Sunday, September 11, 2011

21 Unconvincing Arguments for God

(1) Holy Books - Just because something is written down does
not make it true. This goes for the Bible, the Qu’ran, and any
other holy book. It is circular reasoning to try to prove the god of
a holy book exists by using the holy book itself as “evidence.”
People who believe the holy book of one religion usually
disbelieve the holy books of other religions.

(2) “Revelations” - All religions claim to be revealed, usually
through people called “prophets.” But a revelation is a personal
experience. Even if the revelations really did come from a god,
there is no way we could prove it. As Thomas Paine said, it is a
revelation only to the first person, after that it is hearsay. People
of one religion usually disbelieve the revelations of other

(3) Personal Testimony / Feelings - This is when you are
personally having the revelation or feeling that a god exists.
Though you may be sincere, and even if a god really does exist, a
feeling is not proof, either for you or for someone else.

(4) The “God Part” of the Brain - Some religious people argue
that a god must exist, or why else would we have a part of our
brain that can “recognize” a god? What use would that part of our
brain be otherwise? However, imagination is important for us to be able to predict the future, and thus aids our survival. We can imagine all kinds
of things that aren’t true. It is a byproduct of being able to
imagine things that might be true. As a matter of fact, scientists have begun to study why some people have religious beliefs and others don’t, from a biological perspective. They have identified certain naturally occurring
chemicals in our brains that can give us religious experiences.
In studies of religion and the brain, a new field called
neurotheology, they have identified the temporal lobe as a place in
the brain that can generate religious experiences. Another part of the brain that regulates a person’s sense of “self” can be consciously shut down during meditation, giving the meditator (who loses his or her sense of personal boundaries) a feeling of “oneness” with the universe.

(5) “Open Heart” - It will do no good to ask atheists to “open
our hearts and accept Jesus” (or any other deity). If we were to set
aside our skepticism, we might indeed have an inspirational
experience. But this would be an emotional experience and, like a
revelation, we’d have no way to verify if a god was really
speaking to us or if we were just hallucinating.

(6) Unverifiable “Miracles” / Resurrection Stories - Many
religions have miracle stories. And just as people who believe in
one religion are usually skeptical towards miracle stories of other
religions, atheists are skeptical toward all miracle stories.
Good magicians can perform acts that seem like miracles.
Things can be mismeasured and misinterpreted. A “medical
miracle” can simply be attributed to our lack of knowledge of how
the human body works. Why are there never any indisputable
miracles, such as an amputated arm regenerating?
Regarding resurrections, atheists will not find a story of
someone resurrecting from the dead to be convincing. There are
many such legends in ancient literature and, again, most religious
people reject the resurrection stories of other religions.
Modern resurrection stories always seem to occur in Third
World countries under unscientific conditions. However, there
have been thousands of people in modern hospitals hooked up to
machines that verified their deaths when they died. Why didn’t
any of them ever resurrect?

(7) Fear of Death / “Heaven” - Atheists don’t like the fact that
we’re all going to die any more than religious people do.
However, this fear does not prove there is an afterlife – only that
we wish there was an afterlife. But wishing doesn’t make it so.
There is no reason to believe our consciousness survives the
death of our brains. The mind is not something separate from the
body. Chemical alteration and physical damage to our brains can
change our thoughts. Some people get Alzheimer’s disease at the end of their lives. The irreversible damage to their brains can be detected by brain
scans. These people lose their ability to think, yet they are still
alive. How, one second after these people die, does their thinking
return (in a “soul”)?

(8) Fear of Hell - The idea of hell strikes atheists as a scam – an
attempt to get people to believe through fear what they cannot believe through reason and evidence.
The only way to approach this “logically” is to find the religion
that punishes you the worst for disbelief, and then believe that
religion. Okay, you will have saved yourself from the worst
punishment that exists – if that religion is the “true” religion.
But if that religion (with its punishment) is not the true
religion – if the religion that has the second or third worst
punishment for disbelief is the true religion – then you have saved
yourself nothing.
So, which religion’s hell is the true hell. Without evidence, we
can never know.

(9) “Pascal’s Wager” / Faith - In short, Pascal’s Wager states that
we have everything to gain (an eternity in heaven) and nothing to
lose by believing in a god. On the other hand, disbelief can lead to
a loss of heaven (i.e. hell).
We’ve already noted that heaven is wishful thinking and that
hell is a scam, so let’s address the issue of faith.
Pascal’s Wager assumes a person can will himself or herself into
having faith. This is simply not the case, at least not for an atheist.
So atheists would have to pretend to believe. But according to
most definitions of God, wouldn’t God know we were lying to
hedge our bets? Would a god reward this?
Part of Pascal’s Wager states that you “lose nothing” by
believing. But an atheist would disagree. By believing under these
conditions, you’re acknowledging that you’re willing to accept some
things on faith. In other words, you’re saying you’re willing to
abandon evidence as your standard for judging reality. Faith
doesn’t sound so appealing when it’s phrased that way, does it?

(10) Blaming the Victim - Many religions punish people for
disbelief. However, belief requires faith, and some people, such as
atheists, are incapable of faith. Their minds are only receptive to
evidence. Therefore, are atheists to be blamed for not believing
when “God” provides insufficient evidence?

(11) The End of the World - Like the concept of hell, this strikes
atheists as a scare tactic to get people to believe through fear what
they can’t believe through reason and evidence. There have been
predictions that the world was going to end for centuries now. The
question you might want to ask yourselves, if you’re basing your
religious beliefs on this, is how long you’re willing to wait – what
amount of time will convince you that the world is not going to

(12) Meaning in Life - This is the idea that, without belief in a
god, life would be meaningless. Even if this were true, it would
only prove we wanted a god to exist to give meaning to our lives,
not that a god actually does exist. But the very fact that atheists can
find meaning in their lives without a belief in a god shows that god
belief is not necessary.

(13) “God is Intangible, Like Love” - Love is not intangible. We
can define love both as a type of feeling and as demonstrated by
certain types of actions.
Unlike “God,” love is a physical thing. We know the chemicals
responsible for the feeling of love.
Also, love depends upon brain structure – a person with a
lobotomy or other type of brain damage cannot feel love.
Furthermore, if love were not physical, it would not be confined
to our physical brains. We would expect to be able to detect an
entity or force called “love” floating around in the air.

(14) Morality/Ethics - This is the idea that without a god we’d
have no basis for morality. However, a secular moral code existed
before the Bible: the Code of Hammurabi.
In Plato’s dialogue called Euthyphro, Socrates asks a man
named Euthyphro whether something is good because God says it
is, or does God announce something to be good because it has
intrinsic goodness?
If something is good because God says it is, then God might
change his mind about what is good. Thus, there would be no
absolute morality.
If God merely announces something to be good because it has
intrinsic goodness, then we might be able to discover this intrinsic
goodness ourselves, without the need for god belief.
Christians can’t even agree among themselves what’s moral
when it comes to things like masturbation, premarital sex,
homosexuality, divorce, contraception, abortion, embryonic stem
cell research, euthanasia, and the death penalty.
Christians reject some of the moral laws found in the Bible,
such as killing disobedient children or people who work on the sabbath. Therefore, Christians must be applying their own ethical
standards from outside the Bible to be able to recognize that these
commandments in the Bible are unethical.
Other animals exhibit kindness toward one another and a
sense of justice. Morality is something that evolved from us
being social beings. It’s based on the selfish advantage we get
from cooperation, and on consequences.

(15) Altruism - People sometimes say that without a god there
would be no altruism, that evolution only rewards selfish
However, it can be argued that there is no such thing as
altruism, that people always do what they want to do. If they are
only faced with bad choices, then people choose the thing they
hate the least.
Our choices are based on what gives us (our genes) the best
advantage for survival, including raising our reputation in society.
“Altruism” towards family members benefits people who
share our genes. “Altruism” towards friends benefits people who
may someday return the favor.
Even “altruism” towards strangers has a basis in evolution.
This behavior first evolved in small tribes, where everyone knew
each other and a good reputation enhanced one’s survival. It is
now hard-wired in our brains as a general mode of conduct.

(16) Free Will - Some people argue that without a god there
would be no free will, that we would live in a deterministic
universe of cause and effect and that we would be mere “robots.”
Actually, there is far less free will than most people think
there is. Our conditioning (our biological desire to survive and
prosper, combined with our experiences) make certain “choices” far
more likely than others. How else can we explain our ability, in
many cases, to predict human behavior?
Experiments have shown that our brain makes a “decision” to
take action before we become conscious of it!
Some believe that the only free will we have is to exercise a
conscious veto over actions suggested by our thoughts.
Most atheists have no problem admitting that free will may
be an illusion.
This issue also brings up a conundrum: If a god who created
us knows the future, how can we have free will?
In the end, if we are enjoying our lives, does it matter if free
will is real or an illusion? Isn’t it only our ego – our healthy selfesteem
that is beneficial for survival – that has been conditioned
to believe that real free will is somehow better than imaginary
free will?

(17) Difficulties of Religion - It has sometimes been argued that
because certain religious practices are difficult to follow, nobody
would do them if a god didn’t exist. However, it is the belief in
the existence of a god that is motivating people. A god doesn’t
really have to exist for this to happen.
Difficulties can serve as an initiation rite of passage into being
counted one of the “select few.” After all, if just anybody could
be “saved,” there might be no point in having a religion.
Finally, the reward for obedience promised by most religions
– a heaven – far outweighs any difficulties religion imposes.

(18) False Dichotomies - This is being presented with a false
“either/or” proposition, where you’re only given two alternatives
when, in fact, there are more possibilities.
Here’s one that many Christians are familiar with: “Either
Jesus was insane or he was god. Since Jesus said some wise
things, he wasn’t insane. Therefore, he must be God, like he said
he was.” But those are not the only two possibilities.
A third option is that, yes, it is possible to say some wise
things and be deluded that you are a god.
A fourth possibility is that Jesus didn’t say everything that is
attributed to him in the Bible. Maybe he didn’t actually say all
those wise things, but the writers of the Bible said he did. Or
maybe he never claimed to be God, but the writers turned him
into a god after he died.
A fifth possibility is that Jesus is a fictional character and so
everything was invented by the authors.
Here’s another example of a false dichotomy: “No one would
die for a lie. The early Christians died for Christianity.
Therefore, Christianity must be true.”
What’s left out of this is that there is no evidence that anyone
who ever personally knew Jesus (if he even existed) was ever
martyred. We only have stories of martyrdom.
Another explanation is that the followers had been fooled,
intentionally or unintentionally, into thinking Jesus was God, and
so they were willing to die for a lie (that they thought was true.)
Another point is that if you believe you’ll end up in a heaven
after to die, then martyrdom is no big deal.
Finally, does the fact that the 9/11 bombers were willing to
die for their faith make Islam true?

(19) God-of-the-Gaps (Medicine, Life, Universe, etc.) - The godof-
the-gaps argument says that if we don’t currently know the
scientific answer to something, then “God did it.”
God-of-the-gaps is used in many areas, but I’ll focus on the
three main ones: medicine, life, and the universe. You’ll notice that
God never has to prove himself in these arguments. It is always
assumed that he gets to win by default.
Here’s a medical example: A person experiences a cure for a
disease that science can’t explain. Therefore, “God did it.”
But this assumes we know everything about the human body,
so that a natural explanation is impossible. But the fact is, we
don’t have complete medical knowledge. Why don’t we ever see
something that would be a true miracle, like an amputated arm
instantaneously regenerating?
Several studies of prayer, where the patients didn’t know
whether or not they were being prayed for, including a study by the
Mayo Clinic, have shown prayer to have no effect on healing.
(This raises the question of why we would have to beg an allpowerful,
all-loving god to be healed in the first place. It seems
ironic, to say the least, to pray to a god to be cured from diseases
and the effects of natural disasters that he himself created. It also
raises the Problem of Evil: If God is all-powerful and all-loving,
why does evil exist in the first place?)
An example of god-of-the-gaps as it applies to life is
creationism and “intelligent design.” It says we don’t know
everything about evolution, therefore “God did it.” This ignores the
fossil and genetic evidence and also fails to explain the many poor
and sub-optimal “designs” we find in nature. Is “God” an
incompetent or sloppy designer?
The final and most popular example of god-of-the-gaps is the
universe. But to say we don’t know the origins of the universe – if
the universe even had an ultimate beginning – does not mean that
“God did it.”
And, of course, it begs the question: Who created God? If
complex things need a creator to explain their existence, then “God,”
who by the traditional definition is far more complex than the
universe, and is even more in need of a creator.

(20) “Fine-tuning” of the Earth - Some religious people argue that
the Earth is positioned “just right” in the solar system (not too hot,
not too cold, etc.) for life to exist. Furthermore, the elements on
Earth (carbon, oxygen, etc.) are also “just right.” These people
claim that this couldn’t have happened “by accident,” so a god must
exist to have done the positioning and chemistry.
We should be able to recognize a god-of-the-gaps argument here.
But an even better rebuttal exists. If Earth was the only planet in
the universe, then it would indeed be remarkable that our conditions
turned out to be “just right.”
But most religious people acknowledge that there are probably
thousands, if not millions, of other planets in the universe. (Our
own solar system has eight planets.) Therefore, by chance, at least
one of those planets will have conditions that will produce some
kind of life.
We can imagine religious purple creatures with four eyes and
breathing carbon dioxide on another planet also falsely believing
that their planet is “fine-tuned” and that a creator god exists in their

(21) “Fine-tuning” of the Universe - Some religious people argue
that the six physical constants of the universe (which control such
things as the strength of gravity) can only exist within a very narrow
range to produce a universe capable of sustaining life. Therefore,
since this couldn’t have happened “by accident,” a god must have
done it.
Again, this is a god-of-the-gaps argument. But beyond that,
this argument assumes that we know everything about astrophysics
– a field in which new discoveries are made on almost a daily basis.
We may discover that our universe is not so “fine tuned” after all.
However, the best rebuttal is that there may exist multiple
universes – either separately or as “bubble universes” within a single
universe. Each of these universes could have its own set of
constants. Given enough universes, by chance it is likely that at
least one will produce and sustain life.
We know it is possible for at least one universe to exist – we
are in it. If one can exist, why not many? On the other hand, we
have no evidence that it is possible for even one god to exist.
Conclusion - Religious people have a tough, if not impossible task
to try to prove a god exists, let alone that their particular religion is
true. If any religion had objective standards, wouldn’t everyone be
flocking to the same “true” religion? Instead we find that people
tend to believe, to varying degrees, the religion in which they were
indoctrinated. Or they are atheists.

2006, 2007 August Berkshire Sept. 19, 2007

The “Evidence” for Jesus’ Resurrection, Debunked in One Page By Chris Hallquist

Among Evangelical Christians, it’s become popular to claim that Jesus’ resurrection can be proved with historical evidence. This is nonsense.

Here’s why:

1. There is no evidence for the resurrection outside the Bible. Non-Christian historical references to Jesus don’t occur until about six decades after the time when Biblical scholars think he probably
died. When these non-Christian sources refer to Jesus’ miracles, there’s no reason to see them as anything more than a report of what Christians of the time believed.

2. There is little evidence that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, or based directly on eyewitness accounts. Most of what the Bible says about Jesus’ life and supposed resurrection is in the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, (a.k.a. the Gospels). But Biblical scholars now agree these books were originally anonymous, their names added later. The traditional Christian claims about who wrote them is now widely doubted by scholars.

3. This means that the Gospels can’t be trusted as evidence for miracles. Imagine someone trying to convert you to another religion based on the “proof” of the miracles worked by the religion’s
founder... in the form of a handful of anonymous tracts recounting his life. Would you accept that “proof”? Of course not. Among other things, the stories could just be legends.

4.One of Paul’s letters provides evidence that a number of people claimed Jesus had appeared to them after his death. But this isn’t proof of a miracle. The passage is 1st Corinthians 15:3-9, and most Biblical scholars agree it was really written by Paul. But again, would you accept similar evidence in favor of another religion’s miracles? The Mormon church has statements signed by several people attesting to miracles that are supposed to confirm the truth of the Book of the
Mormon, but you probably won’t convert to Mormonism based on that. Also, Paul doesn’t tell us how he knows about all these appearances, so we can’t be confident his report is accurate.

5. Reports that Jesus’ disciples were martyred prove nothing. Reports of the martyrdom of Jesus’ disciples do not occur in this historical record until long after their deaths would have occurred, and accounts sometimes conflict with one another. It could be that most, even all, of these stories are legends. In any case, not only do people sometimes give up their lives for delusions, even outright charlatans have been killed for their claims. Joseph Smith was probably a charlatan, but he died at the hands of a lynch mob. So we can’t rule out deception among Jesus’ followers.

6. Claims that this or that individual couldn’t possibly have hallucinated are nonsense. Even apparently sane people hallucinate for a wide variety of reasons and under a wide variety of circumstances. We can’t rule this out for people who claimed to have seen the risen Jesus.

7. Even if there were several people in Paul’s day who would have claimed to have all seen the risen Jesus at the same time, their testimony might not have stood up to scrutiny. There have been cases where a group of children have claimed to see the Virgin Mary, and been taken seriously by adults who should have known better. In many of these cases, the children were questioned
individually and their descriptions of what they saw didn’t match, suggesting deception or delusion.

8. That’s it. Part of me thinks that what I’ve said in this one page is all that needs to be said on the subject. But if you want to know how I back up these claims, you can get my book UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God: Debunking the Resurrection of Jesus. The book also includes a crash course in New Testament scholarship, discussions of faith healing and Biblical prophecy, and plenty of tidbits about the strange beliefs people have had throughout history. It’s available on Amazon, and there’s more information, including links to reviews, on my website,

A Few Ridiculous Bible Verses.

Exodus 32:9 - 14

But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die

"For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)

"If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people." (Leviticus 20:18)

"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

"Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." (Leviticus 19:27)

"At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts." (Deuteronomy 15:1)

"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of the town. They shall say to the elders, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death..." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

" not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear material woven of two kinds of material." (Leviticus 19:19)

Daniel 2:21, "he removeth kings, and setteth up kings,"

Timothy 2:11-15 that the woman is to be silent in the assembly of the church because she was deceived.

Genisis 3:16 - and the lord god said to the women "I will cause you to have much trouble when you are pregnant and when you give birth to children you will have much pain. you will want your husband very much but he will rule over you".

Could Jonah survive in a whale?

The stomach has several pockets. They are called gastric bags and there are 3. The stomach is the main digestive organ as the killer whale does not chew its prey and does not have salivary glands (which is the first chemical decomposition element of the food). Because the oesophagus is very large, what is swallowed arrives as is in the stomach, or to be more precise, in the first pocket.

The first pocket, or mechanical stomach is actually a kind of crusher, which will pound and chop the prey, making them more easily digestible. This pocket has no salivary glands though. It’s a kind of post oesophagus. However, the works from Flower & Lyddeker (1891) showed that, occasionally, a small quantity of digestive juices from the second pocket passes on to the first pocket, starting the digestion process. It’s worth noting that pebbles and shells are sometimes found in this mechanical stomach, aiding in the crushing of the food.

Food is then transferred to the second pocket, the central one which is called the chemical stomach, or main stomach. Hence the walls are thicker and of course with digestive glands. The hydrochloric acid together with the digestive juices will deteriorate the large molecules so they can be absorbed by the mucous membranes of the digestive tube.

Then comes the last pocket, or pyloric stomach (because it is situated in the pylorus zone, before the intestine). It is a kind of waiting room.

E. Perkopf

Contradictions In The Bible

JOH 10:30 I and my Father are one.

JOH 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.


MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.


ACT 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

MAT 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.


ISA 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

MAT 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;


MAT 27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

LUK 23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

JOH 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."


In two places in the New Testament the genealogy of Jesus son of Mary is mentioned. MAT 1:6-16 and LUK 3:23-31. Each gives the ancestors of Joseph the CLAIMED husband of Mary and Step father of Jesus. The first one starts from Abraham(verse 2) all the way down to Jesus. The second one from Jesus all the way back to Adam. The only common name to these two lists between David and Jesus is JOSEPH, How can this be true? and also How can Jesus have a genealogy when all Muslims and most Christians believe that Jesus had/has no father.


Judas dying.
"And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself." (MAT 27:5)

"And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out." (ACT 1:18)


2KI 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

2CH 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.


Matt 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV)

Matt 6:3-4 "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (NIV)


It is indisputable that Luke dates the birth of Jesus to 6 A.D. It is also indisputable that Matthew dates the birth of Jesus before 4 B.C., perhaps around 6 B.C. This is an irreconcilable contradiction

DT 25:19 "... you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget."
(That remembrance is now permanently preserved in the Bible.)

2CH 13:17  500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.)

IS 30:26  The moon will someday be as bright as the sun now is. (Note: Until relatively recent times, the moon and the planets were thought to give off their own light.)

IS 40:22  The earth is a circle. (Note: The earth is really a sphere, not a circle, and this verse does not imply a sphere as some believers like to infer.)

MT 4:8 There is a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen. (Note: This implies a flat earth.)

MT 13:41  Jesus will send his angels to purge his kingdom of evildoers and sin. (Note: How did evildoers get into his kingdom in the first place?)

MT 4:23-24, 9:32-33, 12:22, 17:14-18, MK 1:23-26, 32-34, 5:2-16, 9:17-29, 16:9, LK 11:14, 4:33-35, 8:2, 27-36, 9:38-42, AC 8:7, 16:16-18 Both physical and mental illness are caused by demon possession and can be cured by exorcism.

JN 8:51 Jesus says: "... if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

JN 12:34 A crowd of persons (speaking in unison?) asks Jesus a thirty word question.

2CO 12:2 There are at least three heavens.

2CO 12:4 There are things which cannot be told--things which man cannot utter.

1TI 6:10  The love of money is the root of all evil(s). (Note: Some translations emend the text to read, "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils," or something similar, in an attempt to ameliorate an obvious problem. Those additional words are not there in the Greek of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.)

RE 21:16 The city of New Jerusalem (where the residents of heaven reside) is only about 1500 miles square.

1 Timothy 2:14 (King James Version)

 14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Genesis 6:15 (King James Version)

 15And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Genesis 32:24-30 (King James Version)

 24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

 25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

 26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

 27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

 28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

 29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

 30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Deuteronomy 25:5-9 (King James Version)

 5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

 6And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.

 7And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.

 8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;

 9Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bible Teaching and Religious Practice By Mark Twain (from Europe and Elsewhere and A Pen Warmed Up In Hell)

Religion had its share in the changes of civilization and national character, of course. What share? The lion’s. In the history of the human race this has always been the case, will always be the case, to the end of time, no doubt; or at least until man by the slow processes of evolution shall develop into something really fine and high - some billions of years hence, say.

The Christian Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes. For eighteen hundred years these changes were slight - scarcely noticeable. The practice was allopathic - allopathic in its rudest and crudest form. The dull and ignorant physician day and night, and all the days and all the nights, drenched his patient with vast and hideous doses of the most repulsive drugs to be found in the store’s stock; he bled him, cupped him, purged him, puked him, salivated him, never gave his system a chance to rally, nor nature a chance to help. He kept him religion sick for eighteen centuries, and allowed him not a well day during all that time. The stock in the store was made up of about equal portions of baleful and debilitating poisons, and healing and comforting medicines; but the practice of the time confined the physician to the use of the former; by consequence, he could only damage his patient, and that is what he did.

Not until far within our century was any considerable change in the practice introduced; and then mainly, or in effect only, in Great Britain and the United States. In the other countries to-day, the patient either still takes the ancient treatment or does not call the physician at all. In the English-speaking countries the changes observable in our century were forced by that very thing just referred to - the revolt of the patient against the system; they were not projected by the physician. The patient fell to doctoring himself, and the physician’s practice began to fall off. He modified his method to get back his trade. He did it gradually, reluctantly; and never yielded more at a time than the pressure compelled. At first he relinquished the daily dose of hell and damnation, and administered it every other day only; next he allowed another day to pass; then another and presently another; when he had restricted it at last to Sundays, and imagined that now there would surely be a truce, the homeopath arrived on the field and made him abandon hell and damnation altogether, and administered Christ’s love, and comfort, and charity and compassion in its stead. These had been in the drug store all the time, gold labeled and conspicuous among the long shelfloads of repulsive purges and vomits and poisons, and so the practice was to blame that they had remained unused, not the pharmacy. To the ecclesiastical physician of fifty years ago, his predecessor for eighteen centuries was a quack; to the ecclesiastical physician of to-day, his predecessor of fifty years ago was a quack. To the every-man-his-own-ecclesiastical-doctor of - when? - what will the ecclesiastical physician of to-day be? Unless evolution, which has been a truth ever since the globes, suns, and planets of the solar system were but wandering films of meteor dust, shall reach a limit and become a lie, there is but one fate in store for him.

The methods of the priest and the parson have been very curious, their history is very entertaining. In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession - and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance.

Christian England supported slavery and encouraged it for two hundred and fifty years, and her church’s consecrated ministers looked on, sometimes taking an active hand, the rest of the time indifferent. England’s interest in the business may be called a Christian interest, a Christian industry. She had her full share in its revival after a long period of inactivity, and his revival was a Christian monopoly; that is to say, it was in the hands of Christian countries exclusively. English parliaments aided the slave traffic and protected it; two English kings held stock in slave-catching companies. The first regular English slave hunter - John Hawkins, of still revered memory - made such successful havoc, on his second voyage, in the matter of surprising and burning villages, and maiming, slaughtering, capturing, and selling their unoffending inhabitants, that his delighted queen conferred the chivalric honor of knighthood on him - a rank which had acquired its chief esteem and distinction in other and earlier fields of Christian effort. The new knight, with characteristic English frankness and brusque simplicity, chose as his device the figure of a negro slave, kneeling and in chains. Sir John’s work was the invention of Christians, was to remain a bloody and awful monopoly in the hands of Christians for a quarter of a millennium, was to destroy homes, separate families, enslave friendless men and women, and break a myriad of human hearts, to the end that Christian nations might be prosperous and comfortable, Christian churches be built, and the gospel of the meek and merciful Redeemer be spread abroad in the earth; and so in the name of his ship, unsuspected but eloquent and clear, lay hidden prophecy. She was called The Jesus.

But at last in England, an illegitimate Christian rose against slavery. It is curious that when a Christian rises against a rooted wrong at all, he is usually an illegitimate Christian, member of some despised and bastard sect. There was a bitter struggle, but in the end the slave trade had to go - and went. The Biblical authorization remained, but the practice changed.

Then - the usual thing happened; the visiting English critic among us began straightway to hold up his pious hands in horror at our slavery. His distress was unappeasable, his words full of bitterness and contempt. It is true we had not so many as fifteen hundred thousand slaves for him to worry about, while his England still owned twelve millions, in her foreign possessions; but that fact did not modify his wail any, or stay his tears, or soften his censure. The fact that every time we had tried to get rid of our slavery in previous generations, but had always been obstructed, balked, and defeated by England, was a matter of no consequence to him; it was ancient history, and not worth the telling.

Our own conversion came at last. We began to stir against slavery. Hearts grew soft, here, there, and yonder. There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one - the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession - at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text remained; the practice changed, that was all.

During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.

Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch - the priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. At Salem, the parson clung pathetically to his witch text after the laity had abandoned it in remorse and tears for the crimes and cruelties it has persuaded them to do. The parson wanted more blood, more shame, more brutalities; it was the unconsecrated laity that stayed his hand. In Scotland the parson killed the witch after the magistrate had pronounced her innocent; and when the merciful legislature proposed to sweep the hideous laws against witches from the statute book, it was the parson who came imploring, with tears and imprecations, that they be suffered to stand.

There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.

It is not well worthy of note that of all the multitude of texts through which man has driven his annihilating pen he has never once made the mistake of obliterating a good and useful one? It does certainly seem to suggest that if man continues in the direction of enlightenment, his religious practice may, in the end, attain some semblance of human decency.

21 Common Logic Errors

1. Ad Hominem Argument An argument that counters another’s claim or conclusion by attacking the person, rather than attacking the argument itself. (Latin, “against the man.”) A specific example of the Genetic Fallacy which assumes that an idea is not true because of its origin. E.g., a Democrat (or Republican) has a idea, therefore, it must be bad. (Also called the Fallacy of Irrelevance.)

2. Argument from Antiquity An argument is true because it has been held for a long time. Related to the Argument from Numbers, the argument that because many people think something is true, it is true (also known as the Argument Ad Populum).

3. Argument from Authority Stating that a claim is true because an authority (person or group of people) says it is true.

4. Argument from Final Consequences A claim is true because of a purpose or outcome that is served (or vice versa). Also known as a Teleological Argument. E.g., “evolution cannot be true because accepting it will lead to immorality.”

5. Argument from Ignorance The claim that a specific belief is true because we don’t know that it isn’t true.

6. Argument from Personal Incredulity Because you, personally, cannot understand or accept a proposition it is, therefore, not true. Often coupled with a False Dichotomy (see below) as in “I don’t see how the eye could have evolved, therefore, God did it.”

7. Begging the Question or a Tautology A statement that hinges on A=A (or A=B therefore B=A), which is simply restating the premise. For example, “he is unintelligent because he is stupid” or “only a criminal would commit a crime; the fact that criminals commit crimes is proof of this.” (Tautology, literally a repetition.) The “proof” is a restatement of the premise.

8. Confirmation Bias Noticing only the facts that support your thesis but ignoring those that do not.

9. Confusing Correlation with Causation Assuming cause and effect for two variables because they are correlated. E.g., “heroin addicts drank milk as a child, therefore, milk causes heroin addiction.” This is similar to the Post-hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy (see below).

10. Confounding the Unexplained with the Unexplainable Because we do not currently have an explanation for a phenomenon does not mean that it is forever unexplainable or that it requires a paranormal/supernatural explanation.

11. False Continuum The idea that because there is no definitive demarcation between two extremes, the distinction between the extremes is not real or meaningful. E.g, because there is a fuzzy line between science and pseudoscience they are the same thing. Related to the Slippery Slope (see below).

12. False Dichotomy Arbitrarily reducing a set of possibilities to only two.

13. False Premise An incorrect/untrue underlying assumption. Often found in an argument that is otherwise logically consistent but which leads to a false conclusion.

14. Inconsistency Applying specific criteria or rules to one belief, claim, argument, or position but not to others.

15. Moving the Goalpost A method of denial by arbitrarily moving the criteria for proof, acceptance, or rejection out of the range of whatever evidence currently exists or is agreed upon.

16. Non-Sequitur This refers to an argument in which the conclusion does not follow from the premise. In other words, a logical connection is implied where none exists. (Latin, “doesn’t follow.”). Really, all logical fallacies are non-sequiturs.

17. Post-hoc Ergo Propter Hoc This fallacy follows the basic form of: A preceded B, therefore A caused B. This argument assumes cause and effect for two events just because they are temporally related. (Latin, “after this, therefore because of this.”)

18. Slippery Slope The argument that a position is not acceptable because accepting the position means that the extreme of the position must also be accepted. But, moderate positions do not necessarily lead down a slippery slope to the extreme. Careful here: Reductio Ad Absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd"), a form of argument in which a proposition is disproved by logically following its implications to an absurd conclusion, can be a valid argument.

19. Straw Man Arguing against a misrepresentation or over-simplification of the position actually held by an opponent.

20. Special Pleading (Ad Hoc Reasoning) The arbitrary introduction of new elements into an argument in order to amend them so that they appear valid. E.g., “ESP doesn’t work in the presence of skeptics.” A subtle fallacy which is often difficult to recognize.

21. Tu Quoque To reject a position because someone (inconsistently) holds it. Also called an Appeal to Hypocrisy. Person 1: “Smoking tobacco is bad for you.” Person 2: “You smoke, therefore, your argument is invalid.” (Latin, “you too.”)

Random: 80's metal making a comeback.

Does anyone else think metal bands from the 80's just shouldn't be putting out new albums anymore? I mean...the metal scene has changed a lot in 20 years. Dont get me wrong, I LOVE Megadeth and Metalica, they are huge influences in my playing, but maybe they should just keep their dignity, reap what they've already sown, and fade away while they are still respected. Could you imagine a tour like Megadeth opening for Asking Alexandria/Miss May I? even bands like All That Remains and Atreyu, which are more melodic would be awkward to see with them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Natural Burial

"gasp! I know what I want to do when I die!" You probably dont hear this phrase very often...esp. from a 23 year old. For some reason, while browsing the internet after a long day at work, I was thinking how much a standard funeral costs and how harmful to the environment it can actually be. I actually really care about the environment and I think I'd like to do whatever I could to be cleaner and live better for our planet...for later generations.

As I am looking around on the web, I stumbled on what is called "natural Burials". A natural burial is natural as you can get. Ya dig a hole and chuck a body in it I suppose. There are also pine boxes that are allowed to replace lacquered wood and metal caskets.

That doesn't sound very um...socially exceptable, is it even legal?

of course, here are the requirements:

If there is an outer case around the coffin, the uppermost part of the outer case must be deeper than 1.5 feet from the natural surface. [28 Pa. Code 1.21(a)]

If there is not an outer case and there is just a coffin or just the body with no coffin, then the item buried must be deeper than 2 feet from the natural surface of the ground. [28 Pa. Code 1.21 (b)]

If the death was not from a contagious disease, no state law requires a casket or vault.

The Cemetery Law at 9 P.S. 10 provides "It is unlawful to use for the burial of the dead any land the drainage of which passes into any stream furnishing the whole or any portion of the water supply of any city except beyond the distance of one mile from such city." Thus, check with the local sewage enforcement officer as to the distance a septic system must be from a well and apply similar distance between the well and the grave site.

 Now, you might ask you're self..why would you want such a barbaric thing done with you're self? Isn't that what they used to do in the days before we knew what the hell we were doing? Is it even safe for everyone to be around a dead body in a hole in the ground? The answers are yes for both. We did used to bury everyone this way. well.. why have things changed? I assume mostly because of status symbolism and being egocentric, because if you think about it, burying people this way is very bad for the earth. Also, the only person who worries about a cement vault is someone like Adam West in the episode of Family Guy were the Mayer is afraid of a zombie apocalypse.

think about it though, *Each year in U.S. cemeteries, we bury 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid, which includes formaldehyde; 180,544,000 pounds of steel; 5,400,000 pounds of copper and bronze; and 30 million board feet of hardwoods, including tropical woods. . . Cemeteries turn beautiful places into a monoculture of gravestones—really a landfill of embalming chemicals and cement. Then backhoes, lawnmowers, and tree pruners put diesel emissions into the air and pesticides and fertilizers into the water.

Then there's the costs. A traditional funeral can be a very expensive undertaking.  According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral as of December 2006, was $7,323.  That figure included costs for a casket and an outer burial vault, but not for a cemetery plot, which adds an additional $500 to $5,000 or more, depending on plot size, location, cemetery, and amenities such as monuments and perpetual care., then cremation is the way to go. That's gotta be better for the planet right? That's what I thought too...but actually:

*Cremation is more cost-effective than a traditional burial, but has its own adverse environmental impacts.  The biggest issue is fossil-fuel consumption during the cremation process.  A single cremation uses the same amount of energy as is consumed driving 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers). Total energy expenditure for all cremations performed in the U.S. each year could instead be used to propel someone to the moon and back 85 times.
Another environmental issue with cremation is that it is a source of air pollution and of highly toxic mercury emissions – primarily from dental amalgam fillings.  An estimated 1,000 to 7,800 pounds (450 to 3,500 kilograms) of mercury is released annually in the U.S. by cremations.  Of that, 75% becomes airborne where it can be breathed in by all of us.  (Mercury emissions could be reduced by changing cremation practices, but that would increase costs for operators and therefore consumers.)  In addition, crematoriums may be responsible for as much as 12% of all dioxins in the atmosphere – a serious carcinogen and mutagen formed when chlorinated compounds are oxidized.

Some but not all cremation remains are subsequently buried in a memorial setting.  In cases where they are not, many people feel deprived of the opportunity to visit a special place to honor the departed loved one.

So, whats another reason to do things, um...naturally? Well, it's all about giving back to the earth. You came from nature...dust and god's breath if you're one of them christian folk, so why not go back from whence you came? It's all about the circle of life! *cue lion king music*.

alright alright, I think I get it but its still kind of weird. How do you go about doing something like that anyway?

here's the deal:

1) If you have your own rural land, check your local zoning laws for rules on home burial. It is allowed in most states. You can be as natural as you want on your own land. In Pennsylvania, a burial must comply with the state’s “depth of grave” requirements as mentioned earlier.

2) Forgo embalming. It is never routinely required by law for funerals and its unlikely that any cemetery requires it for burial.

3) If the idea of not being buried in something is odd enough for you, Select a wood casket or cardboard box—or shroud—for burial. There are no laws requiring particular types of caskets—even if you encounter resistance from the funeral director or cemetery.

4) If the cemetery won’t let you skip the vault, you can choose a concrete grave box that has an open bottom to let the body come in contact with the earth—or invert a concrete grave liner and use the lid for something else.

I've made up my mind at 23 years old after work one night. It's certainly they way to go to help a little at a time with the environment, after all..I've been going "Green" before it was a popular fad. Have YOU giving this issue any thought? Perhaps you should.

Next on the list, A living will! juuuuust kidding.

* Compiled using statistics from the Casket and Funeral Association of America, Cremation Association of North America, Doric Inc., the Rainforest Action Network, and Mary Woodsen, Pre-Posthumous Society).
*Is Cremation any Greener?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good natured clowns, fat children and bad parents.

Mc Donald’s at one point were asked to get rid of Ronald McDonald, their clown mascot. people believed that the fun figure influenced kids to want to eat there. we all know fast food isnt the best for us, there for, changing the mascot would make kids less interested in the un-healthy food. my first thought was....since when do kids get to choose what and where they eat? what are parents doing!? my second was, What about children with a fear of clowns. in my experience, there are a lot of people who have this unusual phobia. so, just how influential IS this said clown? obviously it has nothing to do with it, and parents these days have no backbones.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Holidays

As an atheist, there are several holidays that I do not celebrate. A few of our holidays come from religious, usually christian roots. ...even though they have pagan roots that are undermined by the majority religion. Actually, there are a few religious holidays that I actually do celebrate, but not the way most celebrate them. I appreciate the roots that were pre-christian in these holidays, and since my fiance is pagan, I celebrate those with her.

I always found it interesting that we have a "Federal holiday" in our country that is not secular. While most of our national holidays celebrate the forming of our nation, or events that defined our culture as a secular nation, Christmas is on that list which goes against the first amendment. ..Not to mention that it's roots were undermined in the first place.

Very many holidays that we have, have roots that most people seem to not be aware of..even the people who invented them. Groundhog day for example has pagan roots. These roots are often forgotten, undermined or just plain stolen.
examples: Christmas and Halloween.

There is also a few holidays that I would like to NOT celebrate, though I do.
Valentine's day comes to mind. Like I've mentioned before, a lot of people dont seem to know the roots of a holiday because it is well hidden behind commercialism. Since St. Valentine has the holiday named after him, I'm obviously not a person who gives this holiday much attention..however, I have a girlfriend who would probably be a little upset if she didn't get a heart shaped box of candies and a few roses on this day.

Other holidays I do not celebrate are:

Easter - resurrection of a savior who I dont beleive in.
Columbus Day - This one has nothing to do with religion..this one has to do with the principle behind it. He killed and deceived natives and thought he landed in the east..but yet we celebrate him. Never made sense.
St. Patrick's day - this one is the same as St. Valentine's day.
Mardi Gras - this one isn't really a  holiday..more so a popular celebration. It's a catholic celebration, that everyone seems to like to be a part of.

To sum everything up, I observe secular holidays and the original version of religious holidays because of an appreciation of there pagan roots.