Arguments for God: What’s Wrong With Christianity?

I found two new websites this weekend that I’ve decided to follow: a blog called “Debunking Christianity” and a website called ExChristian.net.  I’m planning on delving into them more, but in a cursory look, it seems like there are some common objections on these websites to Christianity.

Michelangelo Creation

If one doesn’t closely examine the claims of Christianity, and make a thorough investigation with an open mind, there are three areas in which these common objections take shape:

Intellectual Objections
In this category of objections to Christianity are issues like the existence of evil, the silence of God in the face of evil (which I dealt with in an earlier post), and some seemingly incongruences between religion and science.  Most or all of these objections can be met and answered if a person investigates Christianity with an open mind and is genuinely looking for the truth.

Emotional Objections
There are some emotional objections that keep some people from accepting Christianity.  These include Christianity’s exclusivity claim (that Christianity is the only way to heaven), the doctrine of hell (that unbelievers will go to hell), and Christian hypocrisy.  In fact, Christian hypocrisy is a huge impediment for some people. 

How many times have you heard someone say, “I grew up in a Christian home, and heard all the preaching, and even considered myself a Christian, but then I saw all these Christian around me that weren’t living like how they were preaching, so I left the faith.  Christianity is just so full of hypocrites.”  I wrote about the issue of Christian hypocrisy in an earlier post.

Volitional Objections
Lastly, there are some volitional (will) issues that keep people from accepting Christianity.  This is primarily the problem of Christian morality.  People don’t want to accept that they will have to change their behavior once they accept Christ.  They believe that they will be giving up their freedom to become a Christian.  They don’t want to relinquish the control that they have over their life to an unseen God.  These people believe that accepting Christ would require them to change their friends, beliefs, habits, and priorities, and are unwilling to change these things.  Here’s a quote from ExChristian.net:

Growing up in a Christian home I had seen and heard it all: the ranting and preaching from family members and church pastors of how faithful and loving god was; how if you just had more faith he will work things out in your life; you would grow closer to him and that things would get better if you continued your walk with him, etc.; That he had a plan for each of us but he never forces it on you, because of our own choice of free will; that he is all knowing, loving, merciful and a oh just so great invisible god!

The reality is I spent most of my adult life trying but never being able to live up to his and others perceived high expectations for righteous and godly living. The faith that I lacked just reinforced my feelings of guilt and inadequacy and I feel damaged emotionally to this day from my experiences with the faith.

While many people think that their objections to Christianity are intellectual, the truth is, most people reject Christianity because of emotional or volitional reasons.  I believe that, if a person makes a thorough investigation of the intellectual objections to Christianity, I think they will find that the claims of Christianity stand up to the closest scrutiny.

Questions: If you’re a non-Christian, what objections do you have to Christianity?  If you’re a Christian, what objections have you encountered?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.

This post is in my series called “Cross Examination: Is Debunking Christianity Possible?”  I’m looking at a myriad of topics in the rational examination of my faith, and will write at least one post per week for the next year.  If you would like to read some of the previous posts in this series, click on the links below: 

  • jordan walter

    Glad you asked!

    Leadership comes from having the moral high ground. Period. If people do not except your vision of the moral high ground, no amount of charisma or strategy will save you. The leader is doomed if the *MESSAGE* is doomed. Here’s some hints in your losing “Leadership” battle.* Embrace Diversity & Acceptance (including OPEN support for GAY MARRIAGE)* Embrace Humanism (prioritize values of CHARITY, HUMILITY, and GRACE, in that order)* Make it clear that HATE is EVIL by FORBIDDING ITIf you have a problem with passionately singing about ALL of the above three, you need to change your tune.May I suggest:Lady Gaga – Born This Way (YOUTUBE)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV1FrqwZyKwLady Gaga – Black Jesus † Amen Fashion (Audio) (YOUTUBE)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWL4u3Exiq8And just for kicks (with passion):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD0XvCaPrRoSociety is not changing fast enough, and I’m impatient.

    • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

      So Lady Gaga is your example for morality??

      • Anonymous

        I suppose all the murder, pillaging and forced abductions by the Israelites toward other tribes was okay.  After all, they are God’s chosen seed and God told ’em to do it, right?

      • The Truth Seeker

        I don’t know about Lady Gaga, but people can be moral without God.  The Greeks did it, the Chinese did it, the Egyptians did it and all before Christianity was ever around.  All of us have an innate morality.  That morality does not come from God or Christianity.  It is in your brain and if you use it properly you will be moral.  Christians act like morality comes from Christianity and without a belief in God there would be no morality.  I have shown above that communities that existed before Christianity was ever on the scene knew what morality was. 

        There are many examples of morality before Christianity existed.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          If God existed at the beginning of the world, then this “innate morality”
          could have come from God, couldn’t it? Christian claim to worship the God
          that created the universe, so it would seem that Christianity has been a lot
          longer than you’re saying it has (though perhaps not in the form that you
          talk about).

          • Anonymous

            Robert,

            Would you mind sharing with us which church you belong to?  I don’t need to know the specific name of your church, but I am curious which denomination you belong to.  Are you Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or some Protestant denomination?   

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sure. I belong to an non-denomination Protestant church.

          • Anonymous

            Interesting.  Do you believe the Holy Spirit guides your church re. faith and doctrine?

          • The Truth Seeker

            If your premise is accepted that God existed at the beginning of the world then this innate morality could have come from him.  Unfortunately we have no evidence that God did exist at the beginning of the world.  All we have are arguments from “Design”.  If you keep going back far enough in time and continue to ask what caused this event you get back to the first cause which is God.  Then you can ask where did God come from?  Your answer would be he always existed.  I say that energy and mass always existed and it did not take an intervention by God to start the Universe with the Big Bang.  So where does that leave us?  Basically in a stalemate since neither one of us can prove our premises. 

            But I contend that you can go back to the Bible and Christianity and show that there are fallacies and distortions in both.  If that can be shown to be true, then there is no overwhelming evidence that we should accept the Bible and Christianity as true. 

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            “Of course, if Satan existed at the beginning of the world, then this “innate morality” could have come from Satan, couldn’t it?”

            Bob, on the front page you mentioned your visit to exchristian.net and commented on the contributors’ use of bad logic. 

            Your logic in the original comment you made about the source of innate morality, which I have changed is not a shining example of expertise in rationality and argumentation technique.

            My amended version retains just as much logical validity as your original and I would be interested to hear whether you reject my version and your logical  reasons for doing so.

            Peace,

            David

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            David, thanks for your comment. I didn’t say that they use bad logic; I
            said that they used “disjointed” logic. What I meant by that was that they
            use a combination of ad hominem attacks, emotional logic, and intellectual
            theories. One can say, “This guy’s a loony and needs to be kicked off our
            site,” and that would be an ad hominem attack. One can say, “I don’t
            understand how Christians can believe in a God that condones killing,
            murder, rape and slavery,” and that would be an argument from emotion.
            True, it’s rooted in some intellectual questions, but that argument in
            itself is not an intellectual argument. You can also say, “The Bible has
            historical problems with it,” and that would be an intellectual argument.

            When I said that the commenters’ arguments were “disjointed,” I meant that
            they often used a combination of all three of these, which results in a…
            well… disjointed argument.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Thanks for your response, Bob.

            You did not address why your reject my amended version of your statement and the logical rather than emotional grounds for doing so.

        • Anonymous

          Here is a prime example:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi

          Hammaurabi was around long before Mosaic law was codified.  He did not cite the God of the Bible as his source of inspiration. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/cmoney442 Corey Lord

    I’m an atheist because I can be a good person with out god or Christianity.  It has nothing to do with whether I want to change my lifestyle because I actually have seen Christians who are more immoral than myself.  It also has nothing to do with not understanding why god doesn’t do anything in the face of evil because there is no god.  Once you understand that atheists don’t have any belief in any god then the objections make sense.  To me it seems like you’re directing this article to non-Christians who are still religious and believe in a higher power.  I don’t believe in any higher power.  So your objections aren’t complete without the atheist objection.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Thanks for your comment, Corey. What would you say the atheist objection
      is? Just that there is no god? How do you come to that conclusion?

      I think that, in order to be firm in your non-belief, you must disprove the
      claims about Christ. That means that you must deal with the three
      objections that I list above:
      1. What intellectual objections (if any) do you have to God?
      2. What emotional objections (if any) do you have to God?
      3. What volitional objections (if any) do you have to God?

      A volitional objection to God might also take the form of an apathetic view
      towards God: “I really don’t want to investigate God, because then I might
      have to change my beliefs.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/cmoney442 Corey Lord

        The atheist objection is simple.  There is no god.  There is no proof for god’s existence.  There is no need for god in human existence.  It is very easy to disprove the claims about Christ.  Give me any claim and it can be disproven.  I suppose most atheist objections do fall into the intellectual category you mention however, your rebuttal to the intellectual objections is still based in something that atheists don’t have and that is faith in the supernatural.  The volitional objection you mention above doesn’t make sense either, because I used to be Christian and I used to believe in a god.  But then I realized that it didn’t make any sense to and that our lives our totally in our hands and nothing can take that away. 

        The purpose for religion has been clear since day 1.  To explain the unexplainable.  “Why does the sun move across the sky”, “Well because that is so-and-so god’s face gliding across the sky”.  Other questions like what happens when you die, where does life come from, etc.  All of those questions are answered by religion.  However, atheists don’t take a position that those questions need to be answered unless there is science behind it.  What does it matter what happens when you die?  Why do you care how life started?  To us they are silly questions that aren’t necessary in today’s world. 

        • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

          I have had many of these debates with Atheist before and with most it hinges on who has the burden of proof…does the Atheist have the burden of proof to prove God does not exist or does Christianity have the burden of proof to show God does exist? Both sides believe they are correct and so they think it is up to the other side to convince them otherwise. 
           
          I am going to be put this frankly…being an Atheist, believe that there is NO god at all, and makes ZERO sense. Now, if you are simply lazy and don’t care to think about it that is one thing, but having the active thoughtfully belief that there is NO god does not follow any form of logical thought.  You say “Why do you care how life started?” My question is, when do we stop caring about the past?  How many years ago? Do we care about dinosaurs; do we care how they went extinct?  Atheists do not like to talk about how everything started because there is no other logical explanation for how life started without an eternal God.  Whether you believe in a 7 day creation or a big bang; life, matter, atoms whatever can not create itself because to create, first something must BE.  So it creates a problem, you can’t have a Big bang without matter and matter can not exist with first BEING, but how did it get there? This principal creates a need for God which is why Atheist say it doesn’t matter. 

          • Anonymous

            Broc,

            If you are going to follow that line of reasoning, you MUST be prepared to tell us where God came from.  Simply claiming that God always existed is the epitome of intellectual laziness.  Frankly speaking, it is a cop-out, and every creationist I know falls back upon it when questioned.

            1.  Tell us where God came from.
            2. Provide ANY irrefutable evidence that humans have a soul.

            I will be eagerly awaiting your replies.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

            Hence my first paragraph, each side wanting the other to prove the validity of their side, Could I simply respond with “prove humans don’t have souls?” sure but that will not forward the debate.
             
            Here is the difference, by God always existing it does not break the laws of physics, because God is God, he is a higher power not bound by the rules and laws of man.  To argue the other the side, that life simply began without a higher power is to argue that the very foundation of what we know of science is invalid. It is to argue that matter can simply create itself. Remember “matter can be neither created nor destroyed.”
             
            In the absence of “evidence” for or against God’s existence, why do you choose NOT to believe in a creator? Just as you say I can “prove” god exist, you can not “prove” that he does not…so why do you chose NOT to believe in a creator. I am not asking to defend your position but explain the reason for your position.

          • Anonymous

            Broc,

            Do you accept the widely held Judeo-Christian claim that God’s ways are mysterious to men?  If you do, you can not characterize God because His ways are, in fact, mysterious.  The fact is that unless God personally revealed Himself to you, you have no idea what God may really be like other than by observing how other humans have characterized God based upon their claims that God revealed Himself to them. 

            Carl Sagan argued that the universe may not have required a creator because, in fact, the matter and energy contained in the  universe may have always existed (in some form).  The “Big Bang” may have involved the transformation of matter and energy on a grand scale, but it doesn’t mean that the matter and energy in the universe didn’t not previously exist in some form.  If the universe did not spring into existence out of nothing, then it certainly did not need a creator.

            <<>>

            It is impossible to prove a negative.  You claim God exists.  I did not claim God does not exist.  I claim that I have insufficient evidence to believe God exists.  You make the bold claim.  You provide the bold evidence.

            You are apparently a Christian.  You apparently believe in God.  I want you to provide irrefutable evidence to me that:

            1. God exists
            2. You and I have a soul

            I am waiting, and I will NOT simply take it on a matter of FAITH that your claims are true until you provide hard evidence.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

            matter and energy always exsisted….interesting thoery…scienctically impossible but interesting
             
            gotta head home from work, catch you tom.

          • Anonymous

            Broc,

            You made the assertion that God exists outside the laws of physics.  The laws of physics (as we understand them) were characterized by people based upon their repeated observations of the physical world in which we live.  Neither you or I know what state that matter and energy may have been in before the “Big Bang” (assuming the “Big Bang” was an actual event).  Therefore, you have no basis for asserting that the perpetual existence of matter and energy is impossible.  Scientists were not around to observe what existed before or during the “Big Bang”, so perhaps matter and energy did exist before then in some form.  None of us know.

            You didn’t address anything else I asked.  I look forward to your candid replies on each point.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Pray expand upon why it is scientically (sic) impossible for matter and energy to have always existed.

            It is my understand of physics that neither matter nor energy may be destroyed – implying permanence.

            From which university did you receive your physics degree?

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

            Is it your belief that the universe had no beginning?

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Please answer my question.

            Why is it scientifically impossible for matter and energy to have always existed?

            I realise that I did not frame it as a question, but you made the claim and I asked for clarification.

            I am seriously interested in the science behind your claim.

          • The Truth Seeker

            Broc, the burden of proof for any argument is on the person who makes a claim.  Christians make the claim that there is a God.  Atheists respond there is not a God.  Christians make the first claim so the burden of proof is on them. 

            After that I must say that its probably impossible to prove that God exist or he doesn’t.  What we have to rely on is the evidence.  The evidence shows that many of Christianity claims are not true and disobey the laws of physics.  The evidence also shows that there are many contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible.  If that is true, and it can be shown to be true, why believe in anything that comes from the Bible. 

            If you haven’t already done so, you might try reading “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.  They conclude that there isn’t any reason that God was needed to creat the universe.  The mass and energy were always there and had condensed to such a high density that an explosion occurred which is “The Big Bang”.  The universe is known to be expanding and perhaps there will be a time when it collapses on itself going back to its original positon waiting for another Big Bang to happen. 

          • Anonymous

            I have no problem with their being a CREATOR, but I don’t believe in the myth of the biblegod.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Broc,

            You avoid the issue by raising red herrings and straw men.

            the question Corey raised was evidence for the existence of god and the utter absence of it. To then witter on about whether or not you are able to believe in a beginning or not is irrelevant.

            You have been asked to supply evidence of the existence of god and you have been asked to do so by someone who displays far more honesty than you. I am certain that Corey, like me, would revise his atheist position were you, or anyone else, to provide irrefutable evidence of god’s existence. 

            Please do so and stop beating around the bush. If you cannot do so, please be honest enough to admit that you cannot do so.

            You are making the extraordinary claim so yes, the burden of proof is upon you.

            Your comments about the big bang are both crass and ignorant. Big Bang Theory does not actually say that there was nothing in existence before the big bang, merely that it was in a form of matter/energy which is not the same as the form we are familiar with. 

            The most obvious response to your position is to ask, “What created god?” You immediately fall back on your theory of eternal existence, which is a denial and contradiction of your position in re. matter and its eternal existence, as proposed by BBT.

            One gets the feeling that you make all of this up as you go along, believing that God, in his Holy Spirit persona, is providing you with wisdom and knowledge. One also gets the feeling that you are unaware of just how ignorant you appear to be.

            I asked Robert where he received his degree in physics and cosmology. He has refused, so far, to answer. Would you be so kind as to tell us where you received your degree in these fields?

            Peace,

            David

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            David,

            A few questions:
            1. If I were to claim a degree in physics, how would you go about verifying
            it’s authenticity?
            2. The significance of a degree in physics is… to create authority? Or
            the absence of such a degree is to… show that we’re idiots or simpletons?
            3. Is a degree in physics or cosmology necessary to answer questions about
            the beginning of the world? Do I need to have a degree in physics or
            cosmology in order to know the truth? Or, do you have to lean on the
            understanding of people that DO have degrees in physics?

            BTW, I do NOT have a degree in either physics or cosmology (as I believe has
            been pointed out by someone else in this string). What is your academic
            pedigree, if you care to share?

      • The Truth Seeker

        Which claims about Christ are you referring to?  That he died and was ressurected?  There is no proof that that occurred except in the Christian Biible.  I have already stated that the Bible is inconsistent and contradictory so why should we believe anything it says.  I don’t know if it is worth my time trying to separate my objections into intellectual, emotional, and volitional.  I think I have already documented my objections so you can tell me what these are.   I think my objections are reasonable and logical and I think they are based on historical events. 

      • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

        To be firm in your belief in god, you must have evidence of the object of your belief.

        Do you have such, and what is it?

        To be firm in a lack of belief in a god, one has only to appeal to the lack of evidence for said god.

        Why do you not believe in Baal, Thor or Poseidon?

        • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

          Yet another question that Bob refuses to answer.

          Let me rephrase:

          On the basis of what evidence, Bob, do you not  not believe in Baal, Thor or Poseidon?

      • Anonymous

        “I think that, in order to be firm in your non-belief[SNIP]….”

        Honestly, what does it even mean to say,  “firm in your non-belief”? Non-belief is the default position. 

        contin…“[….] you must disprove the claims about Christ.”

        I don’t harbor a belief in large-footed community apes, AKA, “Bigfoot”. To be “firm” in my “non-belief” in Bigfoot, must I disprove the claims about Bigfoot? Or is it okay, reasonable,  and “firm” enough that I suspend belief until the people making claims about Bigfoot’s existence prove those claims? Which? ‘Just curious.

  • http://exchristian.net The Truth Seeker

    A number of questions I have pertain directly to the Catholic Church.  This doesn’t mean, however, that the Protestant churches are not guilty of some of the same things the Catholic Church was guilty of.  Also, remember that most of what Protestants believe is what Catholics believe with the exception of the Papacy and some of the sacraments associated with the Catholic Church.
     
    1.       Modern scholars believe that Jesus was an apocalypticist much like John the Baptist who probably was Jesus’ mentor.  On a number of occasions, Jesus predicted that the Kingdom of God was coming even before some of his disciples died.  If Jesus, who was supposedly God Incarnate, didn’t know when the Kingdom of God was coming, how can we really believe he was God Incarnate?   
    2.       Because there were many struggles in the early Christian era between the orthodox (Today’s Catholics), the Ebbionites, the Marcionates, and the Gnostics, scripture was not canonized until the fourth century.  There is evidence to show that the Orthodox re-wrote the scriptures to agree with their beliefs and destroyed all evidence of the writings of the other three competing groups. 
    So how do we know that the Orthodox version of the Bible is the correct one?
    3.       The Gospels were not written until anywhere from 35 to 60 years after Jesus’ death.  Until that time, stories about Jesus were told and retold through the oral tradition.  We know that when events are told and re-told some of the details get lost or are misinterpreted.  How can we have confidence that after 35-60 years there weren’t many details that were lost and misinterpretations made about the events in the life of Christ?
    4.       The authors of the four gospels are unknown, yet they are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  For centuries the Roman Catholic Church persisted in claiming that they were really written by these authors and did not tell the Catholic laity or anyone else about this.  The Catholic clergy during the middle ages were the elite since they were literate and most of the people they served weren’t and that allowed the clergy to tell their parishioners just about anything they wanted to and the parishioners believed it since these were the chosen ministers of Christ’s church.  How much the people were taken advantage of we find out during the Protestant Reformation. 
    5.       We do not have original copies of the New Testament.  In fact we do not have copies of the copies nor copies of the copies of the copies.  We know that the books of the Bible were hand copied again and again through the middle ages until the printing press was invented.  We also know that some of these scribes altered the scriptures to coincide with their beliefs. How do we know that there weren’t accidental mistakes in these copies or additional materials added to these copies? So how can we have confidence in the veracity of the scriptures handed down to the modern age?
    6.       We know that the authors of the Gospels were unknown.  Paul is one of the few authors that we can believe that actually wrote the letters to his communities and churches.  Paul supposedly wrote 13 books of the New Testament, but biblical scholars think that only 6-7 of these books can be shown to be his writings.  There were a lot of writings that claimed to be written by Paul and Peter that actually weren’t.  Some of these books which claimed to be written by the Apostles were canonized and believed to be true.  Later findings and studies showed that they weren’t.  How can we have any confidence in any of the books of the Bible if some were forged? 
    7.       There are so many contradictions and inconsistencies in the New Testament that it is hard to determine what is truth and what is fiction.  For hundreds of years the Protestants and Catholics both claimed that the Bible was the inspired word of God, that it was inerrant and that every word in it was to be taken literally.  That view did not change much until the modern era when the scientific method was applied to historical events and theology and many of these rigid and inflexible views were proven to be inaccurate.   
    8.       Why is it that miraculous events stopped with Jesus and the Apostles and there has been no real evidence of God interacting with either Christians or Jews since that time? Why is it that there has been no scientific proof of miracles in the modern age?   Can anyone specify a scientifically verified miracle?  I don’t mean someone who is deathly ill and he suddenly recovers.  That is not scientifically verifiable that he was healed for no other reason than faith and prayer.  I don’t mean personal testimony about someone claiming to have seen a miracle.  If God really wanted us to believe there was a God, wouldn’t there be some way to determine that?  Reference to the Biblical miracles does not mean they actually occurred.  Anyone could have made up those stories and then said thousands of people witnessed these miracles.  That could just be made up.
    9.       Why is it that modern so-called miraculous and supernatural events can be shown as either  a natural event or as scams or frauds?  Couldn’t this be true of these same kinds of events in Jesus’ era?
    10.   We know that Biblical events such as the creation, the great flood, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Jesus casting out demons and having them transferred to a group of pigs who then ran off the edge of a cliff, and many other myths are not true.  If we can’t believe in these things actually happening then how can we believe that other events in the Old and New Testament are true?
    11.   Isn’t it probably true that the demons who possessed people during Christ’s time on earth were probably people who were mentally sick?  Weren’t these more than likely the equivalent to the poor people today who are paranoid schizophrenics and who wander the streets as homeless vagabonds?
    12.   It appears to me that the God of the Old Testament is entirely different from the God of the New Testament.  The God of the Old Testament was angry, vengeful, and blood thirsty.  On several occasions this God ordered the Israelites to wipe out entire settlements including men, women and children.  On many occasions this God was angry with the Israelites and punished them by letting them go into captivity and slavery under the Egyptians and the Babylonians.  The Israelites suffered greatly during these periods and many were killed and murdered by their oppressors. It appears to me that the Old Testament writers portrayed God as just another angry and vengeful person.  There is none of the love and do unto others as you would have them do unto you in the Old Testament.  Are we to assume that God changed his ways in the New Testament?
    13.   Why is it that the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages waged war with the Muslims under the leadership of the Popes, the earthly representative of Christ?  Thousands upon thousands of Christians and Muslims lost their lives during the three crusades that were made under the leadership of the head of the Christian Church, the Pope. 
    14.   Why is it that the Catholic Church sanctioned the torture and murder of many innocent victims during the various Inquisitions?
    15.   Why is it that the Catholic Church during the 15th and 16th century became so corrupt that they were taking money from poor Christians just so they could buy their way out of purgatory?
    16.   Why is it that the Christian church for centuries persecuted the Jewish religion and blamed the Jews for killing God?  The Christian Church believed that the Jews killed God and therefore their covenant with God was broken and that the Christian religion became the new chosen religion of God and that the new covenant was between God and the Christians.  If that is the case, what is the Jewish religion?  Is it a religion damned to hell for killing God?  That this really happened during past periods was shown to be true by Pope John Paul II making a formal apology to the Jews for the unjust persecution that was conducted over many centuries. 
    17.   Why is it that the Roman Catholic Church for centuries has covered up the molestation of young boys by Catholic Priests who were supposed to be setting an example for these young boys?  Why have these pedophiles been allowed to stay in the Catholic Religion even when it was known that they were pedophiles? Did God wish this to happen to these young boys and have it ruin some of their lives?
    18.   If God is all merciful and all loving, then why has he allowed millions of innocent people to die of starvation, disease, and subjugation to evil dictators and murder over the past two millennia?  Where is the justice in all of this?
    19.   Where are the justice, mercy and love of God letting 6 million Jews be exterminated during World War II?
    20.   Why do we pray to God to be delivered from disease and anything else under the sun?  If God specifically answered some prayers and not others, that doesn’t seem fair.  If God interacted with the human race during the early centuries of recorded history, why isn’t he interacting with us now?
    21.   Why is it that there is no recorded history or mention of Christ outside the New Testament?  There were many Roman and Jewish historians during that era so why didn’t they write about Christ and the miracles that he was supposed to have done? Supposedly many people witnessed Christ’s miracles so why didn’t they tell a known historian about these events or write them down themselves if they were literate?
    22.   Isn’t it likely that if there were a God he would leave some sort of evidence that could be uncovered by this modern age to show that He exists? It’s not enough to have someone go around proclaiming on TV or Radio or personally that God and Jesus have come into his life and changed it.  Nothing like that has ever happened to me and I have prayed to God for a long time. 
    23.   If Christianity believes it has the true belief, it must believe that or there wouldn’t be any adherents to the faith; how does Christianity view Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other various sects around the world who are not Christian? 
    24.   If religion is a gift from God, why have most of the wars during human history been started because of religion? 
    25.   For over two millennia Christians have been praying to God for peace.  Over these same two millennia we have seen the most brutal wars of religion take place and they are still taking place today.  Does God have his ears plugged?  What about when Christ said that when two or more are gathered together and pray in his name, he will answer their prayers.  Does Christ have his ears plugged too?
    26.   How do Christians explain the discrepancy about the length of time for the creation and history of man to take place?  Christians claim the world to be about 6000 years old.  Compare this to what science says.  Scientific evidence shows that the world is about 4.5 billion years.  What scientific evidence do Christians have to back up a 6,000 year old earth?
    27.   To my way of thinking, there are only three possible answers to all of the above questions.
    a.       There is no God
    b.      Everything that happens God means to have happen but it is a mystery to us why it all happens.  We must have faith in Christ and only through God’s grace can we be saved.
    c.       God does not interfere in worldly matters. 
    28.   Item c. cannot be true since we know from the Bible that God has intervened in worldly matters all during the Old Testament and when God became incarnate in Christ. Therefore either Item a. or b. is true.  If b. is true, then there is no way of ever making sense of the world and no matter what we do we will never understand what goes on in this world.  Item b. cannot be true since we learn more about the world and why things happen with each passing generation.  If we have faith and believe in things that are not verifiable, then we are no different than the polytheistic pagans who lived so long ago. 
    29.   For me, the only logical answer is answer a. – there is no God. 
    30.   I am not closed in my belief that there is no God.  If scientific evidence arises to show that there is a God, I will respect that and change my mind. 
    31.   Theoretically speaking I am an agnostic and a humanist because I don’t think that proof exists for no God or a God.  I look at the evidence and the evidence so far does not look good for there being a God.
     

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Thanks for putting these questions here. These questions will guide my
      research.

    • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

      I think it is important to make one large distinction about being a Christian; is not about a religion, it is about being in a personal relationship with God.  It is not about he man-made organizations the Catholic/Protestant churches.  Just as the “religious” Pharisees at the time were not living out God’s law nor does the Catholic/Protestant churches.  Instead of looking for religion, perhaps a search for simple Biblical truths

      • Anonymous

        Broc,

        Can you tell us when the Bible was made generally available to us on Earth?  I would like a specific date when you think the Bible was made available in printed and codified form to us humans. 

      • The Truth Seeker

        I have heard this many times from Christians – it is about being in a personal relationship with God.  I don’t know what that means.  How can you be in a personal relationship with God?  Are you talking with him day to day, is he answering your prayers, is he following your every move?  Maybe you can explain that so I know better what you mean. 

    • Anonymous

      Excellent list, Truth Seeker.  I would like to add a few tidbits

      1.  You note that Paul had some credibility as an author.  It is important to note that it is widely believed that Paul never knew Jesus.  Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed this widely held view that Paul did not know Jesus.  Paul only claims in his writings that he experienced a “vision” and “sound” that he believed represented a resurrected Jesus.  This is significant considering that Paul is credited for having written 13 of the 27 books found in the New Testament.

      2.  You note that “The Gospels were not written until anywhere from 35 to 60 years after Jesus’ death.”   That is a very conservative estimate.  Some scholars would put the original texts at later dates, but we can agree the original texts were written long after Jesus was dead.

      3.  Christians claim the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind.  Consider that Job is thought by many to be the oldest book of the Old Testament.  Its exact date is unknown, but perhaps it was written at least 1000 years before Jesus.  Let’s also assume for the sake of discussion that the latest of the New Testament books was written by 100 AD.  The “canon” recognized by today’s churches was not established until long after the latest of New Testament texts was written.  Even then, one could argue that the development of the modern printing press was needed for the Bible to be widely  published and distributed.  As it stands, billions of humans have lived and died on Earth who never once owned a Bible or read a Bible or ever heard about its contents.  If the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind, God sure wasn’t in much of a hurry to get The Word out to us, was He?  This is particularly striking when you consider that Judeo-Christian tradition claim that God wrote the 10 Commandments with His own finger and gave them to Moses to share with the Israelites right away.  I guess the Bible wasn’t as important…

      P.S.  Don’t anyone here debate with me about “General Revelation”, because I refuse to accept that intellectually bankrupt cop-out of an idea.  It is utter rubbish.

      • The Truth Seeker

        I have a question which has been bothering me.  What happened to all the people who lived and died before Christ?  Did they all go to Hell?  Is that fair?  I vaguely recall that the Bible says that after Christ’s death he went to the underworld.  Did he preach his message and tell those who believed to come on down and you will be resurrected and go to heaven when the end of the world occurs? That brings up another question, what happened to all the Catholics who ate meat on Friday and went to hell.  When the Catholic Church changed the rules and allowed Catholics to eat meat on Friday did all those who were in Hell get retroactively taken out and sent to heaven? 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          And, for that matter, what happens to the people around the world today who
          never hear about Christ? Do they go to hell? Is that fair?

        • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

          I am starting to see where a lot of your confusion must be coming from and I am sorry that your experience with Christianity has been so inconsistent, before the time of Jesus Christ there was a different way in which God and Man dealt with sin, Jesus’ death was the NEW covenant which meant the old ways no longer were applied.
           

          As for after Christ death, I assume you are talking about the time after Jesus died and before he was arose. There is no scripture that indicates he “went to the underworld” that I am aware of. 
           

          Lastly the Catholic Church does not decide what is sin and what is not sin, the Bible lays out those instructions for us, not the Catholic Church.  Romans 14:1 -18 which I posted in another comment down below covers the differences individuals may have that is not specifically covered directly in scripture, what the message states is that no one should judge another but we should try and build each other up, as long as the purpose of the topic in question  is to honor the lord.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Why did god need to find a new way to deal with sin?

            Was the previous way wrong?

            What price the “omni” in omniscience if the omniscient must change its mind?

    • Anonymous

      Did you know the author of this blog said that the arguments of the Exchristians were “disjointed”? Like we’re all a bunch of dummies? 

      I can’t believe that. 

    • Anonymous

      Did you know the author of this blog said that the arguments of the Exchristians were “disjointed”? Like we’re all a bunch of dummies? 

      I can’t believe that. 

      • http://exchristian.net The Truth Seeker

        Well we can ask him where the disjoint is.  He needs to tell us where we have gone wrong.  We’re listening.

        • Anonymous

          You put every question that I ever had into a clear, concise, list. My thoughts exactly.

             

        • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

          Robert is rapidly and carelessly laying out the evidence to display himself to be a master of disjoint in the practice of ratiocination!

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    I am glad to see a debate is already in progress however I do not believe that even with an “open mind” and a “thorough investigation” that people would come to believe the truths written in scripture.  Keep in mind that even during the time of Christ, while he was conducting miracles, raising people from the dead etc. there were still those who did not believe.  They literal had Jesus right in front of them, making blind men see, feeding the 5000, etc and still they did not believe.  Simply I know that no matter how open minded or how much investigation is done there are some who will not believe. My basis for this statement is the Christian principal of “predestination”.  For those who may be unfamiliar it is a very complex subject, which to some creates a paradox of Free will vs. God’s control of all things.  In lamest terms “predestination” is the idea that no one can become a Christian without God first creating the desire to be saved.  Man is a slave to its sin nature with God’s intervention. So what does that mean? It is not simply a matter of man deciding whether or not to believe in God.  God already knows whether you and I or “Joe Smith” from around the corner will become a believer and be saved.

    • The Truth Seeker

      If God is creating  a desire for us to be saved doesn’t that do away with “free will”.  If God has created that desire in some people and not others then it means that those who didn’t get that desire created in them are lost no matter what they do.  And if he did create that desire that also means that whatever you do you will still be saved no matter how badly you behave. 

      I don’t understand how Christian predestination can be fair to anyone.   

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

        “I don’t understand how Christian predestination can be fair to anyone”
         
        I believe your difficulty in accepting predestination is rooted in you view of where man stands in relationship to God.  If we think that any of us “deserving” or “good enough” we are wrong. No one is worth of being saved, if God was only looking to be fair he would save none of us because we have all fallen short of the standard which God expects.  It is only because of God’s grace that anyone has been given an opportunity at salvation. 

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I have a friend who writes poetry. He wrote:

    All in all
    I would rather
    have been brought up
    by parents
    who were
    kind and loving
    atheists!

    I think this reflects the thoughts/feelings of a lot of people who grew up in a religious home. I am thankful that my parents didn’t become obstacles toward my own vital faith in Jesus Christ, but I recognize the hurt religious people can inflict on others. Although my parents didn’t fit into this category, I’ve known church people who did. Honestly, I hope I’m not on that list for someone else.

    No matter what, the reality is hurtful people aren’t all found in churches.

    • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

      Even unkind and unloving atheists would be an improvement over parents who believed in a god who condemned people to eternal damnation by default for the actions of two mythical people who acted out of a nature that he claims to have created.

      Not even abusive atheist parents have been known to go THAT far to scar their children’s minds.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        I spoke with my friend who wrote the poem and I was surprised that, although his poem suggests otherwise, he had wonderful, loving parents who were also faithful believers. He spoke warmly of his father who died four years ago.

        Appearances often deceive. I know neither your past experiences nor your family upbringing but I do know my own experience and family upbringing. Although I lost my mother two years ago, my father still lives. I appreciate his love for me and his devotion to Jesus Christ, both of which he’s been more expressive about as the years have passed.

        • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

          My point was that I find the idea that one would readily teach children that there exists the most just and perfect being in the universe, whose idea of justice is to condemn them, by default, to eternal damnation and torture for something they did not do, to be a form of child abuse.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            And you do touch on the tension of the Christian faith between love and justice represented by two specific places, heaven and hell. If I believe the words of Jesus, then I have to acknowledge both places exist. But I also have to ask why? Can observations made in this world clue me into what either place might contain or explain the delight of the one and the horror of the other as suggested by Scripture? In my case, I cannot ignore how the Bible shapes my answer to these questions.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            They exist because the god you worship is unable to own up to having screwed up his putative act of creation.

            He has not got the humility to admit that he made a mistake, creating a faulty product – people without sin, without the knowledge of sin, until the ate the fruit of the tree which gave them that knowledge.

            Your god’s hissy fit at not being obeyed by the independent being he created resulted in the spiteful act of condemnation related in Genesis and confirmed regularly in the Holey Bile.

            To consider a being that would do this worthy of worship is, I contend, the lowest point in man’s development of his ethical self.

            That man continues to be defrauded by those who perpetuate this idea says little for the intellectual development of the species, giving the certain lie to any idea of divine creation of that species.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            I continue to think about your question and I want to say that I appreciate how well you frame the issue.

            But let me address a few things based on your comment.

            1) What if God is 100% love and the source of all love?
            2) What if I’m given the power to embrace this God and his love or to reject him?
            3) What if I choose to turn away from this God?
            4) Where do I go?

            Now think about the answer to question 4 in light of question 3. If I turn away from this God who is all love and the source of all love, I go away from him and all that he offers.

            Allow me to change the image from this God of all love to a simple image of water. What if I walk away from water, go as far away from it as possible, where do I go? I end up in a desolate desert.

            I’m not trying to convince you of anything except that I don’t hold to God’s intent for your life or mine if we reject him is torture. What I recognize is that if you remove his presence from life (and this happens among church people as well as non-church people) then what you have left is the human heart left unrestrained, a moral desert, a landscape devoid and incapable of genuine love.

            I think we get glimpses of the evil perpetrated by the unrestrained human heart in innumerable places and the illustrations again are not restricted to what some might term the pagan world. For me, I need God like my tomato plants need the rain. Without his presence, I die in the desert home I’ve created.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            TNeal,

            God may be 10% love but, as a friend of mine put it, it seems pointless to argue about the colour of a fairy’s wings or the length of the unicorn’s horn, before establishing the existence of either.

            Until you have an answer to the question of existence, every other question you ask here and every other thought you have on the subject has no referent in reality and constitute either a total waste of energy or are wishful thinking at best.

            I refuse to agree with your ideas about the nature or existence of god, merely because I can agree with you about the efficacy of water.

            Your desert is fictional, your water is fictional and your god is, at least, disputable.

            Your god, given that your only references to him are in a vile book of his vile deeds, is a creation of man for the purposes of power-attainment and retention by shamans.

            Until you can demonstrate your god to have a referent in reality, you have nothing to offer and much to lose.

            Peace,

            David

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            You make a great point that measuring 10% or 100% of nothing still leaves you with nothing.

            But to say I’ve never seen an alligator doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Or that, if someone does say, “I saw an alligator yesterday at the wildlife refuge down in Florida,” that he’s a liar.

            The only way for me to come to those conclusions is to limit the grounds of discussion to my own experiences and opinions.

            My response to your statement accepts the premise that you believe in no gods. I didn’t argue that point at all. What I responded to was your statement about condemnation of the innocent to eternal damnation and torture by the god who doesn’t exist.

            On your points dealing with this issue, I agree.

            The god who condemns the innocent by default to eternal damnation and torture is a cruel god and I also refuse to believe in him.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            The difference between an alligator and god is that I can travel to Florida (or my local zoo) and see one.

            God is so incredibly invisible that the difference between that an nonexistent is minimized to negligible proportions.

            I used to believe in god. Indeed, I was an evangelist within the protestant tradition. I would have continued to believe
            In god, had he kept his promises. God fails on two counts:

            1. his inactivity, or laziness, when it comes to keeping the promises it is claimed that he made in the holey bile;

            2. I treat my children better than he treats his putative creation.

            To fail on one account might be excusable. To fail on both kills all the rhetoric I used to rely upon as the foundation for my faith – and it IS only rhetoric, there is no evidence, only hope and it has been my experience and observation that those who rely on faith end up living n hope as a training experience for the time they will spend dependent upon charity. These things are necessary because god either lies and fails, or he does not exist.

            I am an agnostic atheist who will not now believe without evidence but who is scrupulously honest and will change his mind when evidence appears.

            I confess, I am not holding my breath while I wait for the evidence to arrive.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            You’ve at least expanded my vocabulary. I thought you misspelled punitive although I didn’t quite understand why you’d use that word in the context that you did.

            I can offer you nothing in the line of visible evidence outside of all I’m sure you’ve already examined. The New Testament has much to offer along those lines but I am pretty sure that the “holey bile” refers to the whole Bible and not just particular book or section.

            I can understand that if someone lied to you, you would distrust anything that person said. I’ve written off a person who spoke about “facts” that I knew weren’t facts at all. Thus if you see one part of the Bible as untrue, then you’d discount the whole thing.

            I assume as well that the testimony of others would be discounted out of hand since you saw no visible evidence yourself and most people cannot offer you an account of seeing God. Those who would purport such a thing would be liars, crazy, or fools.

            So I wish you well on your journey.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            For a good exposition of the value of testimony, I suggest you read David Hume.

            A more graphic illustration of the reliability of eye-witness testimony is related here: http://www.livescience.com/6727-invisible-gorilla-test-shows-notice.html. I won’t spoil the fun by describing it to you, but it is worth a few minutes serious attention.

            The New Testament is a “manufactured” collection of documents adapted and/or created on the orders of the emperor Constantine, who was in need of a new religion, to replace the old Roman pagan religion, which was failing to keep the people in line. He told the assembled shamans and priests to create something which would impress, frighten and stun the populace back into submission – a sort of “Shock and Awe” for the 4th century (325 AD). No other historian mentions the fantastical events to which christians lay claim on Jesus’ behalf – even the favoured Josephus reference is acknowledged by both christian and non-christian scholars to be a
            forged insertion by Bishop Eusebius.

            It is not an account of seeing god that I seek, nor a vision for myself. An admission on the part of the faithful that they cannot have it both ways would go some way to showing that Christianity is more than a club for the terminally deluded.

            It is not possible to claim a doctrine of “Original Sin” as the root of mankind’s troubles when the allegory on which the doctrine is based is patently foolish. The offence which A&E supposedly committed depended upon them having a sinful nature which they only acquired AFTER eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as prior to that they had no knowledge of the difference and could not, logically or morally, have committed an offence. If, however, their sinful nature that allowed them to commit an offence pre-dated the ingestion of fruit, then they were created that way by god, whose fault the human condition he complains about becomes.

            This willingness by believers to let good off any hook
            creates two other problems:

            1. God is deemed to be responsible for anything which is
            good, even if the cause of the result can be attributed to something else, such as the 7 years of training and 20 years of experience gained by the surgeon who has wrought a healing in a patient. As long as prayer was involved somewhere, god apparently wrought the healing. If the person dies, that too was obviously
            god’s will and work.

            2. Rational, critical thinking is suspended so that god may escape the consequences of his actions and the poverty of his solutions to problems of his own making. Rather than admit his design mistakes, god is allowed to let mankind flourish until he decides they have forgotten that it was all his idea in the first place, then he decides to drown everybody but a famous drunk and his family. Those drowned include thousands, maybe millions of innocent babies, children, embryos and animals. Talk about honesty and justice if you will, but do not attribute those qualities to god, who has no idea of what they are.

            If god were so good, god would care enough about his creation that he would make it plain what and who he is, rather than have 50,000 different religions in the world (30,000+ of them protestant christians) competing to be the truth. If he loved his children he would treat them at
            least as well as I treat mine.

            Thank you for your wishes for my journey. I have many
            discoveries to make. I hope you one day get of the merry-go-round of fraud which Christianity is and resume the joy of discovery. I remember when I believed all the answers were available in a book that defines pi to have a
            value of three, declared birds to be bats and dictated selective breeding techniques for the coats of goats by having the animals copulate in front of differently notched sticks.

            I remember believing in the goodness and wholeness of a
            holy book that ordered the killing by stoning of rebellious teenagers. A book which would prevent me, an amputee, from approaching the altar, or even being in the temple. A book which records god’s encouragement of genocide and the taking alive of female prisoners for the sexual pleasure of the men of god’s chosen people. I reached the point where I could no longer let god off the hook for his actions, recorded in the book, inspired by his holy spirit and therefore valuable for instruction.

            It became too much to ask and it is too cruel of god to offer explanation, possibly, after my death, when it will be irrelevant. A good god would explain now so that countless millions might escape the eternal damnation which he has planned for them since the foundation of the earth, (otherwise he is not omniscient).

            May you learn the truth and may the truth set you free from the curse of faith, for truth is knowledge, faith merely hope. A starving child can eat a sandwich which he knows is in his hand but may starve while living in hope of the sandwich’s arrival.

            Peace,

            David

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            I was familiar with the gorilla video although this was not the one I’d seen
            before. The one I saw took place in an auditorium. This really focuses not
            on testimony but the limited ability to focus. If I count the passes, I
            don’t notice the gorilla, the fact six people are involved, three are young
            women, three are young men, three wear white, three wear black. Those
            details are missed. By the way, I know that 15 passes were made during the
            video but only because the man and the printing said so at the end. My
            testimony is accurate in its details but incomplete. You can watch the video
            again yourself and see if I write the truth.

            Concerning testimony, I attended the U. S. Army Military Police School
            (USAMPS) in Fort Gordon, Georgia. One of the lectures covered how to
            interview witnesses. During the lecture, a person wearing a red bandana ran
            into the room and made some noise (popped a balloon, fired a cap
            pistol–that I don’t remember) then ran out of the room. The lecturer asked
            us to write down what we saw. Different people wrote down different things.
            All of us testified. None of us had all the details. In fact, even with 60
            something people, we didn’t gather all the facts. The single truth was that
            an unexpected event had taken place and, with the witnesses present, we
            pieced together the general facts of the case.

            Concerning the New Testament being pieced together under Constantine’s
            direction, that’s a courtroom attempt to fluster or discredit the witness
            and the most damning of evidence. It’s important for those who find the
            story of Jesus Christ distasteful or unbelievable or stifling to human
            progress (you can put your own spin on this, use your own word for what you
            feel or think). If you can discredit the witnesses (and many exist), then
            you can ignore their testimonies. I choose to believe the witnesses and
            their stories (as far as the New Testament goes) and toss my testimony in
            with their lot. To be clear, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
            the living God.

            I’ll probably continue to consider your other points. This back and forth
            has been both tiring and stimulating. One other thing based on your previous
            comments. You continue to be an evangelist. Now your evangelism efforts seem
            to focus on deconstructing the Christian faith. At times, you use words for
            the purpose of antagonism and bullying rather than reasoning. Current
            example: “a club of the terminally deluded.”

            I believe you have raised some profound questions that encourage deeper
            consideration.

            Peace,
            Tom

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            evangelion (good news). I am glad that you admit that I continue to spread good news, it implies that there is still hope that you might escape the fraud and the lie of christinsanity.

            You would do well to actually read some writing about Constantine, rather than resort to the courtroom trick of attempting to discredit what I have said by accusing me of resorting to courtroom tricks! ;o)))

            As to finding the story of jesus distasteful of unbelievable:

            The gospels, as you use them, WERE created at the Council of Nicea on the orders of Constantine. This is a fact.

            Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, as opposed to his natal town, did not exist until well after his death, an historical fact obviously not known to the authors of the fictional account you adhere to.

            There is so much more wrong with the foundation of your belief system and the fraudulent documents it is based on that many books have been written by many scholars both within and outwith the xian tradition that it would be futile for me to attempt to document them all here. Many excellent synopses and précis of this literature have been written and posted on http://www.exchristian.net, and I would encourage you to seek them out and devote some time to them. Articles by Wizened Sage, Boomslang, Johann de Freiss and David B. you will find particularly well-written and compelling reading.

            It is your experience and training that testimony is of little value, yet you continue to base your belief system on writings which you know can only be, at best, testimony. That is surely a waste of a life.

            I wish you well in your journey of discovery and hope that you too will one day become an evangelist for good news with a foundation of knowledge and truth, having escaped the lies and frauds you have been taught from the pulpit for too long.

            Peace,

            David

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            At least you have a sense of humor. And I’m familiar with Constantine. I
            just finished reading a short article on the Council of Nicaea which
            convened under his auspices in 325 AD. The council addressed the
            controversies facing the Christian faith at that time. They formed the
            Nicaean Creed to cover the basic beliefs held about God, Jesus Christ, and
            the Holy Spirit. I’m sure this is not news to you. Part of the council’s
            purpose was to weed out the varying conflicting voices and discern the basic
            truth centered in the person of Jesus Christ.

            I recognize my use of the word “evangelist” would be inaccurate. As you
            note, eu (good) angelion (message) form the roots of our word “evangelist.”
            I cannot discern good news in your message. You do have a message–god is
            non-existent at best, evil at worst, most likely irrelevant to real life,
            Christians are deceived (as are religious people in general)–and you
            expound your message with clarity. So what do you see as the good in your
            message? What is the good story you want to offer others?

            You may have the last word on all of this. I hope it’s a good one. 😉

          • Anonymous

            What is “good” about the christian message? Is it by hopefully discovering the true and right religion we will spend eternity in a heaven that is described in one way as a place where the streets are paved with gold and that there are many mansions in heaven, or where we will spend eternity on our knees worshiping god day and night? And if we don’t find the right religion in the thousands out there, we will spend eternity burning in hell, and so will our children and loved ones. But that won’t bother us because god will dry our tears by showing us how just and perfect his punishment
             is. That’s not good news.

            Yes, the knowledge that religion is not real, gives real peace and joy to life. There is no fear of hell, of loved ones going to hell, of being in the wrong religion, god constantly judging us for “sinning”, of feeling sinful, dirty, grieving the holy spirit, constantly making sure we have no sin “quenching” the holy spirit. Christianity is basically about hell. Fear of going to hell. When in witnessing classes, we were told to make sure to tell people they will go to hell if they don’t accept our religion. It didn’t stop at jesus loves you, it was jesus loves you, but your a horrible sinner, dirty in the eyes of god, and deserve never ending torment if you don’t accept jesus as your savior. What is the good news in telling that to others? You can’t talk about the love of god, jesus whatever, without mentioning those that aren’t correct in their choice of religion will burn in hell. Once your in the club, you may not go to hell, but others will if you don’t share the message, you will give an account of that to god, and the knowledge that others are burning in hell because you didn’t take all the opportunities to witness to others, will weigh heavy on you. 

            I sat in church for 20 years, and those are the messages that I heard. As a woman, I might have been more emotional in my responses to christianity, but the knowledge that my children, that I love more than anything, might burn in hell because of my failure as a christian parent to prepare them to accept this religion and it’s beliefs as correct, did not add to my happiness in my religion.

  • Anonymous

    Bob, I came over from ex-christian. Could not continue dialogue there as reply button was no longer available.
    As to our discussion, there seemed to be some contempt on your part on morality based on human judgement, as reflected by the question (I paraphrase) ‘so it all just rests on feelings?’

    Well, yes. Pain is a feeling. Do you like it? Do you think your neighbor likes it? I am content with human fumbling at attempting to find an ethos that minimizes human suffering.

    On the other hand, you seem to be of the position there is an absolute morality coming from God. You see, packed into that statement is a belief that there is a God, which evidently rests upon the Bible as evidence thereto. I have a little document which I keep on hand that addresses these beliefs as manifested in Christianity, which I will post here. Please bear in mind that your post here asks us to give some basis for why we don’t believe, and that is all that I am doing. I don’t expect to convince anyone here, but I am giving you some (not all) of my reasons for disbelief. You have been very courteous. I hope to live up to the standard you have set. I choose to express myself in my own way. You may fit them into your categories however you see fit.

    “Rejection of Christianity: A Brief Synopsis

    To the inquiry, “Why do you reject Christianity?”, a few (not all) reasons follow.
     
    1) Christianity posits unseen, undetectable entities. There is no reliable evidence available to any unbiased observer that God, Jesus, Satan, angels, heaven, hell, soul exists. It is not good reasoning to accept things for which there is not good evidence.

    2) Christianity is illogical:
    a) There is 1 God, but 3 persons in the 1 God. This doesn’t make sense.
    b) A God, who is vastly superior to us far beyond how vastly superior we are to the ants, is offended by our sins, and will punish us eternally for them. We are not offended by a fire ant biting us to the extent that we would torture a fire ant forever in a Hell for doing so. God should be better than us but seems in this respect not to be so.
    c) See ‘dear believer’ at exchristian.com. In brief, a God has to kill part of itself in order to forgive us for our sinful natures which we all have because God decreed we all have it as punishment for the crime of 2 original persons.

    3) Christianity can be seen to grow out of antecedent religions and philosophies. For instance, the Old Testament eden story incorporates the original 2 humans, garden, tree, and snake used in earlier Sumerian doctrine. Moses is put adrift in the water as an infant just as was the earlier Sargon. Moses receives the law written on stone just as did the earlier Hammarabi. Jesus changed water to wine, healed the sick, raised the dead, died and was resurrected just as did many earlier figures in the Hellenic/Babylonian/Egyptian religions surrounding and preceding Christianity. All of the wise teachings of Jesus were taught by earlier religious/philosophical teachers. The Word/Logos of the gospel John is clearly derived from the neo-Platonic writings of Philo. Justin Martyr, et al, defended this circumstance by saying that Satan empowered the earlier pagan Christ figures so as to discredit the genuine Christ who later appeared. This is a special pleading which I cannot buy.

    4) Christianity rests squarely on testimony only. The Bible, the foundation of Christianity, is almost totally the writings of unknown writers whom the church has misleadingly attributed to persons esteemed in the tradition in order to give them a false and undeserved authority. Also, the writers of Matthew and Luke copy profusely (word for word in many places) from Mark, and feel free to make changes so that their particular version of the story serves their doctrinal agenda. As they are merely copying and altering Mark, we have in effect only one testimony. John comes enough later and is enough different as to reflect development of the idea of divinity of Jesus via Philo as mentioned before. The authentic writings of Paul were earliest, and make no clear reference to any events or teachings of an earthly Jesus. Paul’s Jesus could well have died and resurrected in some ethereal realm. UFO belief rests solely on testimony. So does Christianity. No unbiased historian or philosopher of the time wrote anything about Jesus, Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, earthquakes, eclipses, and resurrected saints at the first Easter, etc.

    5) Christianity incorporates injustice. It is not just that all be sinners because 2 sinned. It is not just that if I be guilty, killing Jesus alleviates Gods anger so that Jesus is punished for my crime, but I get off free. It is not just to kill Jesus at all, this is an ugly, bloodthirsty requirement that makes no logical sense. In this particular scheme, all are condemned by the action of 2, but ONLY those who profess belief in Jesus are redeemed by the action of 1.”

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    Oh my, I step away for 12 hours and the debate has really taken off… I don’t think I can keep up with everyone’s questions but I will try. I am sorry if I didn’t get to something you really wanted an answer to.
     
    Morality – I generally agree with Bob on this, morality has its foundations in God.  However that fact Bob and I agree on this isn’t surprising I was raised in the same Church that he attends. I now belong to a church plant of that mother church in a nearby town, also non-denominational.
     
    Burden of proof – Each side wishes to place the burden of proof on the other because of two factors.  One, neither side has “proof” that will be sufficient in the eyes of the other and two since they are convinced of their own held position they want a valid reason to alter their belief system. Example, the thought from Atheist is that people of faith are the ones making claims about the existence of God so they then should provide evidence to that end. However this is completely subjective to ones own perspective.  For example,  I could contend that the statement “that there is no god” is a bold claim and it is THAT claim that must be proved.  Historically speaking the existence of A GOD has been accepted all over the world and in almost every culture, and it hasn’t been until recent history that Atheist in any significant numbers have come out, but then again that is my own perceptive. I am not nearly versed enough in “Apologetics” (the discipline of defending a position, usually religious, through the systematic use of reason) to layout the principals of Christianity.  However if you wish to study more -http://www.apologetics.net/  
     
    THE BIBLE –  I cut and pasted this I didn’t write it….
    The Hebrew Bible was written between 950 BCE and 400 BCE.  It was translated to Greek in 200 BCE when the Greek emperor wanted to learn of this “Living God”. He employed 70 Hebrew priest and scribes to translate the 39 books of the Hebrew bible into Greek. It supposedly took them 70 days hence the name Septuagint Bible or Alexandrian Bible. In some religions, there are other books added to the 39 canonized books they are called the Apocrypha.  Where did we get the modern Bible? Who decided what went into it and what was left out? Why aren’t all the Jewish texts included in the Christian Bible? The history of the canonization of Scripture and its translation to English is a fascinating look at the formation of our modern Bible.
    The Christian Bible is not really one book at all, but a collection of books written over thousands of years. Many different authors contributed to the Bible and the process of selecting what books went into it is called the canonization of Scripture. Canon comes from a Greek word meaning measure or rod. The process of canonization involved deciding what books measured up to a set standard. Certain selection criteria were used, and the criteria are the canon, or measure. Canonization didn’t happen all at one time or by one committee. The acceptance of the Bible texts used by Christians started with the Old Testament. Our Old Testament comes from the Jewish canon of Scripture, which by the time of Jesus was trimmed down to three sections: The Torah, The Prophets and The Writings.
    The Torah consists of the five Books of the Laws of Moses. These are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Tradition says that God gave Moses the information contained in these books on Mount Sinai.
    The Prophets consists of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel (which are one book in the Jewish Scripture), 1&2 Kings (also one book in the Jewish Scripture), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Hosea through Malachi are called the Book of the Twelve and are combined into one scroll.
    The Writings consist of 1&2 Chronicles (one book in the Jewish texts), Ezra and Nehemiah (one book in the Jewish text), Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Daniel.
    Earlier canons included books that are now called the Deuterocanonical books. These were trimmed from the Jewish canon of Scripture during the time of Ezra (around 450 B.C.). These books are now part of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles and are called the Apocrypha. Since the books of The Torah, The Prophets and The Writings were canonized Jewish Scripture during the time of Jesus, these are the texts that have been used in the Christian Bible and make up the Old Testament.
    The process of canonizing the New Testament took about 400 years. This process didn’t happen in any organized fashion. Groups of Christians collected different writings together and compiled them for the use in their churches. The first collection to be compiled was Paul’s letters. By 200 A.D. this collection was complete and being given Scriptural authority by other eastern Christian writers of the time.
    The four gospels were another collection that was compiled about the same time as the Pauline letters. The remaining letters of the Bible weren’t added to the collections until 300 A.D. These remaining letters were called the “˜catholic letters’ because their messages were important to the entire church.
    Acts and Revelation were the last books to be accepted. The eastern churches didn’t accept Revelation until the 4th century. The concerns of the churches were that the texts accepted as Scripture be attributable to Apostles or those closely associated with the Apostles. There was great concern that the New Testament Scripture be the accounts of the earliest Christians. By 405 A.D., the New Testament as we know it was widely accepted in most Christian churches. Since one of the jobs Jesus left us with is to spread the Good News and witness throughout the world, it was necessary to start translating the Bible into a variety of languages. The Old Testament had been translated into Greek early on and was available in that form in Jesus’ time. As early as the second century, translations of the various collections that would later become the New Testament were being made in Latin, the language common to the Romans. However, faulty translations were getting into circulation and by the fourth century, Pope Damascus commissioned Jerome to create a definitive Latin translation that would become known as the Vulgate. Latin fell out of common use and within a few centuries of the Vulgate translation, only highly educated people could read the Scriptures. The less educated had to rely on the teachings of the clergy, a situation the Church sought to perpetuate. There was concern among Church leaders that if common people were left to read and interpret the Bible on their own, heresies would develop.
    In 1382, Oxford educator John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English. As the first real reformer, he was ahead of his time. He was removed from his teaching position and his followers were persecuted. His movement was short lived but it was the first real move towards putting the Scripture into the hands of ordinary people. In the 1520’s, language scholar William Tyndale translated the Hebrew and Greek texts into English. Soon, copies of his translation were turning up all over England. Inaccuracies were found in these copies and out of concern for this, King James I commissioned a group of Bible scholars to translate the Bible to English. This Bible is known as the King James or Authorized Version of 1611 and is still, arguably, the most popular English translation.
    Since the King James Version, there have been numerous English translations of the Bible. Those descended from the King James Version include the Revised Standard Version, the New King James Version and the New International Version. More liberal translations like the Good News Bible, and the Living Bible were made with the goal of being highly readable. When using any translation, it’s very helpful to have a Hebrew and Greek Lexicon such as Strong’s to refer back to the original language of the Bible. Bible study is greatly enhanced by this sort of comparison. Our Bible has come a long way to get to its present English form but the most accurate is still in its earliest available form.
     
    Personal relationship – I thought it was important to point out that Christianity in not about Church, it is about a growing relationship with God. What does that mean? Fundamentally, it means that I have committed my life to God and I strive to grow in understand of what God expects from me and what I can expect from him.  I grow in understand through the study of the Bible and self examination.  Does how I am living my life mirror God’s teachings and the example that Christ has left for us all for follow?  Unfortunately I do not, and I constantly struggle with my own failures to meet the standard God has laid out.  Does that help?
     
    Predestination – This topic, to be handled correctly, deals with almost every corner of the Christianity, however I will ATTEMPT to shorten it.  First, predestination is a Christian belief so I can only answer questions regarding it with principals from scripture.  So the basics, to begin we must create an accurate perceptive of the relationship between God and Man.
     
    Man is sinfully and has turned his back on God. “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless..their throat is an open grave…there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).
     
    God is Holy. God does not tolerate sin, so since man has rejected God and is sinfully. If God chose to save no one He would be justified.  However because God is also loving, he chose to send his son (Jesus) to die a blameless sacrifice for all of man sins.  As Jesus was crucified all of God was put on display, while quenching the God’s wrath and punishment for sin, his love for us was also at work because Jesus death was creating an opportunity for salvation those who had done nothing to deserve it.  Wrath and love were both being poured out that day, God’s plan to show love while still not tolerating sin had been fulfilled. So what does that have to do with Predestination? It is important to understand that no one is entitled to being saved by God. We all have failed to meet the standard and because of that failure we are not worthy, on our own, to stand before God.  
     
    So because of God’s love, God has chosen some to change their hearts and minds, to allow us to accept Jesus was our ONLY salvation and cling to him.  It was nothing I have done to “earn” this gift for I too was a slave to my own sinfully desires.  We are all as helpless as new born babies to save ourselves.  It is only through complete dependence of God do we receive salvation. 
    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
    “Those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. And those whom He foreknew He also predestined; and those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
    I know that is down and dirty, and seriously if you want a real reference for complex subject matter like this and others in Christianity, one book I could recommend besides the Bible…its kind of a long read….lol… is R.C. Sproul’s “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith” you can get it anywhere books are sold…amazon, barnes and nobles…public library whatever. 
     
     

    • Anonymous

      Broc,

      You have just posted material that many of us have heard before ad nauseam, ad infinitum.  The Bible is essential to your faith, and the Bible simply does not stand up to textual criticism or higher criticism.  Bart Ehrman and John W. Loftus are two well-informed scholars who have plenty to say about it. 

      The ex-Christian website was created for people who are ex-Christians.  We are a diverse group that includes one (or more) former priests, pastors, nuns, and many former devout Christians (Catholic and Protestant) who have decided we do not accept the bold claims that Christianity presents.  Bob came to our site asking questions.  If he reads the many replies to his questions, he will get his questions answered.

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

        Why do you elevate the opinion of Burt Ehrum over that of Craig Evans, both are men both are imperfect …two men who have evaluated the text and reached different conclusions. I am not attempting to corner you or “gotcha” moment I am simply asking for a bit of self examination…Is it because his opinion aligns with your own, or did the questions he raised create doubt within you?   Perhaps we should all watch them debate? I am sure both sides will be well represented.
         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRQ9WaxEjvc&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL Part 1 of 9. 
         
        …so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

        • Anonymous

          <<>>

          That is not possible.

          <<>>

          I examined myself and earnestly desired to believe and practice Christianity for 30+ years.  I read my study Bible (known as the Criswell Bible) cover-to-cover 3x (including every footnote and reference article), and followed a daily devotional for 20+ years.  I have read many parts of the Bible many more times.  I faithfully attended church (primarily Southern Baptist churches and PCA churches) and strove diligently to live according to Christian teachings.  I also read extensive works of prominent Christian apologists (too many to name).  I also considered Christianity from the perspective of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and a variety of mainline Protestant denominations.  ONLY then did I start to consider the points of view of people who did not share my faith (Sagan, Dawkins, Dennett, Erhman, Loftus, Hawking, Jared Diamond, Stephen J. Gould,, Bertrand Russell, Ayn Rand etc.  I find them FAR more convincing.

          Broc, I understand that you and Bob are zealous to defend your faith.  However, you haven’t really told us anything we haven’t heard before.    
           

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

        Also, biblically speaking there is no such thing as “ex-Christians”. There are multiple references to this fact but they are all scripture which would still seemingly have authority on the matter if you want to use the label “ex-Christians.

        • Anonymous

          Broc,

          I asked Bob if he believes the Holy Spirit guides him and his church re. faith and doctrine.  I will ask you the same question.  Does the Holy Spirit guide you and your church re. faith and doctrine? 

          I eagerly await your response…

        • Anonymous

          <<>>

          That is a canard.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, I am an exchristian. I was a christian, and no longer follow that teaching.

          We used to practice “book banning” at the churches I attended. Those books described by Sid, would have been banned in the church library because they were too controversial, and might cause believers in the church to have “doubts”. Even books of other denominations, Catholic, Episcopal, Charismatic, etc. would have been banned from the library. We were made to feel that the devil himself was in those pages, tempting us with lies. We weren’t allowed to come to our own conclusions, and find our own way.

    • The Truth Seeker

      Broc I read all you have said and I am amazed that you can’t see the  contradictory and illogical statements you have made.  I don’t think there’s anything or anyone at exchristian  can say that would make sense to you and Bob.  You are like the Star Trek, you’ve got your missile screens up and anything that sounds contradictory to you two is going to be blocked out.  I could spend a lot of time explaining to you what is wrong with your beliefs but I know you wouldn’t accept any of it. 

      You are basically saying that God controls everyone’s life and there is nothing any of us can do if we’re not one of the chosen few.  How do you know that you were chosen by God to be saved.  I have never heard this description of pre-destination except in the Presbyterian Church.  It is not a commonly accepted view for most Christian Churches.  You might want to look into why your belief is so different. 

      I know this is going to be a lost cause with you, but imagine everyone believed there was no God and they were happily going along without a care in the world.  Then all of a sudden this guy comes running up to everyone saying there is a God and we must believe in him if we want to go to heaven.  Now the rest of the non-believers say how do you know this.  Isn’t it up to him to give some verification and explanation why he made that prouncement?  Would you believe him without proof of some sort that what he said was true? 

      Now Christians have been making this prouncement for 2000 years and it is still up to them to show their proof.  Christian philosophers for all that time have worked up an explanation for all of the facets of Christianity.  Long ago these explanations were satisfactory for most people.  Beginning in the modern era ( say the 15th to 20th century) some questions have come up about the validity of these Christian statements.  Isn’t it up to Christians to explain and show why these Christian views are correct? 

      Now for an atheist to try to prove a negative statement is impossible.  It isn’t we who have been making this bold statement about God.  Christianity has been around so long, that Christians now think it is up to atheists to prove there is no God.  All we can do is look for evidence of God and if we don’t find it then we must logically believe there is no God until someone shows evidence that there is.  So the only one that can do that is Christians.  So far we have found Christian explanations without logic and without evidence.  Now this argument can go on and on, but one thing is sure, if you make a statement and expect anyone to believe it without proof or evidence then there’s not much we can say further that’s going to change your mind. 

      For that reason, I’m saying adios amigos. you are welcome to come to our web site to read, but don’t try to convince us that Christian beliefs are correct.  We’ve been all through that and we don’t accept your propositions.  Bob has come to our site and stirred up such a mess that we aren’t able to do our regular business.  If you want to talk with me off-site, I will be glad to give you my e-maid address.  Thank you.

      • The Truth Seeker

        On my screen in the third paragraph, part of a sentence is blocked out.  That part of the sentence should say – in Him if we want to go to heaven and the –

      • Anonymous

        But why stop @ “Yahweh”, Truth Seeker? Perhaps it’s also the Atheist’s burden to disprove Allah, Zeus, Poseidon, Quetzacoatl, Thor, Osiris, and myriad other gods which have been posited to exist since time immemorial, and until/unless those gods can be disproven (by Atheists), it is reasonable to believe they exist?…..you know, by default ; )

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          It seems like you’ve already taken on some of the burden to disprove
          Christianity… you come up with objections to Christianity, and ask
          Christians to respond. I think that this is valid. You propose objections,
          and a Christian responds with their answer, and if that answer doesn’t
          satisfy you, then you can offer further proof that their answer isn’t
          sufficient.

          In terms of other religions, if you want to disprove them, then you can take
          that on as well, and take on the burden of proof there. Christians may join
          you in that burden, given that they have the same view on those religions as
          you do (that they’re wrong).

          It’s interesting that atheists seem to FEEL a burden of proof, because they
          are challenging something that is generally accepted–that a God exists.
          Most of the rest of the world is just in dispute as to what God is like.

          • Anonymous

            Bob,

            Here is one objection I have.

            The Roman Catholic Church claims approximately 1 Billion members.  It emphatically claims the infallible Holy Spirit guides it, and it claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ.  Pope Benedict XVI has also strongly confirmed the position of the Roman Catholic church that NO Protestant church is a true church at all.  Feel free to investigate this.

            http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288841,00.html

            The Eastern Orthodox Church claims approximately 300 million members.  It emphatically claims the infallible Holy Spirit guides it, and it claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ.

            Most mainline Protestant Churches I am familiar with claim to be guided by the infallible Holy Spirit. 

            Considering the EACH claims to be guided by the infallible Holy spirit, would you care to tell us who is correct?  Please don’t tell me you are all brothers in Christ.  The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church most certainly do not recognize your church as a true church at all.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Muslims claim to be led by their God, and other religions by their gods, but
            you don’t make the same claim about them. You’re assuming that the Holy
            Spirit that is claimed by each is the same Holy Spirit. It’s not.

            You said it yourself, Roman Catholics would not say that Protestants are
            really Christians. Protestants would say that Mormans aren’t really
            Christians. Yet you are arguing that we all have the same Holy Spirit, and
            therefore Christianity MUST be wrong, because the Holy Spirit couldn’t be
            saying different things to different people.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            What?  This thread is supposed to be about issues we have with Christianity.  Please stay on topic.

            <<>>

            Would you care to expand on that?  What are you talking about.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            It’s like saying, “Muslims claim that there is a God, and Christians claim
            that there is a God, and Jews believe that there is a God. But, since you
            can’t ALL be right, then there must not be a God at all!” It’s a fallacious
            argument.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            No, it is not.  This thread that you created is supposed to be about specific issues we have with Christianity. I asked you a very specific question about Christianity.  Please stay on topic and answer my question.  Which Christian church teaches the correct doctrine?

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Yes, it’s the exact same argument. You’re saying (I’ll put it in the same
            syntax), “Roman Catholics believe they’re guided by the Holy Spirit.
            Orthodox Christians believe that they’re guided by the Holy Spirit.
            Protestants believe they’re guided by the Holy Spirit. But since they ALL
            can’t be right, then there must not be a Holy Spirit at all. Therefore,
            Christianity must be false.” You’re using the same logic as my previous
            example, and it’s equally as fallacious.

            Just because Roman Catholics and Oxthodox Christians and Protestants believe
            different things, and all claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit, doesn’t
            mean that they ARE all guided by the Holy Spirit.

            Your argument is founded on the false premise that everyone who’s making
            that claim is being guided by the Holy Spirit.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            That is 100% wrong, Bob.  I did not assert in my statements that there is no Holy Spirit.  I am ASKING you which church is correct re. its claim to be guided by the infallible Holy Spirit:  Roman Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.     

            Answer my question.  Which Christian church teaches the correct doctrine?  Considering that you believe we have eternal souls, this is an important question.  I await your answer.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            No, it is not.  I am not making any argument.  I asked you a simple and straightforward question. Each church claims to be led by the infallible Holy Spirit.   Who is correct?  Which church is teaching the correct doctrine?  Tell me.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            If I’m limited to your options, then I would say that the Protestant church
            has the correct doctrine. However, even within Protestantism, there are
            differences of doctrine. The Holy Spirit is our guide, yes. But the Holy
            Spirit does not overwhelm a person’s will when they become a Christian.
            Therefore, human doctrine can, and has been, fallible. Because the Holy
            Spirit doesn’t “take over,” there are differences of doctrine, because
            doctrine is subject to the failings of humans.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            If I’m limited to your options, then I would say that the Protestant church
            has the correct doctrine. However, even within Protestantism, there are
            differences of doctrine. The Holy Spirit is our guide, yes. But the Holy
            Spirit does not overwhelm a person’s will when they become a Christian.
            Therefore, human doctrine can, and has been, fallible. Because the Holy
            Spirit doesn’t “take over,” there are differences of doctrine, because
            doctrine is subject to the failings of humans.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

            Romans 14: 1-18

            Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
            5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
            10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
            “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
            12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
            13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

            The Bible speaks to your argument about Catholic and Protestant having a different set of “rules” that they live by. These verses basically say that it doesn’t matter as long as the purpose for what they are doing is to honor the lord.  If one person believe that Catholics have it right then follow those instructions to honor the lord.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            No, it is not.  I am not making any argument.  I asked you a simple and straightforward question. Each church claims to be led by the infallible Holy Spirit.   Who is correct?  Which church is teaching the correct doctrine?  Tell me.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            It’s actually a straw man that you have raised, Bob, to deflect attention away from you inability answer Sid’s original question.

            Please stay “on topic”. When the going gets tough, the tough do not get going, they stick around to sort stuff out. It is the cowards that “get going”.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I think you’re getting your logical fallacies mixed up, David.

            Here’s Sid’s logical proof:

            Person 1 claims A.
            Person 2 claims B.
            Person 3 claims C.
            Sid claims “All three claims are the same.” (this is where he’s wrong).
            Sid claims they are contradictory (which they are).
            Sid claims that therefore, none of them are right (the argument is
            fallacious based upon an incorrect premise).

            My argument is not setting up a straw man. I was just pointing out the flaw
            in Sid’s argument.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Not at all, Robert, unless you believe that that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell like a chocolate bar!

            Person 1 claims their religion is inspired by god, as do persons 2 & 3.

            They each call their god by a different name.

            Other than that, each claim is identical.
            The claims are only different if your approach is to say that unless the god they are referring to is MY god, then they are wrong.

            This would not be a logical fallacy, merely bigotry.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Unless you’re talking about someone ELSE’s claims. In this case, each
            person (Person 1, Person 2, and Person 3) are saying that their claims are
            exclusive. I have nothing to do with their claims. It’s only Sid that’s
            saying that their claims are the same. He’s using HIS personal beliefs in
            order to prove his claim. For a person who values logic and reasoning,
            that’s not very logical.

          • Anonymous

            glebe,

            Bob is 100% wrong in his assessment of my logic.  I am beginning to think Bob is confused…

            This is a summary of my original statement:

            1.  The Roman Catholic Church claims it is the one true church and the infallible Holy Spirit guides it.

            2.  The Eastern Orthodox Church claims it is the one true church and the infallible Holy Spirit guides it.

            3.  Some mainline Protestant Churches claim to be true churches and the infallible Holy Spirit guides them.

            I NEVER once said this set of conditions means the Holy Spirit does not exist (as Bob falsely asserted that I concluded).  I NEVER once said that this set of conditions means that none of these churches’ claims are true (as Bob also falsely asserts that I concluded).  What these set of conditions do clearly illustrate is that all 3 claims can not all be true.  The REASON I posed this scenario to Bob is that I wanted to know his views.  He apparently believes his church embraces correct doctrine whilst Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians embrace some doctrinal error.     

            glebe, you do comprehend this, right?  It is simple enough?  I thought so.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

            There are things in scripture which are disputable, and other that are not. The Romans passage is only talking about those things which are in dispute.  Obviously if a church is acting in direct opposition of the other biblical teaching it is not up for debate.  But these arguments about who has it “right” are totally missing the point.  The point is…does the practice point to GOD.  If it has any other purpose then it should be reexamined.  Like I have said before Christianity is NOT about church or religion, it is about a personal relationship with God.

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            So, it is NOT the case that all scripture is inspired by god and useful for instruction…etc.?

          • Anonymous

            Maybe he’ll fall back on the claim that the original Biblical texts were without error.. and since we don’t have any of the original texts left on Earth…  you get the idea.

            I would like your thoughts on my rebuttal (above) to Bob’s claims of faulty logic on my part.  Bob tried to put words in my mouth and then claim my logic is faulty.  How honest of Bob…  ;->

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            I think you said it all there, Sid, with the words
            “Honest Bob”.

             

            We have already been exposed to his “throwaway
            lies lines about the science of matter and energy
            that to expect more in the area of logic is a hope too far perhaps.

             

            His analysis of your comment was crass and facile and
            wrong. He was unable to answer your point so obfuscated by attempting to answer
            a point of his own creation which bore only a passing resemblance to what you
            said.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you, glebe.  I thought you and I would agree.  I am glad you are participating in this forum.  Maybe they will open their minds and honestly consider the possibility that some of our viewpoints may be correct.  Many of us once faithfully believed many of their viewpoints were true, and then we gave those viewpoints some more consideration.  It took me 35 years as a practicing Christian before I reconsidered many of those viewpoints and decided I no longer believed.

            P.S.  Good luck to Andy Murray at Wimbledon!

          • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

            Robert,

            Sid actually said:

            Person 1 claims A. 
            Person 2 claims A. 
            Person 3 claims A. 

            Keep up man, keep up.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks, glebe.  I am glad you agree, though I thought my original point was clear enough to Bob.  I guess he is confused…

          • Anonymous

            “It seems like you’ve already taken on some of the burden to disprove Christianity.”

            Simply because Christians keep insisting that their respective versions of Christianity have a monopoly on “Truth”. If they would cease and desist, I would do the same—-I would have no need to even talk about Christianity, let alone,  “disprove” it. IOW, Atheism is perfectly reasonable response to Theism, just as a rabies vaccine is a perfectly reasonable response to “rabies”. If the latter didn’t exist, there would be no need for the former.

            “You propose objections, and a Christian responds with their answer, and if that answer doesn’t satisfy you, then you can offer further proof that their answer isn’t sufficient”

            Correct; I’ve never suggested otherwise. And speaking of, no, your answers do not “satisfy” me. I found/find your answers, AKA apologetics, unconvincing, namely, to the “problem of evil”. On the exchristian website(where you decided to raise your objections, first), I gave detailed reasons for why I find your apologetics unconvincing. We can go over it again, here, but I feel it will be an utter waste of time, since you have gone on record (over there) and suggested that people who don’t find the evidence for Christianity convincing, are close-minded. That’s a deal-breaker if I ever saw one.

            “It’s interesting that atheists seem to FEEL a burden of proof, because they 
            are challenging something that is generally accepted–that a God exists.”

            Interesting, or not, that fact that Atheists are “challenging something that is generally accepted” is a red herring. Truth isn’t determined by popular vote.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I agree with you that truth is not determined by popular vote (though there
            was someone on ExChristian.net that said that morality was). My statement
            wasn’t that you SHOULD have the burden of proof, but that you FEEL like you
            have (at least some of) the burden of proof. I actually commend you for
            challenging something that’s generally accepted. However, the converse is
            also true: something that is generally accepted isn’t necessarily false.

          • Anonymous

            “I agree with you that truth is not determined by popular vote (though there was someone on ExChristian.net that said that morality was).”

            I fail to see why you’ve juxtaposed the two, above. What the “truth” is about reality is something we don’t get to decide. What is “moral”(or ethical), we can, and do, decide. Moreover, when you came to our website, I illustrated in great detail how the alternative to Atheism’s “moralty”, namely, Christianity, is in the same subjective boat that Christians claim Atheists are in. 

            “However, the converse is also true: something that is generally accepted isn’t necessarily false.”

            True. And when I see some credible evidence that what is generally accepted is actually true, perhaps I’ll change my mind. I’ve done it once; I’ll do it again.

      • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

        Please pick up a copy of R.C. Sproul’s “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith”

        • Anonymous

          Please pick up a copy of John W. Loftus’ “Why I became an Atheist”.

          http://www.amazon.com/Why-Became-Atheist-Preacher-Christianity/dp/1591025923

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I’m following John Loftus’ website, Debunking Christianity.

          • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

            William Lane Craig articulates the argument better then I ever could. 

             

          • Anonymous

            Broc,

            William Lane Craig vehemently refuses to debate John W. Loftus.  John W. Loftus is a former student of Craig’s.  How interesting…  

          • http://exchristian.net The Truth Seeker

            Give em Hell Sid. 

          • Anonymous

            TSS,

            I don’t think these guys are open-minded at all.  I am hearing the same pablum over and over, and they haven’t answer many direct questions or addressed specific issues we have.    

    • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

      Morality – I generally agree with Bob on this, morality has its foundations in God.

      I can totally, utterly and wholeheartedly agree with this statement – just as soon as you have presented irrefutable, verifiable and repeatedly demonstrable proof that there is a god.

      Until you have done that, your statement is no more that flatus, and has less impact.

      • Anonymous

        Morality – I generally agree with Bob on this, morality has its foundations in God.

        “I can totally, utterly and wholeheartedly agree with this statement – just as soon as you have presented irrefutable, verifiable and repeatedly demonstrable proof that there is a god.” ~ Gleb

        Gleb, good to see you, ol’ chap. Personally, I believe there’s no good reason to agree with the above..i.e..”morality has its foundation in God”, even if no proof(or convincing evidence)  for “God” is forthcoming—and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t. In any event, it’s demonstrably false that there is any “foundation” there, since “killing” is both “right” and “wrong”, depending on how “God” is feeling about the situation. That’s not a “foundation”; it’s arbitrary opinion.

        • http://www.vitalwellnes.co.uk glebealyth

          I suppose, on reflection, that “Immorality has its foundation in God” is probably more accurate, considering the “record” it is claimed that we have of God’s behaviour.

          Always good to see you boom – your encyclopaedic knowledge enriches my life on a regular basis. 

          Thanks muchly,

          David

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  • Josephkocevar

    Bob

    Most Christians fall into a certain demographic when they try and prove either the Bible to be true and/or Christianity to be superior system of faith.  Aside from their Biblical beliefs they will most likely believe:
    Democracy to be a superior form of government.
    Colonies = religious freedom = evangelicals
    Colonies = religious freedom DOES NOT = religions outside of Christianity or even protestants
    Any consummate relationship outside of male/female marriage to be wrong.
    Abortion is wrong.
    Evolution is wrong.
     (I’m sure we could come up several more. )

    The reality of proselytizing Christianity is that the “Christian” proselytizes their culture beliefs in the same breath as their religious belief. Often “selling” both as one.  And furthermore, the Christian is often unable to distinguish between their religious beliefs from their cultural beliefs.  The rhetorical question, “Shouldn’t all Christians take a stand against abortion?”  is a common example.

    This is one example of why “proving Christianity” yields minimal results.  You provide another when you write “People don’t want to accept that they will have to change their behavior once they accept Christ.”  

    First of all, you use a colloquialism only decipherable to Christians or those with evangelical world views when you say “accept Christ”.   By using that phrase you immediately fall into the category witnessing (guilty of colloquy here)  to people who either hold evangelical world views or are familiar with them.  Secondly, your sentence “People don’t want to accept that they will have to change their behavior once they accept Christ”  No where is the Bible to find this to be true.  Sure, people once confronted with the grace they’ve perceived react in ways that often change their behavior.  But it’s not a requirement.  And when we (those who hold an evangelical world view) make is a requirement, we are then back to being unable to distinguish our culture preferences from the Bible.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Hmmm… I disagree with you to a point, but agree on the larger point, Joe. There are many times in the Bible where a radical cultural/behavioral change happened as a result of following Christ. Just take Jesus’ call to his first disciples: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Or the conversion of Paul. Or the disciples that later died for their faith. Furthermore, the “moral objection” is just that… in order to choose to follow Christ, one must choose that he will NOT follow himself. One’s moral value system changes from being self-centric to being Christ-centric (or Bible-centric, depending on your point of view). To many, that necessitates a radical behavior change.
      I agree with you that changing one’s behavior is not a requirement for salvation, but it’s often a result of salvation, and even “unsaved” people see that. They realize the implications of “accepting Christ” and adopting a new worldview, and then actively reject it.

  • Josephkocevar

    Bob

    Most Christians fall into a certain demographic when they try and prove either the Bible to be true and/or Christianity to be superior system of faith.  Aside from their Biblical beliefs they will most likely believe:
    Democracy to be a superior form of government.
    Colonies = religious freedom = evangelicals
    Colonies = religious freedom DOES NOT = religions outside of Christianity or even protestants
    Any consummate relationship outside of male/female marriage to be wrong.
    Abortion is wrong.
    Evolution is wrong.
     (I’m sure we could come up several more. )

    The reality of proselytizing Christianity is that the “Christian” proselytizes their culture beliefs in the same breath as their religious belief. Often “selling” both as one.  And furthermore, the Christian is often unable to distinguish between their religious beliefs from their cultural beliefs.  The rhetorical question, “Shouldn’t all Christians take a stand against abortion?”  is a common example.

    This is one example of why “proving Christianity” yields minimal results.  You provide another when you write “People don’t want to accept that they will have to change their behavior once they accept Christ.”  

    First of all, you use a colloquialism only decipherable to Christians or those with evangelical world views when you say “accept Christ”.   By using that phrase you immediately fall into the category witnessing (guilty of colloquy here)  to people who either hold evangelical world views or are familiar with them.  Secondly, your sentence “People don’t want to accept that they will have to change their behavior once they accept Christ”  No where is the Bible to find this to be true.  Sure, people once confronted with the grace they’ve perceived react in ways that often change their behavior.  But it’s not a requirement.  And when we (those who hold an evangelical world view) make is a requirement, we are then back to being unable to distinguish our culture preferences from the Bible.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nike.chillemi Nike Chillemi

    A huge objection you didn’t mention is it’s hard for people brought up in an ultra scientific age to believe Jesus rose from the dea and walked around after His death talking to his followers.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      That objection is covered under “intellectual objections,” don’t you think?