Those Sinful Atheists

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A common criticism of atheism is that we atheists “just want to sin.” Dinesh D’Souza, for example, said that “the perennial appeal of atheism” is that it “liberates us for the pleasures of sin and depravity,” while Lee Strobel claimed that prior to becoming a Christian, he had a strong motivation for remaining an atheist — namely, a “self-serving and immoral lifestyle” that he would have to give up if he ever became a follower of Jesus.

Neil Carter's Fantastic Explanation Why It's So Hard Convincing Believers They're Wrong

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A Mash-Up of Cult Babble and Hallmark Moments

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Neatly packaged in one Bible chapter

It’s a shame that the apostle Paul didn’t live long enough to collect royalties on his feel-good aphorisms. They have been featured on greeting cards, embroidery, stained glass panels, e.g., “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer,” “Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good,” “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.”

It’s also a shame that Paul didn’t live long enough to find out that he had been wrong—dead wrong—about the centerpiece of his theology. He predicted, he promised, he preached passionately that Jesus would soon descend through the clouds to welcome his faithful remnant. He insisted that all Christians gear their lives to this eagerly anticipated event—he was really serious about this: “I, mean, brothers, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none…” (I Cor. 7:29).

The Bad Jesus Podcast: Part II

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The Mindshift podcast on The Bad Jesus: Part II is now available (free). This interview with Dr. Clint Heacock goes into greater depth on the question: “Did Jesus ever do anything wrong?” 
The episode also explains how the refusal or reluctance to admit that Jesus had any moral flaws still reflects a view of Jesus as divine, and not as the human being who should be the subject of historical inquiry within modern biblical scholarship.



I'm to Appear in a Full-Length Christian Documentary Film

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I was interviewed on Tuesday at our house by a Christian doing a full length documentary about medical miracles. Other skeptics who have been interviewed were James Randi, Michael Shermer and Michael Ruse. I gave them the contact info for Dr. Hector Avalos, who should also be interviewed, so let's hope that happens.

On the Christian side (eh, conservative evangelical side???) William Lane Craig, JP Moreland and Craig Keener have been interviewed. This should be interesting. I think I did well. Below is what I wrote in preparation for it. It didn't exactly follow the questions proposed, as it was a conversation. I did get many of these points in, and I thank everyone on Facebook for suggesting how to answer these questions.

Breaking Down Nothing

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Examining empirically defensible "nothings"

The question, "why is there something instead of nothing?" is popping up again here at Debunking Christianity. Let's explore what "nothing" might really mean...

The Mindshift Interview about The Bad Jesus

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I invite DC readers to check-out the Mindshift Podcast hosted by Dr. Clint Heacock, who completed his doctorate in biblical studies at the University of Chester (United Kingdom).
In this episode, Dr. Heacock interviews me about the Second Wave of the New Atheism, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics (2015), and biblical literacy.  Dr. Heacock also speaks about his journey away from Fundamentalism.






Fox News Perpetrates a Dangerous Myth About Atheists That Should be Vehemently Opposed by All Reasonable People

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People wonder why I debunk Christianity and think Christians are ignorant to believe without objective evidence. It's because as believers they lack the ability to be reasonable about many other life questions. If they live their whole lives without objective evidence then they'll believe a lot of other things without it.

The two women co-hosts in this video are stupid. And they are perpetrating a myth about atheists that is both false and dangerous.

Dumb Things Christians Say

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Nobody is exempt from dumb…but why is it a Christian specialty?
“Near the core of religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.” So said Carl Sagan in his 1986 essay, “A Sunday Sermon” (Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science). I guess it just comes naturally to religious folks to dig their heels in when cherished beliefs wilt under rational inquiry. And thousands of apologists, posing as parish pastors and credentialed Bible scholars, have risen to the challenge of coming up with slick excuses to protect the faith—and help the folks in the pews feel better. This combination of intense emotion and intellectual craftiness has combined to create a perfect storm of pervasive dumbness in the Christian ranks.

I have an essay based on my book "Unapologetic" in the current issue of Free Inquiry

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Quote of the Day On Emulating god, By Doubting Thomas

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If reality is a good indication of god's nature and, being good, we would like to emulate god's nature:

-God does nothing as people starve to death, therefore we shouldn't be charitable.

-God does nothing as people die of diseases, therefore we should get rid of medicine.

-God does nothing as crimes are committed, therefore we should abolish the police.

-God does nothing as houses burn, therefore we should abolish the fire department.

If god's nature is something we should strive to copy, it seems apathy is our best bet.

Is Everything Permitted? Atheism vs. the Divine Command Theory

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It’s a common claim that if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. In particular, those who accept some form of the Divine Command Theory (DCT) tend to say this. It’s not true, of course — but given what their theory implies, it is rather ironic that proponents of DCT claim such a thing.

Is Atheism a Religion Which Has No Evidence For it?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-) [Once again, why not?]

Q. My Christian faith will never succumb to the religion of atheism. Why can't you see there is just no evidence for it?

A. Your big mistake is in thinking the alternative to your sect-specific Christian faith is atheism, and that atheism is just as religious as your faith. This is most emphatically not the case. Atheists do not believe in supernatural beings or forces, so it's a denial of religion. If one can be religious yet deny the supernatural, the word "religious" loses any significant meaning. To say atheism is a religion is to assert by fiat, without evidence, that everyone is religious regardless of what they claim. We might as well return the favor and say everyone is an atheist, if that's the language game you wish to play.

More to the point, there are many alternatives to your faith, such as other Christianities, other non-Christian religious faiths, and the many other tribal religious faiths in different geographical locations.

That there are so many diverse religious faiths held by intelligent, and educated people, who cannot convince other religious people, leads some of us to back out of the whole religious scene by doubting them all. We are called atheists. We merely try to convince religious believers they should doubt religion as a whole like we've done, precisely because we've learned religion itself is a cultural by-product of an ancient primitive era that lingers on in our own era.

What About the Origins Of Suffering?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. Why don't you discuss the origins of suffering in the world that created situations like we saw with the Las Vegas massacre?

A. I do indeed do that. But as a caring parent would you ever seek to justify why your children were hurt because of someone else's actions? I very much doubt you would seek to do this, ever.

How Do I Know God Doesn't Intervene to Save Lives Every Day?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. Just because my god finds a reason not to intervene to save lives doesn't mean he doesn't do so. How do you know my god does not intervene to save lives every day? Yet when he chooses not to intervene, why do you blame him?

A. Has your god prevented any tragedies? One would reasonably suspect that if a perfectly caring all-powerful god exists, who wants reasonable belief unto salvation, s/he would prevent the most horrific tragedies from occurring. Since so many horrible tragedies occur every hour, including the horrible kill-or-be-killed law of predation in the natural world, you have no basis for saying your god prevented anything from happening. Yours is a faith statement meant to deflect the fact that you will say anything to continue believing.

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For more on the problem of suffering see my book How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist. I devote one third of it to the problem of suffering, where I destroy any attempt Christian apologists use to deflect this problem. Don't just take my word for it, see the blurbs written about it by two important believing scholars:

Atheists Are More Likely Than Theists To Consider the Evidence for Miracles

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. You say theism doesn't raise the probability that Jesus was raised from the dead. Why not? At least with theism believers hold to a miracle working god even if they disagree over which god exists.

A. Every atheist I know of, or have heard from, says they are open to the evidence that a miracle took place. In fact, I think atheists are more willing to consider the evidence of a miracle than theists who reject a different theist's miracle claim. Let's take the resurrection as our example. I'm not that open to the evidence because I've spent a lifetime looking for it and finding none exists (that is, nothing that counts as objective evidence). But I'm more open to it than Muslims and Jews. The reason is because of what faith does to the minds of believers. Faith deludes them into believing their faith is certain. Being certain their faith is correct, they are less likely to consider any evidence that Jesus arose from the dead, whereas atheists are at least willing to consider it (some more than others, of course).

Dodging Bullets from the Guns of the Las Vegas Massacre Shooter

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My heart goes out to the victims and families of the Las Vegas massacre, those who were not able to dodge the shooter's bullets, and those traumatized by the thought it could have been them. My younger brother lives in Vegas and his favorite musician is Jason Aldean. He didn't go to the concert. *Whew* It was good news to learn he dodged that bullet! No, I do not think god saved him. No, I do not think his life has some special purpose because he didn't go. Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes good happens.

But what would have been so wrong for a good all-powerful god to end the shooter's life with a heart attack just before shooting his first bullet? Then everyone would have dodged their bullets. This, my friends, is the problem of suffering that most believers are blithely unaware and unconcerned about.

Believers are now praying for the families of the victims and others affected. But if their god did nothing to help anyone beforehand it makes no sense to think their god will help them afterward! That's what deluded people do because of the need to believe against all evidence to the contrary. If it's possible for them to ever see that faith causes them to ignore objective evidence to the contrary, this is their best chance.

Science, Feelings, Evidence, Oh My!

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To be open-minded means being open to any objective evidence that could change your mind. Being open-minded means being open to the consensus of scientists who agree evolution is a fact, along with all that it implies. Being open-minded means thinking like a scientist, by seeking to disconfirm your feelings and intuitions by objective evidence to the contrary.

I cannot agree to disagree if it means allowing feelings and intuitions to determine what we think is true. They are notoriously wrong, yet they deceive nearly every person on the planet.

To anyone who disagrees I have a feeling you are dead wrong. Try to dispute my feeling without using any objective evidence. Then you will see how utterly unreliable subjective feelings can be when it comes to knowing anything objective about the universe we live in, how it operates, and where it came from. You'll clearly see that subjective feelings and intuitions immunize the brain from knowing the truth about the universe we live in.

Believers will ask, "Is objective evidence the grand arbiter of truth? Do you you have any objective evidence to support this claim or is it just a feeling??" The answer is simple and easy. There is overwhelming objective evidence that requiring objective evidence is the best and probably only way to know anything about the nature of nature, its workings and origins.

When I say believers cannot be reasoned with, this is what I mean!

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I get the kinds of comments you will read below, every single day. Note how easily it is for me to point out the delusion, and how easily sound logic based on solid evidence is dismissed by the believer. Truly a sight to behold!

Christian believers who say these stupidities outnumber by far, into the millions, Christian intellectuals who are more sophisticated due to being more obfuscationist. They claim I should deal with how THEY reason, rather than rank and file believers. I indeed do that, but this is how THEY would reason without the obfuscationism. Christian intellectuals--that is, Christian obfucationists--do exactly what Orthodox Jewish obfucationists and Muslim obfucationists do. They obfuscate to make what they believe more palatable. But deep down, the real reasons they believe can be seen by paying attention to what rank and file believers say, for after all, they were once part of the rank and file, that is, before they learned how to twist logic on behalf of faith.

Quote of the Day by Chuck Johnson

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"God only exists as a fictional character. He is a dummy, and religionists put words into his mouth. Therefore, it is easy to show that God created evolution or anything else. All you have to do is say so and it magically becomes true."

Theism and the Odds Jesus was Raised From the Dead

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Theism does not increase the odds that Jesus was raised from the dead, since one can be a theist and still think the evidence is insufficient to believe. Jews and Muslims reject the resurrection hypothesis just as surely as atheists and agnostics do.

“In God We Trust” Is Hot Air…and It Got Us Into this Mess

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The advance of the anti-science, anti-democracy barbarians

My shift to atheism got a boost when I was in seminary. Classes in theology especially stirred up doubts—the last thing that was supposed to happen. The Ecclesiastical-Academic Complex (as Hector Avalos puts it) exists to manufacture clergy, those legions of preacher-apologists who can help folks in the pews outmaneuver their doubts.

But in my coursework I discovered that theology was longwinded on what God was like, but short of breath on epistemology: where can we find reliable, verifiable data about God? Well, that was asking too much: “We rely on prayer, revelation, intuition, the holy spirit speaking to us.” Really? You expect to get away with that forever?

Quote of the Day By koseighty

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The Bible is the CLAIM, not evidence.

Roy Moore

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Roy Moore, the controversial former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, famous for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building, is now a nominee for the U.S. Senate. In case some here aren’t all that familiar with him, here are some of his views:

It's Presuppositionalism All the Way Down!

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How do believers know there's a god? Because of supposed miracles. Yet miracles are impossible in the natural world without a supernatural god (i.e., a natural explanation is required when there is no god). Therefore believers have to presuppose god to verify miracles. Presupposing a god to justify unverifiable miracles--which in turn provides the reason for believing in god--is what we mean by the delusion of faith (i.e., pretending to know things you don't know). Apologists can try to claim they're not presuppositionalists all they want, but they are preuppositionalists nonetheless.

Dr. Richard C. Miller On Fantasy, Bayes and the Impossibility of Miracles

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Dr. Miller recently began blogging at Hume's Bible, an important resource for the rest of us. In his most recent post he writes On the Impossibility of Miracles. This is something I've been addressing.

Miller starts by saying, "We measure human rational sanity by one’s consistent success in distinguishing clearly between fantasy and reality" and then gives an example with regard to alleged miracle claims. "Miracles, by very definition, are natural, rational impossibilities." "For, if a claim had empirical support, would we not classify such a proposal as indeed natural, not supernatural?" So he goes on to say, following Hume,
Here we may choose to end the argument, claiming a quite reasonable conclusive victory. Miracles, by very definition, are natural, rational impossibilities. When someone claims a miracle has occurred, we respond by saying that “there must be some rational explanation.” By doing this, we are implicitly recognizing as a society that miraculous claims are essentially irrational, i.e., a miraculous proposition contains one or more a priori contradictions with regard to its constituent terms (Italics mine).
This last phrase of his is very interesting. If we wish to assign a non-zero mathematical prior probability to a miracle claim, we cannot do it. For doing so means assigning a mathematical probability to something that is contradictory. Reading his explanation is worth the price of a click and a share.

The Nasty, Get-Even God of the New Testament

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A few items that the cherry-pickers don't pick

On a recent post here I asked how the apostle Paul could possibly have known that there are “spiritual” bodies; this claim, of course, is yet another clue that his grip on reality was shaky at best (and I do exclude his hallucinations of the risen Jesus as a source of data). But a Christian apologist had a simple answer: that God had told him. Silly me, why didn’t I think of that? But let’s play Spot-the-Flaw: “My advice to believers who are sure they felt a god or heard a god’s voice is to be skeptical and remember that believers have been hearing those same whispers from many gods for many centuries.” (Guy Harrison, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God)

Here's How To Bring Science Down To Philosophy

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Here's yet another attempt to bring science down to the level of controversial philosophical opinions. I call bullshit! The money quote:
I think it is helpful for students to realize that there is a lot more agreement and objectivity in philosophy, and a lot more controversy and subjectivity in science, than they think. This is perhaps the most obnoxious misconception that I routinely encounter… The problem is that in all of their prior classes in science, students encounter the settled truth of science. LINK.

Empirical Proof that Christianity Is False?

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Split-brain patients are individuals who have had the corpus callosum (which connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain) severed. This causes the individual to have two centers of both perceptual and motor activity. Each side of the brain may give a different answer to the same question.

In the video clip below, neurologist V. S. Ramachandran discusses a split-brain individual whose right hemisphere believed in God and whose left hemisphere did not.

Where the Bible Gets it Really Wrong

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The batshit crazy theology of the apostle Paul: four texts


John Loftus has displayed his skill at backhanded compliments with his comment that “…it takes a great deal of intelligence to defend Christian theism, because Christianity cannot be defended without a great deal of mental contortionism” (The End of Christianity, p. 92).

Apologists do indeed rise to the occasion. They have a broad menu of absurdities to choose from, but their ultimate challenge must be the writing of the apostle Paul.



Of course, Paul has a lot going for him: the high drama of his Damascus Road conversion (we find three versions of this episode in the Book of Acts—but Paul never mentions it in his letters); nothing could hold him back from preaching the gospel: “Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits…” (II Corinthians 11:24-26)

And of course, he got to be a “saint”—which tarnishes that coin considerably.