy, "because of the Jews who lived in that area." Please help me to understand not only the appalling hypocrisy, but also how Jesus could expect anyone to know whether to be circumcised or not.
  31. More short ones:
    • In Acts 12:23, an angel from Yahweh strikes Herod, who is eaten by worms and dies. Why? Because he "did not give praise to god." But didn't the other Herod order the massacre of every baby boy under two years old in the entire Bethlehem area? Is your god really so vain that it must kill people who fail to praise it but can allow baby killers to live?
    • In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says that he will build his church on the rock of Simon Peter. Why then does the New Testament consist mostly of Paul? Why didn't we hear far more from Peter?
    • In Galatians 2:7-8, Paul suggests that Peter is the apostle to the Jews, while Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. But in Acts 15:7, we find that Peter believes himself to be Yahweh's messenger to the Gentiles.
  32. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus firmly establishes the principle of thought crime, telling us that lust alone counts as adultery. In Matthew 26:29, Jesus tells his disciples that he will drink no more wine until the day he drinks it anew with them in his father's kingdom. In Matthew 27:34, someone offers Jesus wine mixed with gall, and Jesus tastes it. Now if Jesus is omniscient, then he knew that it had wine in it, and therefore had no need to taste it. I conclude that Jesus broke his earlier promise; even if you want to say that he tasted rather than drank, given his principle of thought crime, he's busted. Please explain.
  33. Please help me to understand this confusing Yahweh-math:
    • Infinity times wisdom equals infinite wisdom
    • Infinity times power equals infinite power
    • Infinity times mercy equals (finite mercy) minus (the vast majority of you will burn)
  34. Some Christians say things like, "I wouldn't want to live in a universe where there were no god." But just for a moment, let's take a look at that world, no god, no force of love, nothing but us humans, the world overflowing with unnecessary suffering and injustice, and make it even ten times worse than what we see now, a hundred times worse, a million. Now compare that to the universe that you see around you: an awful, terrible, appalling place for almost everyone, and almost everyone, including those whose natural lives were full of unbearable suffering but who did not accept Jesus, will suffer a fate unimaginably worse than what we experienced during this life. You'd really rather live in that universe than in the one I believe in? Please explain.
  35. In I Corinthians 1:27-28, Paul says that Yahweh "chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise" and "chose the lowly things of this world". But if that's true, then why did Yahweh choose Paul, a highly educated, respected, prominent man with official Roman citizenship to spread the good news? Why not someone uneducated, maybe Peter, the bumpkin. Surely Peter was far more foolish and lowly than Paul? For that matter, why didn't Yahweh go all the way and choose someone at the very bottom of the foolish and lowly demographics, say, some village idiot whose race is considered repugnant even to the most tolerant, or some prominent but stupid local who alienates everyone by being obnoxious? If Yahweh really wanted to make a point about this, why did it go only halfway?
  36. Think of the most godly, humble, devout, sincere people you know. Now, ask each one of those people, on a scale of one to ten, how confident he or she is that he or she is saved. A ten means that you are totally sure that you're saved; you're not afraid of dying, because you fully expect to wake up to the welcoming face of Jesus. If you found yourself in flames, you'd believe that Satan is playing a trick on you, and you'd pray to Yahweh in the hope of quick relief from this obvious delusion. A one would mean that you are totally unsure of your salvation; you're terrified of dying, because you expect to wake up in flames. If you did wake up to the welcoming smile of Jesus, the first thing you'd do is burst into uncontrollable sobs of relief, because you spent your mortal life not knowing whether your salvation is legitimate. You might even worry that Jesus is an illusion sent to you by Satan to torment you, making you think for a short while that you were saved before dragging you off to your eternal punishment. A five would mean that you consider your odds being exactly 50-50: you would not be surprised either way. I’ll assume that the godliest you could find placed themselves lowest on the scale. My question: is that a loving, kind, merciful god, letting its best servants live their entire lives in terror?
  37. Romans 10:9 says, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Let's take this at face value. Nowhere am I commanded to be happy about Jesus being Lord. Nowhere am I commanded to confess that he is good and right to treat humans with the same respect as a bowl made of clay. It just says that I must confess this and believe that. I interpret this verse as giving me permission to think all of the horrible things I think about Yahweh-Jesus, provided that I admit that it is the dictator of the universe with the power to make up whatever despicable rules it likes, and I believe that it raised Jesus from the dead. So I can hate Yahweh-Jesus and still be saved? You might want to counter that we are also commanded to love Yahweh. But we're also commanded not to divorce, so either there are a lot of Christians going to hell due to their divorces, or Romans 10:9 overrides all biblical commandments. So, given Romans 10:9, can I hate Yahweh-Jesus and still be saved?
  38. When I was 13, I was told that I would burn in hell for all eternity. After several years of absolute terror, I declared with my mouth that "Jesus is Lord." I had already believed for my whole life that Yahweh had raised him from the dead. Now, I would never have read the bible or bothered to make this confession but for one fact: my terror at the prospect of burning in eternal torment. It was not love for Yahweh that compelled me; I had no such love. It was not appreciation of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice; I had no such appreciation. It was not my belief that I was sinful and in need of redemption: I had always believed myself evil and dirty, but no one told me that my badness was the reason I would burn; it never occurred to me that there was a reason. The only reason I ever pursued Yahweh-Jesus was unimaginable fear. Am I the only person who's ever had this experience? I'll assume not. What will happen to so-called Christians who don't love Yahweh and never will, but converted just so they wouldn't burn? How does Yahweh feel about their so-called love?
  39. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus refers to children, saying, "The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Overlooking contradictions, I'll assume that this verse means that children are saved by default. I'll also assume that this can be extended to anyone born with severe mental impairment or who becomes severely impaired while still young: even if they live to adulthood, they're probably still very childlike. Underlying many types of such impairment is faulty brain chemistry: too much of one hormone, too little of another, problems in regulating neurotransmitter levels. I conclude that Yahweh will allow certain mentally impaired people into heaven while rejecting others whose brain chemistry is infinitesimally different. The people with barely better hormone levels will be held responsible for their actions while the others won't. In other words, some people will get into heaven due solely to the difference of a few molecules in their brains. Please explain how this is morally right. 
  40. Christians often suggest very strange explanations for the people who reject Christianity. It's because our hearts are hard, or we're rebellious, or we "want to go on sinning." Do you really believe that? I say that it takes an incredibly hard heart to respond to the idea of billions of people suffering eternally with "Well, it was their choice." I say that the seriously rebellious people in the world are the religious. Who wants to overthrow government? Who wants to disrupt civilization? Not atheists. As for the desire to go on sinning, that would make sense only if we observed that people sin less often after becoming Christians. We all know that not to be the case. Do Christians really not see that atheists care deeply about truth, peace, compassion, equality, social justice, at least as much as Christians do? Can Christians really not see that the fact that we care about these things is one of the biggest reasons we would oppose Yahweh if we believed that it existed? If you're guided by the Supreme Being of the Universe, then why are you so in the dark about what motivates us? 
  41. In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus delivers some rather problematic guidelines for performing acts of charity. In these verses he isn't even really talking about the needy. He's talking about the giver, and the primary motivation for giving. It's all about getting some kind of external reward in the form of praise from bystanders, either human or supernatural, who are totally unconnected with the gift. What about the reward of just knowing that you've done something good, helped someone who needed it? And so what if I want the whole world to know about something I've done to help the needy? Are the needy harmed by that in any way? In fact, it might even help the needy further, by encouraging others who might not otherwise have done anything. Jesus makes giving about the giver, which seems totally wrong to me. Please comment.
  42. In Luke 22:36, Jesus tells his disciples to purchase swords. In Verse 38 the disciples point out to Jesus that they have two swords available, and Jesus tells them that two swords are enough. But didn't Jesus know that they had two swords? If two swords are enough, and Jesus knows it, then why did he even bother telling them to buy swords? Why didn't he just do that trick he did in Luke 19:30 and say, "Guys, grab those two swords on your way out the door"? Then in Verse 49, the disciples start to use the swords that Jesus told them to bring, and Jesus' immediate response is to tell them to stop. Why did he tell them to bring the swords if he didn't intend for them to use them? Worse, according to Matthew 26:52, Jesus adds, "all who draw the sword will die by the sword." So Jesus intended for them to bring swords but not to use them? Please explain why he seems not to have known that they had two swords already, and why he wanted them to bring swords but not to use them.
  43. Think about all the millions of slaves who lived and died in the U.S. not even two centuries ago. I won't even attempt to guess at exact numbers, but I think you'll agree with me that many of those slaves must have held fast to the traditional superstitions that they had brought with them from Africa, rather than converting to the religion of their deplorable masters. So there are an awful lot of people who lived absolutely miserable lives but will go to hell anyway. How is that morally right? And why would Yahweh be so cruel as to bring a human soul into existence just to let it suffer horribly all through a mortal life and then spend eternity in torment?
  44. See if you can answer this without looking in your bible. In Acts Chapter 8 we read of a sorcerer named Simon. The Apostle Philip comes to Simon's city preaching Christ; Simon believes and is baptized. The Apostles Peter and John soon arrive and begin administering the Holy Spirit. Simon, the new convert, wants to be a part of this, so he offers money to Peter and John. Tell me which of the following two responses is what Peter actually said to Simon, and which response have I fabricated?
    • Here's option #1 (read this as though trying to comfort someone on whom you take enormous pity): "Simon, Simon, you poor, confused man. You want love just like everyone else does, but you feel that you must earn it by being useful to people. God loves you whether you're useful or not. Also, God doesn't care about money, he cares about mercy and love. Just seek his ways and let go of materialism, and you'll be fine."
    • And option #2 (read this as though you are unimaginably offended and angry): "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent...and pray...perhaps he will forgive you."
  45. In Acts 5:1-11 we learn about the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, who lied about how much money they had made from a real estate transaction. Let's forget about whether I think that the Apostles would have done the world a favor if they'd busied themselves executing child molesters instead of embezzlers. I just want to ask: did Ananias and Sapphira go to heaven, or to hell? If they went to heaven, then their deaths were a reward. So what if their lives in heaven were somewhat diminished as a result of their greed while they lived here on earth? At least they were in bliss with Yahweh. If they went to hell, then their deaths were an incredibly disproportionate punishment for their relatively trivial offenses. Even if you want to say that they were going to hell anyway, is Yahweh so cruel as to deprive the hell-bound of a couple of extra decades of mortal life? And ok, I can't help it, I have to ask: why don't we read about the Apostles executing child molesters and rapists? What are we to infer about Yahweh's priorities?
  46. In II Corinthians 10 - 13, Paul expends a lot of energy trying to convince his audience that he is the one with the true message, and some other men who have claimed to be apostles are false. You might think that his statement in 12:12 would be the clincher, that he demonstrated among them "the marks of a true apostle—signs, wonders and miracles." I'm confused about this. There are indeed many scenes in the Book of Acts where true Apostles perform SWMs. So why is it that in defending his position, Paul mentions practically as an aside his copious performances of SWMs? It seems to me that if he were performing SWMs and the false apostles were not, then he would have made this point the foundation of his argument. If no one at all were performing SWMs, then he wouldn't have mentioned it at all. But then the only alternative is that both true and false apostles were performing SWMs, and in that case he also would not have mentioned it. What does Paul mean, what is Yahweh trying to tell us, in this strange mention of SWMs?
  47. One of your fans pointed me to your recent "false dichotomy" video. You summarize the dilemma along these lines: either god is omnipotent and good, and evil should not exist, or god is not omnipotent and good. All fair enough. You say that because there is a third option, this is a false dichotomy. You present the third option in this form: Mr. Skeptic, if god were to destroy all evil, you would cease to exist. Please help me to understand what bearing my existence has on the original dilemma. Let's say I never existed. The dilemma is still there. Let's say I convert to Christianity right now in order to avoid destruction. The dilemma is still there. How does my destruction apply? How does my destruction count as a third option?
  48. One of your fans pointed me to your recent "Proof the Bible is the Word of God" video, in which Chad evangelizes a random guy on the street. Chad brings up various OT prophecies and asserts that their fulfillment is proof that they were inspired by the Supreme Being. Unfortunately, the only claims that these prophecies were fulfilled are to be found in the bible and derivative works. You can't use unsubstantiated claims from the bible in order to prove that the bible is true. You have to prove that the bible is true first. At about 5:05, Chad himself says, "That's not allowed in logical reasoning." How is Chad's circular argument allowed in logical reasoning?
  49. Another question about your "Proof the Bible is the Word of God" video. Near the beginning of the video, when Chad reads from Isaiah, he asks the guy who that passage refers to. The guy says, "Jesus", and Chad attempts numerous times to use this answer to suggest that the guy knows that this passage in Isaiah represents a prophetic description of an actual person. Chad is implying that knowing of this teaching is the same thing as knowing that the teaching represents real history. That's obviously not true, and it's intellectually dishonest. How is Chad's false equivalence allowed in logical reasoning? If you guys are guided by the Supreme Being of the universe, then why can't you stick with truth and honest discussion in order to spread the good news?
  50. Another question about your "Proof the Bible is the Word of God" video. At about 8:33 Chad quotes Matt 2:23, "He will be called a Nazarene," citing this as one of the prophecies fulfilled about Jesus. But where is that prophecy? I've never been able to find it. Some people claim that it's oral tradition, but if oral tradition is part of the proof of the supernatural nature of the bible, then then shouldn't Christians also be presenting the ancient oral traditions as the word of the Supreme Being? And how would you know which ones to use?
  51. One of your fans pointed me to Chad's recent video entitled "Ray Comfort & Unbeliever". In this video Ray brings up the design argument, saying, "Buildings don't happen by themselves." How do we know this to be true? Because we have long experience with buildings. A little kid might notice a new building one day and assume that it happened spontaneously, but as he matures and sees buildings being built, he starts to understand. This is basic human common sense. But for centuries now we have been finding more and more cases where common sense doesn’t work at all, especially in two areas that have enormous bearing on the existence and behavior of the universe: quantum mechanics and relativity. Further, we know a lot about how things work inside this universe, but we know nothing about universes in general, whether they require a cause, or whether the word "cause" has any meaning outside this universe. If you're guided by the Supreme Being of the Universe, then why would you regularly use such an indefensible argument? 
  52. Given all the disagreement among people who call themselves Christians, why are so many Christians out there evangelizing unbelievers? Why aren't almost all Christians engaged with other Christians trying to come up with a coherent message to the world? If you guys are guided by the Supreme Being, then why is there so little unity among you, and why is it that the church becomes increasingly splintered rather than increasingly unified, especially given Jesus' prayer in John 17:11, "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name so that they may be one as we are one"? And in Verse 20, "I pray that all of them may be one"?
  53. If someone were to tell me a lie, and because of that lie I chose to accept Jesus, would my salvation count? Say you tell me that your left hand was amputated but you prayed in Jesus name, according to his instructions in Chapters 14, 15, and 16, and it grew back. We all know that that would be a lie. Would Yahweh accept my conversion? If you were trick me into accepting Jesus, would my salvation count? What if you unintentionally use some logical fallacy that trips me up, and I convert, but then later I think about it and see through your trick? What happens to my salvation at that moment? How much does Yahweh-Jesus care about sticking with the truth while evangelizing?
  54. One of your fans pointed me to Chad's recent video entitled "Richard Dawkins". Chad says that if there were a pope of evolution or atheism, Richard Dawkins would be it. If you're guided by the Greatest Conceivable Being, how is it that you are so apparently confused about this? How is it that you understand how silly it would be to call someone the "Pope of a-teapot-ism" or the "Pope of a-Zeus-ism", but you can't understand how silly it is to refer to a "Pope of a-theism"? Why is it that the Holy Spirit doesn't make these matters clearer to you? Isn't your god embarrassed by the things you guys say?
  55. Still looking at Chad's recent video entitled "Richard Dawkins". Chad refers to one of many statements by Dawkins along the lines that the universe seems to be a pitiless, indifferent place. Given this, Chad wants to know why we care, why we try, what we use as a basis for determining right and wrong. If you're guided by the Almighty, then how is it that you are still asking these questions, which have been answered ad nauseam? And how is it that your basis for morality (because Yahweh says so) is somehow more legitimate than my basis for morality, which is simply that being good is the right thing to do?
  56. Let's say you perform an experiment on a new brand of lawn fertilizer. You fertilize half the lawn and leave the other half alone. The day after you apply the fertilizer, you see that the fertilized grass has grown more than the unfertilized grass. Now it seems obvious to me that the grass benefited from the fertilizer. Would you agree, or would you have to remain agnostic on the issue, given the possibility that Jesus performed a miracle on that part of the lawn, or cursed the other part. If you believe that Jesus sometimes manipulates reality, then how can you ever trust your own senses, or for that matter, your feelings, like that feeling you have that Jesus is living in your heart?
  57. Why would a third of the angels in heaven rebel against a being that they know to be omnipotent? Why would they follow Lucifer if they knew that they didn't stand a chance against Yahweh? Were these just the retarded angels? Why would Yahweh create angels too stupid to recognize a lost cause?
  58. Christians often tell us that our morals have no foundation, that they're arbitrary. But isn't it arbitrary for Yahweh to declare pork off limits? I've heard people say that Yahweh made that rule not because eating pork is immoral, but because at the time it was a health hazard. But if that's the case, then why did it become ok after Jesus? Did something happen between Moses and Jesus to make pork consumption significantly safer?
  59. I keep trying to imagine these Disney moments in the biblical book of Joshua, where Israeli soldiers march into a town or village with orders to kill every living thing, including all the humans. Were the soldiers merciful to their victims? Did they offer any sort of comfort or reassurance? Did any young Hebrew man crouch down to wipe the tears out of a little girl's eyes, and thinking of his own daughter back home, plant a remorseful kiss on top of the little girl's head? Would he have stood behind her so she wouldn't have to see the sword coming? Or would he try to be a man about it and look her in the eye as he killed her? Would he have tried to deliver the fatal blow in a way as to minimize her final suffering? What kind of fatal blow would hurt the least? Decapitation maybe, but it seems like your arm would get tired after a few, and as the day wore on it might become increasingly difficult to take a head off with just one swing, and I'm guessing that a bad swing would result in a lot of pain for the kid. Would he not have felt even the slightest pang of conscience hearing her dying screams? Or would he have joyfully done the duty assigned to him by Yahweh, offering copious praise and thanksgiving? Or would it be that he feels a little guilty killing the first one, but acclimated by the tenth? 
  60. It seems that every intelligent creature Yahweh creates has to worship it. Now, if I try to imagine an infinitely loving being, it's hard for me to see that being wanting to be worshiped. It's a lot easier for me to see that being just wanting to share its love, without all the bowing and scraping. You might say that Yahweh is so great that anything it creates must worship it. But wouldn't that mean that Yahweh's power is limited? That it can't create a creature that can love it without having to worship it?
  61. Since Yahweh gets a kick out of testing its followers, let's say that it wants to use me to test your character. Yahweh has given me the power to grant a wish to you, and I have decided to limit your wish. You have to choose one of these two options: (1) I snap my fingers and all homosexuality in the world disappears immediately and forever, or (2) I snap my fingers and all poverty in the world disappears immediately and forever. Too easy? There's one condition: if you choose option #2, you also have to accept homosexuality, including gay marriage, being totally accepted and legal immediately and forever. Which option would you choose? 
  62. I can think of only one explanation for all those angels joining Lucifer in order to fight a being that they know to be omnipotent: they recognize that this god is pure evil and they want to have a clear conscience. In other words, they agree with us.
  63. Often, Christians who object to gay marriage complain that if we allow that, people will start marrying animals. But I don't get it: what's wrong with people marrying animals, exactly? Sure, you can say that it sounds weird and strange, but really, what exactly is immoral about it? The only thing I can think of is that bestiality could be painful for the animal. That would make it immoral, but surely, that's not the reason you guys would cite, because you'd say it's immoral even if it doesn't hurt anyone. Also, why did Yahweh make the rule that the victim of bestiality is to be killed? How does that fit into Yahweh's larger picture of morality? What are we to infer about Yahweh given that it requires the animal's death? Surely there is some meaning in everything Yahweh does, right?
  64. What religion do you guys practice, anyway? I've been studying world religions lately, and I've found six that are close to what you guys do, but none seems exactly right. I looked into:
    • Creatheism - this one requires you to have an Australian accent. Ray could be a creatheist, but Tony and Chad aren't.
    • Con-artheism - this one requires you to have a prison record. Hovind is in this one now.
    • Casholicism - this one requires you to use pig-latin when evangelizing.

    These next three seemed likely because of the religious art you guys cart around with you.

    • Crocobuckism - this one requires you to be at least 35 years old; Chad, you're too young.
    • Cashoduckism - this one requires men to shave their heads
    • Crocodollarism - these guys make an annual pilgrimage to Atlantic City to hone their...uhh...spirituality.
  65. So none of these quite fit. What religion are you guys?
  1. Let's say you're interviewing for a new job. You talk to the boss, and then you talk to a few other people who would be your new co-workers. After answering questions for a while, you have a chance to ask about the work environment. Your interviewer describes the boss in extremely unflattering terms. You hear that he tends to engage in highly questionable behavior, although those who work for him seem to have exculpations for everything he does. You find that he is very powerful in the community enough that if he doesn't like you, he can make it impossible for you ever to get a job in this town. Finally, you're told that recently, a full third of his staff chose to quit their jobs, knowing that they would have to leave town in order to survive. You ask for details, but you only get the boss' side of the story; it seems that no one knows why all those people quit. Do you assume that the boss is a good guy, and all those people who quit are crooked, or stupid?
  2. Would you continue to worship your god if you discovered that rather than being infinitely powerful, it was just way more powerful than you? Or perhaps if it were exactly like you but had control of some really cool technology? Would you continue to worship your god if it lost all its power? Would you continue to worship it if it lost only its power to punish people but retained all of its other powers?
  3. It's obvious that you're not getting any supernatural help, if the best you can come up with is some lame excuse about how all of my questions have been answered before. Jesus did say that you would get power from the holy spirit to shut me up, but it's not happening. It's also obvious that you guys don't believe any of what you preach. What I'm asking is this: can you sleep at night? Can you look in the mirror? Can you look your kids in the eye? Your wife? Your mom? How do you live with yourselves? 
  4. How do you know that the author of the creation story in Genesis intended it to be a historical account of actual events? I'm not talking about the literalism / metaphor debate. Consider the creation story to be literal or allegorical as you please, but the question remains: how do you know that the author told the story not simply as a fireside tale, but as documentation of our origins?
  5. Ray Comfort attempts to refute evolutionary theory by using his "dead dog" argument. I assume that you agree with Ray's assessment; please let me know if this is a bad assumption. In the mean time, please tell me: do you really believe that you and/or Ray know more about evolution than Richard Dawkins does? Or David Attenborough? Or Steven Jay Gould? Or even a recent college graduate with a bachelor's degree in evolutionary biology? Do you really believe that you understand the issues better than these people? Why hasn't any qualified, educated scientist come out in support of the "dead dog" argument? Easy: because it's a false and preposterous argument. It's certainly not because you guys understand evolution better than the experts. And another, related question: what books have you guys read about evolutionary theory? Who are the authors of the books you've read, and what are their qualifications for writing those books?
  6. I notice that you guys haven't answered any of my questions. I've heard a couple of lame excuses from you, along the lines of my face not showing, or my voice being faked, or that my questions are rife with logical fallacies, or that they're just not worthy of a response. I find this all very confusing. Why make an explicit invitation to atheists only to ignore almost all of their questions? Why didn't Jesus tell you ahead of time that it would make you (and him) look bad to invite questions and then ignore them, or make lame excuses for not responding? Why hasn't the Holy Spirit helped you to respond even to one of these questions? If your god really is the Supreme Being over all things, then why doesn't it tell you how to provide a meaningful and profound answer to a question made up by me, a mere mortal? Why is it that Yahweh can't enable you to provide a non-lame answer to even one of these questions? Is this really the way an omnipotent, promise-keeping god behaves, after explicitly offering to help you to silence your detractors? Why is Yahweh-Jesus so lame?
  7. I recently had a brief conversation with Chad, in which I called him out on his hypocrisy and dishonesty. His response was this: "The light has come into the world but men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest their deeds should be exposed." John 3 My question for you guys is this: what exactly is it that you think I'm doing that's evil? Is it my constant encouragement of you guys to stop using rhetorical tricks? Is it my constant comments about your obvious lack of honesty? What have you ever heard from me that leads you to conclude that I'm hiding in the darkness so my deeds won't be exposed? What is really going on here is typical superstitionist behavior: you guys point at us and then describe yourselves. It is you and Tony and Ray who are working hard to avoid being exposed. It is you guys who can't seem to stick to the truth when spreading your so-called good news. How do you convince yourself that the tricks you play on people are good, while a guy who challenges you to come clean is hiding in the darkness?
  8. Chad, in a recent PM you sent to me, you said, "I just watched a video today of some Christian literally getting burned alive overseas and they would not deny the truth they new even when the flames had them totally engulfed." I have some questions about this. Where is this video and where did it come from? Are you sure that your interpretation of the events in the video is correct? How are you sure? I've poked around a bit looking for this video, or a related news article, and you know what I've found? I've found people being persecuted terribly, but not for being Christian. Rather, they are being persecuted by Muslims for being non-Muslim. So they would have gotten the same treatment if they had been Hindus or atheists. Where, anywhere in the world, is anyone being persecuted expressly for being Christian?
  9. Do you and your homies perceive yourselves as being persecuted by me and mine? I know you'll toss out some false humility about how your so-called sufferings aren't in the same league as those being burned alive. But I sense that you do consider yourselves persecuted in some way. According to you, why are we persecuting you? Do you really tell yourselves that it's because you're Christians, because you care about truth and love and being a good person? Really? If you believe that, then you're seriously not listening. Whatever so-called persecution you're suffering is a result of your dishonesty, hypocrisy, and willful stupidity. It has nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity. What are your thoughts on these points?
  10. I assume that you guys oppose abortion. If I'm wrong on that, please let me know. If you do oppose it, then consider: out of all the babies that are aborted, how many of them suffer? Remember, suffering is not possible until a certain amount of nervous system is operational. Now, out of all those who suffer, how horribly and how long do they suffer? Now consider this: how many people in the world suffer far more horribly and far longer than any aborted baby? My admittedly intuitive guess is that the total amount of suffering by people who are born and live for any length of time absolutely dwarfs the total amount of suffering by babies who are aborted. Now, let's say we agree, for the sake of argument, that abortion should be opposed vigorously. It seems to me that the plight of people who live for a while should be opposed far more vigorously than abortion, at least until the evil of the suffering of the born is somewhat comparable to the evil of the suffering of the aborted. I assume that you disagree with me on this last point. Why? Or, if by coincidence you do agree with me, why do Christians put so much more effort into opposing abortion than they do into opposing the far greater suffering?
  11. In John 10:30, Jesus says, "I and the father are one." Most superstitionists seem to think that this is an example of Jesus claiming to be Yahweh itself. In John 17:21-22, Jesus prays to Yahweh, asking it to make all believers one, as Jesus and Yahweh are one. The church seems to hold the all-time world record for most disunity and division, even to the point of bloodshed. Has Yahweh chosen to decline Jesus' prayer? You might want to say that it was for the distant future that Jesus was praying for oneness among his followers, but why would he do that? Why would he pray for (meaning request from Yahweh) something that is guaranteed to happen? Did he not believe the prophecies that described the oneness of the church in the afterlife? Or perhaps Yahweh really did grant Jesus' request, making the church one, as Jesus and Yahweh are one, which is to say, not at all. Unless you mean one as in one big mess. Please clear this up for me.
  12. Let's say I stole some money from you. You're unhappy about it, but then I give the money back, and all is well. Now let's say I ran over your dog with my car. Does it make everything ok for me to give you another dog? Wouldn't you be offended if I thought of you as so shallow that I could make you happy by giving you another dog? Now let's say I challenge some weirdo to try to make you lose your faith, and the weirdo kills your kids. How would you feel if I offered you some replacement kids? Wouldn't that be crass, to say the least? My question is this: what are we to infer about Yahweh's values, given that it allowed Satan to kill Job's kids, and then later gave Job some replacement kids? Also, even if Job was so shallow as to be consoled by replacement kids, what about the families and friends of Job's first ten kids? Were they consoled?
  13. Looks like the world is going to end pretty soon, May 21 of this year if I understand correctly. I went and checked out the Family Radio website and found that for their calculations they are counting one year as lasting 365.2422 days. Then they go back to the New Testament book known as II Peter and find that verse about a day being like a thousand years. Then they do some math that they don't fully explain and end up with May 21 as doomsday. I have some questions about this. To start, in I Kings 7:23, we find that the value of the mathematical symbol we call PI is three. Now if Yahweh is ok with estimating PI as 3, without considering any decimal places, then what gives you the impression that Yahweh is now sending you messages that require an accuracy of four decimal places? Second, my research suggests that the length of an Earth year varies around the value 365.242199, the variation being due to the influence of other planets in the solar system. Third, there was no mention of the 11 days that were removed from the calendar in 1752 (and that was just in England and the American Colonies; other countries made the adjustment before that). Did you guys take those 11 days into account? Finally, if you really believe that you won't be here on May 22, then I'm sure that you won't be needing most of your belongings over the next few weeks. Can I have your stuff?
  14. Followers of Jesus often attempt to justify their faith by describing their personal experience with him. Often it's just a long-term feeling of contentment or serenity. Sometimes it's episodic: during prayer or meditation or even just out of the blue, one feels a kind of ecstasy, oneness, joy, rapture, etc. Followers of Jesus tend to associate these experiences with Jesus, often going so far as to claim that such experiences prove that Jesus is real. But what about the millions of other people throughout history who have had identical experiences but attribute them to some other god, or sometimes simply to themselves? How would you describe these experiences? Fabrication? Hallucination? Temporal lobe seizure? Visitation by demons? With so much at stake, why does Yahweh allow other entities to impersonate it?
  15. I'm slogging my way through a book called "Is God A Moral Monster?" Naturally, the hideous story of Abraham almost killing Isaac is discussed. Strangely, the author of this book says that Yahweh delivered its horrifying idea to Abraham not in the form of an order, but as a request, even going so far as to say please. I've done some poking around and it really does seem that the original Hebrew contains the word na, which seems to translate as please, or I pray thee, or even, according to one scholar, I beg of you. First, why does please hardly ever show up in English translations of the bible? Second, surely, given that this deplorable scene is central to Christian doctrine, Yahweh must have meant something profound when it said please. What did it mean, and why isn't it discussed extensively among superstitionists?
  16. Superstitionists often claim that the lives of asuperstitionists are empty. Let's grant that claim for the sake of argument, and take a look at how you guys plan to spend eternity: no sex, ever again; no lounging in bed all morning on the weekend; no keggers; no sports; no wrestling with the kids on the living room floor; no more eating a whole bag of chips; no personal goals, therefore none of the joy of overcoming obstacles to reach personal goals; worst of all, no pizza. No, worse, no chocolate ice cream. How is an empty eternity better than an empty life that, no matter how bad it sucks, at least ends after a while? 
  17. Compilation of WLC saying that it's not about hell juxtaposed against other believers making it very clear that it is indeed about hell.
  18. It's practically guaranteed that at least one person you know and love, and probably many such persons, will burn in hell for all eternity. How can you live with that thought? How can you say, with such a thought in your mind, that you're happier than asuperstitionists are? Or are you so callous that you can still be happy, knowing that billions of people who are loved by those in Heaven will be tortured eternally? It seems that some superstitionists believe that Yahweh will...mercifully...erase parts of their memory so they won't have to know that their loved ones are suffering. Again, that seems shockingly callous to me, like that weasel dude in The Matrix.  Finally, let's assume that Yahweh really will make such alterations to your mind. Will you still be you? Maybe you know only a few unsaved people. But some superstitionists will require major alterations because of the sheer number of unsaved they knew during life. After such changes, who is it, exactly, who is experiencing bliss? Surely not the same person who lived life here on Earth. It seems to me that going to Heaven must be the same, at least for some people, as really dying: the you that was you here on Earth is gone, and that person experiencing bliss is someone else. Your thoughts?
  19. This one is inspired by a guy I follow on Twitter, BibleAlsoSays. Well, I think it's a guy. Maybe it's a girl. Or a bot programmed to point out stupid things about superstitionism. Anyway. Think about a young child you know and love, say around five years old or younger. Your own child, a grandchild, a niece, a nephew. Now picture that kid in your mind. If that kid were kidnapped by Muslims and taught the ways of Islam so thoroughly that the kid grew up to be a devout Muslim, would he/she go to hell? And if so, would you trust Yahweh's judgment and praise it eternally? Also, surely after the kidnapping and perhaps for the rest of your life, you'd pray to Yahweh to keep the kid's mind safe from Islam. You'd even pray in Jesus name, which, if I understand correctly, is supposed to bind Yahweh to give you what you request. But surely many people throughout history have made exactly that request to Yahweh, only to be denied. I can sort of understand Yahweh declining to give you a new car, but I can't understand at all why Yahweh would decline your heartfelt prayers for the soul of this kid you love. Your thoughts?
  20. I'm still thinking about question #82, about what makes you you. Imagine this sci-fi scenario for a moment: while you're asleep, someone makes an identical copy of you, takes you away somewhere, and puts the copy in your bed. You obviously are still yourself, and the copy, although it thinks it's you, is really a different person. Here's the question: what is it that makes you you? If Jesus is going to give you a new body, then it seems safe to assume that it will come with a new brain. Even if that brain happened to be an exact copy of the brain you have now, the person in that body would not be you. You'll probably want to say that your spirit will be put into this new body. But what part of you is your spirit? The part of you that experiences pain, both physical and emotional, is your brain, the one in your head right now. Will it really be you there in Heaven? And if I go to hell, what part of me goes, exactly? If it's my material brain that experiences pain, then why should I worry about going to hell? What part of me will go to hell, and why should I care, given that it's a part of me that I'm not aware of, and a part of me that doesn't seem to experience pain.
  21. Superstitionists often say that asuperstitionists are rude and disrespectful. Now's your chance to show us, by your own example, how you'd prefer to be treated. If you met an adult who believes in Santa Claus, how would you react to him (or her)? Would you try to pretend that his belief is legitimate? If he were to try to convince you that Santa exists, would you set aside all of your assumptions about Santa and give serious consideration to this person's beliefs? Wouldn't it be shockingly disrespectful to pretend that you're actually taking him seriously? Condescending even? Wouldn't it be far more respectful to tell him that his beliefs are simply ridiculous?
  22. How many sincere and devout Christian children throughout history have prayed in Jesus' name for the salvation of all humanity? I'm sure you'll agree with me that Yahweh's answer to those countless prayers is a resounding "No." Of all the prayers Yahweh would choose to decline, why this one in particular?
  23. It seems that some people didn't quite understand my point back in my video #81, so here's a question that should clear it up: how many converts would there be if you completely removed hell and fear of suffering from your message? You might get a few who at first think Jesus is great, but then how many of them would convert after you tell them that Jesus disapproves of their sex lives in some way?
  24. Acts 1:9 seems to be saying that Jesus ascended to Heaven. Where is Heaven? If Jesus ascended in order to get there, then why don't we see it when we fly, or when we go into space? I assume that your answer will have something to do with Jesus moving into a supernatural realm that we can't see when we fly. Fair enough, but then what are we to learn from the contrivance of ascending into the sky before moving into the supernatural realm? Surely the fact that he chose this particular contrivance rather than some other means something. For example, he could have walked through a door that appeared out of nowhere, or made some arcane hand gesture and simply disappeared. Why ascending in particular?
  25. We are absolutely surrounded by information that almost without exception points to the same conclusions: the earth and universe are billions of years old; all life on earth has descended from a single, common ancestor; all of our conscious experience is rooted in non-supernatural brain processes. If Yahweh wants to strengthen the character of its followers, I can understand it putting a few obstacles in their way. I can't understand why it would overload us with mountains of reasons not to believe. Why would Yahweh fake millions upon millions of fossils? Why would it fake the ages of rocks such that our myriad dating techniques agree so well? Why would it fake all the DNA of every life form on earth to make it appear that we're all descended from a common ancestor? Why would it arrange our brains such that we can't tell the difference between a religious experience and a temporal lobe seizure? Why does Yahweh put such vast energy into making it impossible to believe?
  26. Let's talk about what it means to believe. I believe that there is a pint of delicious chocolate ice cream in my freezer. I don't know for sure, but I have sensible reasons for believing so: I put said ice cream in the freezer last night, and I have no sensible reason for believing that it has been removed. This kind of belief is supported by facts, or at least notions that have a high probability of being facts. This kind of belief is not the same as believing in Yahweh and Jesus. Absolutely everything that one might consider evidence for Yahweh has another possible and usually quite plausible explanation. So to believe in Yahweh is to make a choice, to tell oneself that Yahweh is real and true, even when facing a mountain of information that suggest otherwise. Doesn't believe really mean obey? How is obedience itself a virtue? Shouldn't one first decide whether obedience is justified? Is obedience a virtue when its primary justification is fear?
  27. Superstitionists often mention the idea that Jesus had to live a fully human life in order to represent us properly to Yahweh. That makes me wonder: did Joseph and Mary provide the boy Jesus with a fully functional home life? Was he able to grow up free of emotional scars caused by family dynamics? If so, what were his issues, and what kind of unfair advantage did he have, given that he is "god"? If he had no family-of-origin issues, then how can anyone say that he lived a real, human life?
  28. More short ones:
    • It may be that, as I mentioned in an earlier video, that the reason Satan and all those angels chose to fight Yahweh was for the sake of conscience. I have to imagine that you guys would not accept such an explanation. But the only alternative I can think of is that Satan and his followers thought they had a chance at beating Yahweh, not to mention Yahweh and a force of angels that outnumbered them two to one. Doesn't that prove conclusively that Yahweh is not omnipotent?
    • When you find yourself still here on May 22, will you arrogantly conclude that the Rapture didn't occur, or will you humbly conclude that you didn't make the cut?
  29. Superstitionists often want to point out this big difference between science and faith. They say that science is frequently wrong and has to change the story, but Yahweh never changes. This is what is sometimes called "comparing apples to oranges". Science is not the goal. The goal is truth, and science is the tool we use toward that goal. For you guys, Yahweh is the goal. You say that Yahweh doesn't change; the appropriate comparison of entities that never change would be truth and Yahweh. Neither one of these ever changes. You say that science changes all the time; the appropriate comparison of entities that change would be science and the interpretation of the bible. Yes, science does get it wrong sometimes. Does that mean that it can't be trusted? Human interpretations of the bible get it wrong sometimes (far more often than science, by the way). Does this mean that human interpretations of the bible can't be trusted? Further, you might want to say that indeed human interpretations can't be trusted and that's why we have to pray and stay in touch with Yahweh. But even when you pray, whatever conclusions or decisions you make are still your human interpretation of Yahweh's will. How do you justify your trust in human interpretation while dismissing science, which has the same weakness but in far less measure?
  30. I have questions concerning the so-called virgin birth of Jesus. To start, at what point during the process of Yahweh becoming a human being did actual matter appear? Given that Mary was supposedly a virgin, I guess there couldn't have been a real penis involved. But was sperm involved? Did Yahweh cause a sperm cell to appear spontaneously inside Mary's body? If not, then perhaps Yahweh caused a half-strand of male DNA to appear spontaneously inside Mary's recently ripened egg. It seems to me that one of these three options must be the case, because if Jesus had only the 23 chromosomes from Mary, then he could hardly be considered fully human, and it seems strange to consider him the son of Yahweh, if Yahweh provided no genetic material. But if Yahweh did provide the male half-strand of DNA, then given the superstitionist tendency to assign deep meaning to even the most trivial points, shouldn't Yahweh's choices of how to configure that half-strand be a source of endless discussion? What blood type did Jesus have? Seems like that would be important, or at least instructive. By what mechanism is Jesus the actual son of Yahweh?
  31. When Yahweh asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, is it possible that Yahweh was hoping for Abraham to refuse? What if the actual test for Abraham was to see whether he would choose to do the right thing in spite of disapproval and possible punishment from Yahweh? What if, rather than blind obedience, Yahweh wants us to behave well even in difficult circumstances? What if Yahweh is insulted by the idea that it wants blind obedience to the point of murdering children?

7 comments:

  1. How do you avoid the obvious contradictions in the Bible without appealing to the idea that some things are not literal while others are, especially when those things that are generally taken as figurative don't have the appearance of being as such.

    For instance, pretty much all biblical scholars agree that Genesis is not written in figurative language, yet evolution obviously happened, and humans are evolved from more primitive apes. In that case, the Adam and Eve story is completely garbage, which gets rid of original sin, as well as all sorts of genealogy in the bible, as well as the genealogy of Jesus, which was so painfully screwed up in the new testament.

    If you don't accept that humans were evolved from more primitive apes, what about things like contradictions such as the day of Jesus' death, and how Jesus and Nicodemus and Jesus could not have had the conversation given in John 3?

    What about the fact that Jesus said that the son of man would return before the temple in Jerusalem fell, yet the temple fell in 70 AD, yet none of the prophecies came to pass?

    What about the fact that the existence of an all knowing being is inconsistent with the idea of free will, or the existence of an all powerful being is self contradictory?

    Finally I will leave with the standard problem of evil. If God is all good, how can evil exist?

    I know the standard answers to all these questions, but none of them are any good to anyone except those that already believe, and if that's the audience you're working for, why even look for questions?

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  2. The audience I'm really after consists of the sincere people who think that Ray Comfort is sincere. I hope to reach some of them so they'll see that he's a fraud, that he doesn't even really believe in any god, that he's in it solely for the money.

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  3. So all of this is for some youtube account that can't give answers to any of them? Sort of a silly reason to make such an awesome list.

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  4. i may have a few logical responses to some of these questions... what is your email address?

    i'm not sure how people are supposed to respond (some responses may be quite lengthy... 95 questions are alot to go through!)

    By the way, I think history repeats itself... in the Bible, God's people always go astray and revert to paganism... and what could be more pagan-like than what Christianity offers us today... it's about sacrificing a pure, innocent soul to appease an angry god and pay for the iniquities of the people??

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  5. This blog is just for transcripts of my YouTube videos. Best way to respond is to go to each video in this playlist:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL46D3D107787A4E20&feature=plcp

    ReplyDelete
  6. ...and video tape a response? isn't there already too much "talking at" people instead of engaging in constructive dialog when it comes to this topic?

    you bring up many excellent points. I agree with many of the things being said. But given the format... it seem to be intended for monologues, not for a tête-à-tête.

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  7. No, not video. Just post a comment on each video to which you have a response. YouTube videos have a place for posting comments. Same as here, but broken up into a separate comment forum for each question. If you'd like to have a broader discussion rather than (or in addition to) commenting on specific videos, do feel free to email me at GreatBigBore@Gmail.com

    ReplyDelete