Don't Expect Billionaries to Roll Over!

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Getting undue billionaire influence out of the political process will be as hard as it was for women to gain the right to vote from an all male Congress. Billionaires will do everything they can to deceive us with complex numbers, by playing to our fears, dividing us over unimportant issues, and bankrolling ignorant pliable politicians. This is our time to take control of our country. Don't let it slip by. Women did it, along with others who cared. We can also do it, with others who care.

Unfortunately, too many people do not care about anyone else but themselves. Be on the right side of history. Every major country has universal health care. Help Bernie Sanders make that happen in the USA too.

On Medicare for All and Climate Change

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Bernie Sanders has said, "No one asks where we're going to get the money to pay for the military budget or for Social Security. People only ask that question when it comes to universal health care and climate change." The fact is there's a strong possibility the changes Sanders proposes will actually save us money!! Now what will his naysayers say? Even if it will cost more, if cost is the only factor then why not do away with the military and Social Security!

1. On Medicare for All:



Here's a list of countries with universal health care. If most major countries can do this the US can too!

Multiple studies show Medicare for All would be cheaper than public option pushed by moderates.

Robert Ingersoll On Thomas Paine On Reason & Science

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The following is an excerpt from a lecture Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) gave all over the country commending Thomas Paine. It can be found in full right here. To see more of Ingersoll's speeches and writings check out fellowfeather's site, The Ingersoll Times, from whom I first heard of this lecture. In the excerpt Ingersoll hails reason, knowledge, and science while excoriating belief. It's fantastic!

There are Christian apologists who argue that a god exists because reason can only be accounted for, and justified by a god. Even non-believers must acknowledge god's existence, they argue, for by using reason we acknowledge god as its foundation. This is the Argument from Reason, of which Victor Reppert is the leading defender, hitchhiking on what CS Lewis had previously written. What Ingersoll shows us, by contrast, is that Christians denigrate reason, knowledge, and science in favor of belief. Imagine that, there are people who reject reason who ironically argue that reason leads to god! What an astounding amount ignorance and hypocrisy! If reason leads to god they should be the champions of reason and science rather than belief. But they denigrate it every chance they get. They only use it when it suits them in this fallacious argument, but fail to apply reason across the board to the nature of nature, it's behavior, and whether there's a religion that has sufficient objective evidence for its miracles. In other words, to paraphrase accurately from Christian apologist Frank Turek, they steal reason from non-believers since nonbelievers are the people of reason.

Religion Photos of the Week, Worshipping Gods of Death and Destruction

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Click to enlarge
For info on the Hindu god Shiva click here. "Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Vishnu." There have been many gods of death and destruction. Here's another photo:

I think John Oliver Gets This Right! Medicare For All Now!

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Discuss as you wish...


How Religion Gets Away With It

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A few Bible examples

I once asked a super devout Christian woman—she was really into it—where her beliefs came from. Without hesitation, she credited her mother with instilling the faith—who had inherited it, in turn, from her mother. That settled it, as far as she was concerned: the truth of her beliefs was securely anchored. But I had asked the question to find out how much the woman knew about Christian origins. How much did she know about the era and culture in which Christianity had been born?

My Interview with Seth Andrews, Host of The Thinking Atheist, On "The Case against Miracles"

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I just realized I hadn't posted this before. Enjoy.

Gary Habermas Recommends My Anthology On Miracles!

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This is pretty significant as Gary Habermas is probably the reigning evangelical apologist focusing on the resurrection, next to William Lane Craig and Mike Licona. If there is anyone who still fails to appreciate this anthology maybe Habermas might change their minds:
Christians need be aware of what non-Christian scholars are saying. In this thoughtful and stimulating volume, editor John Loftus brings together a number of the most accomplished atheists and other skeptics to deal with the crucial topic of miracles, an issue that is important on all sides. --Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Scholar & Chair, Dept. of Philosophy, Liberty University.
Gary tells me he's recommending this book to his students. My hat goes off to all the authors that helped make it such an excellent book!

Christianity, 10 Knockout Punches: Number 6

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Verifiable information about Jesus doesn’t exist

One of the best stories in the gospels is found in John 8. Jesus defends—and apparently saves—a woman who “was caught in the very act of committing adultery.” The religious busybodies who monitored such things brought her to Jesus, and wanted to know if he endorsed the “law of Moses,” which stipulated death by stoning for the crime. A picture of calm and compassion, Jesus answered, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Famously, he bent down to write with his finger on the ground, and when he straightened up, the accusers had slunk away:

How to Answer A Science Denigrating Apologist Like Matthew Flannagan

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We've seen this same MO before from Christian apologists who must denigrate science to believe, and along with it, the requirement for sufficient objective evidence for their miraculous extraordinary claims. Just look at the posts I've written about it right here. This fact alone, if you knew nothing else, should be alarming and cause you to doubt the healing power of the Christian snake oil they're peddling! In what follows is yet another attempt to sell that snake oil from a PhD named Matthew Flannagan, who fancies himself as knowledgeable when he's not. On Facebook atheist activist Tom Rafferty posted this meme:

What Was Your Pivot Point? Tom Flynn, Editor of Free Inquiry Wants to Know

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At the request of my friend Fellow Feather, and with Tom Flynn's permission, I'm sharing the entire text of Tom’s recent Op-Ed to Free Inquiry readers. It contains a very interesting challenge, which might be the subject of a lot of discussion in the years ahead. I've asked people for the issues that initially caused them to doubt, which are multifaceted since there are so many reasons to begin doubting. In this new pivot challenge the request is to share the pivot moment when you decided to walk away from your faith. In his Op-Ed Flynn shares his own pivot point along with those of two others, Dale O'Neal and Bart Erhman. Fellow Feather shared with me still more stories, from Robert Ingersoll at the age of 7, from Howard Van Till, who was forced to wake up to a drastically different God, and from Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins. Share your own pivot points in the comments if you wish.

Trump vs. Jesus

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In case you missed this, Trump specifically disagreed with Jesus — and did so during the annual National Prayer Breakfast!

That event's keynote speaker, Harvard's Arthur Brooks, argued for more unity in our politically divided country, saying that we need to go beyond mere tolerance and actually “love our enemies.” Which is, of course, something Jesus said. Trump, however, who immediately followed Brooks as speaker, began his talk by saying “Arthur, I don't know if I agree with you.”

This is the same guy who said that he has never asked for God's forgiveness — who in fact said that he doesn't “like to have to ask for forgiveness,” adding that he is “good” anyway.

And still evangelicals love him.

And not as an enemy.

Link1

Link2

Franz Kiekeben is a former lecturer in philosophy and the author of two books on atheism, The Truth about God, and Atheism: Q & A. He has also written for Skeptic magazine and published academic articles on determinism and on time travel.

Are Miracles Proof of God? Don’t. Go. There.

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Yet more theological incoherence

The religious bureaucrats who hovered around Jesus—and conspired against him—suspected that he performed miracles because he had help from demonic powers (Matthew 12:24): “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Supposedly they knew a thing or two about the hierarchy in the spiritual realm, and they assumed that anyone who could kick out demons had been deputized by Satan. Of course, Jesus didn’t see it that way at all, and got the better of demons whenever he had the chance. He ordered them about, as we find in the dramatic story in Mark 5: he transferred the demons into a herd of swine.

An Analysis of My Recent Debate On the Virgin Birth of Jesus

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I've already published my debate opener on the virgin birth right here. One of the best things about debates, for me anyway, is that they force me to write debate openers. They are succinct statements of why I don't believe. They will stand the test of time, even if public debates allow for the irrelevancies and non-sequiturs of my debate opponents to muddy the waters.

You Too Could Be Burning Dried Cow Dung!

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All that's required is to be born and raised a Hindu in Prayagraj, India! Now please tell me this, how would you persuade these men to reconsider their faith? The best answer is to use The Outsider Test for Faith. So if you use it on them, why not use it yourself? LINK

What Belongs in the Bible, and What Doesn’t?

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….for it to be “the good book”

Last June, here on this blog, Robert Conner spoke the truth: ‘The Bible really needed an editor with a shredder.” Even the most devout (honest) Christians would mutter, “Amen to that, brother.” They have tried to read the Bible cover-to-cover—and many have succeeded—but found it a trial: truly, an endurance test. Only fundamentalists will insist that all of it must, somehow, be the word of God—and that every story, for whatever reason, serves a purpose. Naturally, there are fundamentalist commentaries devoted to defending every last word and syllable.

Tonight's Debate Opener vs William Albrecht On "Was Jesus Born of a Virgin?"

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My debate opponent believes a virgin named Mary gave birth to a divine child named Jesus over two-thousand years ago. The most significant problem is that theologians cannot explain how a human being and a god can be one and the same, that is, 100% human and 100% divine, with every essential characteristic of humanity and divinity included. How can a god be a god if he has a body? How can an infinite timeless god exist in time? Conversely, how can a human be a human if he or she doesn’t have a body? How can a finite human take on eternal godlike characteristics and still remain a human being? How can a human be perfectly good incapable of being tempted to sin, and yet also be tempted to sin? Christians themselves have shown the incoherence of a divine/human being by their 2000 year long disagreements over it.

Make no mistake about it. This is what my debate opponent is aiming at in this debate. The virgin birth is a first step toward claiming Jesus was God incarnate. My aim is to stop him short of this first step, even though his case isn’t done until he tackles the second step, by dealing with some formidable philosophical objections to a divine/human being. With no such being there's no virgin birth either.

Let’s start by talking about the kind of evidence we need.


“How Great Thou Art” Doesn’t Work Anymore

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Wiped out by Darwin’s close study of nature


When David Attenborough was asked why he didn’t give God credit for the splendor of creation, he offered a good reason:

"They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

Attenborough’s suspicion of theism was shared by Charles Darwin, who wrote in a letter to Asa Gray in 1860:

Guilt by Association in the Age of Christian Theocracy

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My name is David Kyle Johnson. I am professor of philosophy at King’s College (where I teach, among other things, logic and philosophy of religion) and also a professor for The Great Courses. (My courses include Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, The Big Questions of Philosophy, and Exploring Metaphysics. All cover religious topics.) I am a former conservative evangelical who was liberated from the shackles of religion by philosophy, and am delighted to have been invited to write for “Debunking Christianity.” And for my first article, I’d like to defend an action I recently took: putting my name on an open letter.

Jack Van Impe, End-Times Preacher, Who Has Always Been Wrong About the Coming of Jesus, Dies at 88.

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Good riddance! Almost my entire life there he was, every week, predicting the return of Jesus based on this or that, with an overblown confidence and disregard for facts. He was never raptured into heaven above the earth somewhere. But he did escape the coming tribulation. Ha! LINK.

Open Letter to Evangelicals Demands an End to the Trump Cult!

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Christianity: Ten Knockout Punches, Number 5

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Which Monotheism? Which Christianity?

Would this be a good idea? From now on, all new Bibles should be expanded to include not just the Old and New Testaments, but also the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon. After all, the Old Testament is the sacred text of another religion, and it made it into the Christian canon. There are just under two billion Muslims in the world; how could that many people be wrong about the holy word of Allah? Don’t we have to take their scripture seriously? There are about 15 million Mormons in the world, roughly on a par with the number of Jews worldwide. How could we justify exclusion of the Mormon scriptures? Surely, they can’t all be wrong too. These branches of the original Abrahamic faith are confident God updates his word.

Was Jesus Born of a Virgin? A Debate.

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An interesting topic for debate. It should be a good one. From my experience with William Albrecht he'll nitpick me to death on an issue or two.

Bart Ehrman Argues For Agnosticism

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Suppose you WERE to think (whether imperialistically or arrogantly or not) that we are talking about levels of existence, from lower to higher: rocks, trees, non-human animals, and humans. The fact is that the lower ones can never know about the higher ones, what they really are, what they are capable of, how they exist, what they do, and so on. They can’t even conceptualize their existence.

Then what in the blazes should should make me think that I could possibly know if there was a higher order above me, superior to me in ways that I simply can’t imagine? Not just one order above me, but lots of orders? If there are such orders, there is no way I could ever know. Literally. Duh.

And so really, agnosticism is the ONLY option. Not in the sense of a shoulder shrug, “Hey, how would *I* know?” but in the sense of a deep thoughtful response – I have precisely no way to adjudicate the view, one way or the other. Facebook LINK.
My Response: Bart argues for a possibility. So, yes it might be possible that some nebulous god exists. But possibilities don’t count, especially when they lack objective evidence. You might as well say it’s possible we’re living in a Matrix or dreaming too. But it’s probable we aren’t. We should think exclusively in terms of the probabilities.

Such a god solves no problems that we cannot solve ourselves through science, nor does s/he act in the world in ways we can detect, nor does s/he guide our behavior with discernible morals we can learn from nature, nor does s/he set a good example for us given the amount of horrendous suffering in the world.

Ask yourself how your god-hypothesis might help us solve any problems that we cannot solve on our own. Without any utility such a god is unnecessary. Consider also what such a god has failed to do in the world and it’s clear s/he is an uncaring and even a terrible being, so that god isn’t worth our reverence or awe. If such a god exists we should ignore him/her or adopt Protest Theology, where we shame such a god for his/her lack of care. [Discuss].

Metaethics for Atheists

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There's a lot of confusion out there about metaethics. Case in point: I recently ran a promotion of my book Atheism: Q & A, and as a result received a one-star review on Amazon, apparently for no other reason than that the reviewer does not understand what I mean when I claim that morality is subjective. The review makes it clear he sees me as a relativist, for he objects to my position by pointing out that (contrary to what I supposedly imply) slavery is always wrong.

Part of the reason for that misunderstanding may be because many atheists do in fact espouse the kind of relativist view that my critic finds objectionable. But the main problem is the over-simplification that is common in popular discussions and writings on this topic. Most people seem to think there are only two main positions one can take: absolutism/objectivism, which states that there are moral principles that are true for everyone at all times, and relativism/subjectivism, which roughly says that what's right for one person may not be right for another. What's worse, some atheists appear to associate the absolutist view with religion (in effect implying that if one adopts such a position, it is only because of one's religious beliefs), and as a result insist on relativism. And of course, the religious more often than not criticize atheism on the grounds that it is incompatible with objective values, and thus can only lead to relativism.

In addition to all this, the terminology involved isn't used in a consistent way even by philosophers. There are specific views which everyone basically agrees on the meaning of (e.g., non-cognitivism, emotivism, intuitionism), but some of the broader terms are definitely used in more than one way — and none more so than “subjectivism.” No wonder, then, that there is so much confusion.

Isn’t This the Biggest Embarrassment in the New Testament?

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…and it’s a dangerous one too


How would many Christians today handle these two scenarios?

• Walking down the street, they approach a busy corner, where a man is yelling his message, “Please, people, pay attention, I promise you Jesus is going to arrive any day now. We’ll see him coming through the clouds! He’ll welcome you if you have repented.” Do they stop to listen, shake his hand, and thank him for spreading the word?

• The preacher on Sunday morning, surveying his/her well-dressed, suburban congregation, has a message that no one is expecting: “Please, everyone here, stop having sex. That goes without saying for you single folks, of course, but I mean married couples. Give up sex, right away, right now, because Jesus is coming soon, and you should focus only on that!” Do they shake the preacher’s hand eagerly as they exit the church, and thank him/her for the warning?

How Does One Avoid Bias? What If it's Impossible to Corroborate the Resurrection?

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From time to time I'll add some discussion about my anthology The Case against Miracles. Click on the Tag Case against Miracles below for more entries.

This comes from a discussion on Bart Ehrman's blog, which I've been made a temporary moderator.

Question:
How does one deal with and avoid a specific bias towards secularism in one’s intellectual work? I ask because there is no doubt such a bias exists, and there is no doubt that it debilitates rational thought just as readily as any other bias. The question is this: how do those of us who experience such a bias make sure our conclusions are not affected by a prejudiced reading of the evidence?

Loftus: The bias in deference to sufficient objective evidence is far superior to the bias in deference to what one was raised to believe, or in deference to mere 2nd 3rd 4th handed TESTIMONIAL evidence in the ancient pre-scientific superstitious world, which cannot be cross-examined for truth or consistency. Yes?

-----

Question: What if it's impossible to corroborate the resurrection of Jesus with objective evidence as you require?

Loftus: When it comes to believing in a resurrection from the dead in the distant superstitious past it requires strong and/or numerous pieces of corroborating objective evidence, unlike ordinary events. We don’t have it for the resurrection so there’s no reason to believe it.

It may even be impossible to corroborate a resurrection in the distant past, but that doesn’t change our need for sufficient objective evidence. Such a god should have waited until modern science had arrived for the ability to confirm it.

Reason itself demands this. If your god is a reasonable deity who desires us to be reasonable with the evidence, then when I say reason itself demands this, your god demands it. Or, your god created us to be reasonable people yet desires us to be unreasonable.

Religion Photos of the Year and Their Implications

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LINK. Here's one photo below. Christians in the West never honestly consider the implications of it. They cannot allow themselves to. So thinking about religion is not what they do. Honestly assessing their religion isn't something they do either. Belief is what they do! They could believe something totally different by virtue of when and where they were born, with no way to think themselves into the true religion, if there is one. To be honest with their inherited, culturally indoctrinated religion they must force their brains to do so. But they refuse, when deep down they know they should, which is being dishonest with their religion.

It is Hell for real, not just Dante's imagination…

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…This bottomless intellectual sewer…


I here reprint comments made by Robert Conner, responding to my article posted here yesterday, The Why-Bother Bible Factor. His reply was prompted by my observation, "But academic Bible study is a large, sturdy industry."

ROBERT CONNER:

The Why-Bother Bible Factor

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“…one of the curiosities of a tragic bibliolatrous age…”


In the dark interior of a cathedral in Spain, I once saw women, intensely in prayer, touching the frames of paintings depicting saints. The sense of touch must be helpful, a technique for connecting with divine power. No doubt this accounts for the appeal of relics, most of which are now kept behind glass. At least people can gaze at items that holy people have touched or owned—even parts of their bodies. Is this act of piety a way to ward off doubt, a safeguard against disbelief, i.e., venerating a fragment of God in full view? God has become visible.