“I Do Not Agree With Same-Sex Marriage!”

I have heard some religious folks say that they cannot condone or agree with same-sex marriage. It usually comes in the form of not “agreeing with the lifestyle” or not “condoning the continuance of sin.” Today, I will address the absurdity of this argument.

First, we should address the lack of a legitimate argument when these statements are made. No one is asking you to agree with it. No one is asking you to condone it. However, you will accept equal rights for all people because it is going to happen whether you like it or not. No one cares if it is against your religion or not. No one is forcing you to get a same-sex marriage so stop trying to force your religious rules and guidelines onto other people.

Second, you might try to get the plank out of your own eye before removing what you believe to be a speck in someone else’s (Matthew 7:5). I can already anticipate the outcry from the religious that I am quoting their book. You claim that it has all the answers and that you live by it, not to mention attempting to force others to live by it. It makes perfect sense, then, to use your own book to demonstrate the ignorance of your argument.

To continue, people that are “born again” are not supposed to habitually sin or continue on in sin (1 John 3:6,9) and this is the main problem they have with homosexuality, which is considered an offense punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). The problem is that this is an extremely hypocritical position to adopt, unless you are not habitually sinning or continuing on in sin.

Religious folks always play the New Covenant card when it is convenient for them, but use the Old Testament to support their bigotry when needed. This is extremely disingenuous considering that the person who they believe is God—Jesus—says that the Law will be binding until the end of time (Matthew 5:17-19). It also turns out that if you turn a blind eye to the Law, everything, even your prayer, becomes an abomination (Proverbs 28:9). The Bible also says that if you continue to sin willfully after being born again, then you’re basically SOL (Hebrews 10:26).

There are many habitual things that Christians do that are sins. Let’s look at just a few of them.

Getting tattoos (Leviticus 19:28). Tattoos are in style and have been an accessory for much of recorded history, but that means nothing because they are prohibited.

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Not standing in the presence of the elderly (Leviticus 19:32). Do you stand in the presence of every elderly person you know? Tsk tsk.

Working on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3). The Sabbath begins on sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. The rabbis who wrote the Talmud established 39 categories of work that cannot be performed on the Sabbath. These include cooking, washing clothes, constructing, repairing, writing, making a fire, cutting, fishing, and so on. Over the last century, rabbis have had to figure out how to apply the ancient laws to modern inventions. They have decided that, for instance, one cannot drive on the Sabbath because it involves both moving an object and igniting the fuel, both of which are prohibited.

Trimming your beard (Leviticus 19:27). That’s right, fellas. God likes beards and you better not trim them… or else.

Talebearing (Leviticus 19:16). You know all that juicy gossip that you want to spread to all your friends? Yep. It’s a sin and some of you do it every day.

Eating lobster and shellfish (Leviticus 11:10). Leviticus 11 is the basis of the Kosher law and outlines many of the things that you are not supposed to eat. Sorry, but shrimp and lobster are abominations.

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Braided hair, costly garments and jewelry (1 Timothy 2:9). Ladies, God likes modesty and does not approve of your braided hair, expensive clothes and accessories, or your jewelry collection.

Divorce (Mark 10:8-12). The Bible is very clear on this one: No divorcing. You can’t do it. In fact, you are committing adultery every time you have sex with someone when you are divorced.

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Additionally, there are six things that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). My personal favorite is haughty eyes, which basically describes someone who is arrogant and self-righteous while looking down on others.

Children that are born out of wedlock are frowned upon (Deuteronomy 23:2), as well as the premarital sex (sexual immorality) that created them (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). In the biblical view, adultery includes any sexual activity carried on outside the bonds of committed marriage.

Also, I would like to list the a few of the verses that say that the old covenant, including the Sabbath, is everlasting and perpetual—and that God would never forget its importance (Genesis 9:11-16, Exodus 31:16, Exodus 12:14, Exodus 12:17, Exodus 12:24, Leviticus 16:29, Leviticus 16:31, Leviticus 23:21, Deuteronomy 5:29, Deuteronomy 11:1, Deuteronomy 4:30-31, Matthew 5:17-19).

Finally, you must perform works because faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26) and the branch that does not bear fruit is not really a believer, therefore, it will be cast into the fire (John 15:6).

Not agreeing with a lifestyle or condoning the continuance of sin (in the example of homosexuality) is complete bullshit. Well, unless you are living and owning up to the Bible in its entirety. If you aren’t, don’t you dare think that you can force this nonsense onto me or anyone else. Practice what you preach… Until then, I don’t agree with your hypocritical lifestyle.

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3 Things That Disprove Biblical Creationism

Today’s video (and accompanying post) is brought to you by a donation from Andrew Parker. He became a patron at Patreon.com/REASON and he had this to say, “I was wondering what maybe some of the top facts can be brought up when trying to explain that the Bible has already been disproven. I use various scientific facts when in a debate with someone who says the Bible is 100% real – but I can never really pick what maybe the top 3 should be to bring up.” Well Andrew, thank you for becoming a patron. I will try to answer your inquiry to the best of my abilities.

First, is important to mention that anyone who believes that the Bible is 100% true is already accepting outright falsities and impossibilities, such as believing in; a walking, talking serpent that doomed all of mankind, talking donkeys, people who lived to be hundreds of years old, and stars that will fall upon the earth.

Second, giving them scientific facts or reasoning with them is not going to change their mind since they have accepted a position without regard for scientific facts or reason. I believe Carl Sagan stated it best when he said, “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.”

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However, I will answer your question anyway and we have to look no further than the first book of the Bible. In the book of Genesis, cosmology, evolution, and genetics are cast aside for more favorable methods of explaining things; such as magic and fairytales.

Let’s start with cosmology. The Bible says in Genesis 1:1, the opening passage of the Bible, that the very first things that were created were the heavens and earth. Verse 2 goes on to describe the state of the earth at this time. This should raise an immediate red flag, as we know that the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and the universe is approximately 14 billion years old. We know, for a fact, that the earth did not exist at the time of the formation of the universe. In verse 3, while it is still the first day, God says let there be light and suddenly there was light. However, in verse 14, on the fourth day, we learn that God creates the stars. This should raise another red flag since up until this point there could have been no light because the light-bearing objects had not been created yet. In the preceding passages the Bible records each day as a passing of “day” and “night”, which could not have occurred if the very object that is responsible for the passage of day and night, our Sun, had not been created yet.

We know that this story is all wrong. The Big Bang disproves the biblical creation myth and unlike the magical fairytale from the Bible, we have evidence for the Big Bang. The cosmic background radiation, the red shifting of galaxies as space expands outward from a single point, the difference in elements of new stars compared with old stars, and the recent discovery of gravitational waves support the Big Bang and confirm that universe did not begin the way the creation myth states.

Evolution is another problem for the Bible. The Bible records that God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7) and records that man was created separately from the animal kingdom. The Bible records that God formed the first woman from the rib of the first man (Genesis 2:21-22), indicating that humanity, both male and female, were created separately from the animal kingdom. Nearly every field of science, including biology, paleontology, genetics, and archaeology, refutes this creation myth and relies on evolution as a factual explanation for the diversity of life. We are not separate from the animal kingdom, humans are apes—a fragment of the animal kingdom.

The difference between the creation myth and evolution is that evolution has mountains of evidence to support its explanation for the diversity of life. Fossils are one great example of the evidence that has been obtained. We have fossils of very simple life forms that date back to 3.5 billion years ago and as you go through the fossil record, towards the present day, more groups appear; plants, trees, flowers, animals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals all make an appearance. This sequential order of the appearance of life refutes the biblical idea that all animals were created on a single day. The fossil evidence for human evolution is even better. Human’s nearest living relative are the chimpanzees, which we split from about 5-7 million years ago. The fossil record from the split until now is well substantiated and scientists have found over 20 species of human-like primates called hominins. These fossils show our lineage and how we have descended from the evolutionary tree of life.

Fossils are not the only evidence. There are ring species, the universal genetic code and other genetic commonalties, and the observed evolution of bacteria in the lab. As Richard Dawkins said, “Only a small fraction of corpses fossilize, and we are lucky to have as many intermediate fossils as we do. We could easily have had no fossils at all, and still the evidence for evolution from other sources, such as molecular genetics and geographical distribution, would be overwhelmingly strong.”

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Genetics and DNA also prove the creation myth false. The Bible would have us believe that humanity survived two genetic bottlenecks, Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark, which is scientifically impossible. A genetic bottleneck is a sharp reduction in the size of a population, which decreases genetic diversity and will eventually lead to extinction if the bottleneck is severe enough. If you sequence the DNA of people living all over the world, you can count the differences between each person’s DNA. These differences in people’s DNA show that genetic variation of humanity. You can use this count of differences in DNA to calculate the smallest number of people that would have been needed to generate that amount of genetic diversity. This minimum number of people is the number that the population cannot fall under if it is going to recover from the genetic bottleneck. Any number less than this number will result in extinction.

When you sequence our DNA and run this calculation, the results say the human population has never fallen below 10,000. At some point in history, the human population went down to approximately 10,000 individuals, but our DNA shows that we never had just two ancestors. This proves that there never was an Adam and Eve. It also proves that there also was no Noah’s Ark or worldwide flood, as these genetic bottlenecks would have devastated humanity, including all the animals on the ark, and all species enduring such a severe bottleneck would have long been extinct.

As you can see, we haven’t even made it past the first book of the Bible and everything that creationists hold dearly is already crumbling under the scrutiny of science accompanied by the evidence that we have accumulated over the years. I hope that this video and the discussion on cosmology, evolution, and genetics help you see that the Bible is scientifically inaccurate. I would also hope that it would help you to help other people, specifically creationists, see that the Bible is scientifically inaccurate and change their positions. However, we both know better.

I would like to end on an Anonymous quote, “Suppose that every memory, written word, and piece of technology on earth was destroyed all at once, leaving humanity to start completely from scratch. Everything we have come to know about science would eventually be discovered again. Given a few thousand years, people would figure out chemistry, and rediscover all of the same elements we know about now. People would once again understand biology, including its evolutionary origins. People would eventually see the motions of other galaxies in the sky, and work out the details of the big bang. This is the glorious part about science, it can and would all be replicated. I can assure you, however, that your story about a talking snake would be gone forever.”

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Questions for atheists

This post is a response to questions posed by a college student (who is not an atheist), which were originally sent to Godless Mom (see the post here: http://godlessmom.com/questions-for-atheists-from-a-college-student-answer-them-yourself/).

Feel free to respond to these questions yourself and leave them in the comments over on her post.

  1. Why are you an atheist?

I’m an atheist because I don’t believe that any gods exist. I don’t believe any gods exist because there is no objective empirical evidence to substantiate such a claim. In addition, we know that humans have invented gods numerous times, so it’s not unlikely that every god that people believe in is fictitious.

  1. Have you ever believed in a higher power?

Yes. I was raised Catholic and remained so until about age 17. I lost faith for a brief time, and then decided to look into other Christian sects and churches. I remained Christian until about age 30.

  1. If so, did something traumatic happen to make you stop believing.

No. My rejection of religion was not the result of any traumatic experience. It was solely the result of evidence and logical argument.

  1. If not, why did you stop believing?

I stopped believing in Christianity because after much time spent debating religion with atheists online and being exposed to other information in books or YouTube videos, for example, I simply understood why the claims of the Bible are irreconcilable with the evidence from science and history. I understood where the Abrahamic religions originated from and also that things like evolution and genetics and cosmology do not comport with the claims of these religions.

  1. What do you think happens to us when we die?

Death is when your brain ceases to live and function. At this point, your consciousness ceases to exist. We have never observed consciousness existing outside of a sufficiently advanced physical brain. Your body decomposes, and you’re just as unaware of things as you were before you were born.

  1. Without believing in a higher power, where do you think we get our morals from?

Morals are always subjective, even when rooted in religious beliefs. Morals are social constructs, and represent the views of a given culture. Many morals are nearly universal, because they derive from the sense of empathy that most humans possess. However, some actions which are considered immoral in one culture are perfectly acceptable in another. It is important to note that morals can be the product of evolution. For example, humans have evolved to be altruistic, because working together and a bit of selflessness can improve the chances of survival vs. the prospect of going it alone or treating others poorly.

  1. Where do you think the universe came from?

If I’m being honest, I don’t know. But, since this is asking my opinion, I think the universe could be eternal. We certainly have evidence which demonstrates that the universe is billions of years old and is expanding and cooling. But there are also things which the Big Bang model can’t account for. New  models are being proposed regularly. The important thing to keep in mind here is that using a god-of-the-gaps argument or appeal to ignorance fallacy to claim that a god must exist because we can’t explain something isn’t logical, and has been wrong numerous times before. It’s also important to note that if you’re going to claim that a god can exist without a cause, but do not extend this possibility to the universe itself, you are invoking a special pleading logical fallacy. Occam’s Razor can be used to determine that the most likely or parsimonious explanation is usually the correct one.

  1. What’s your views on Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens?

As a group, I think that these prominent atheists have played a huge role in the education of people regarding religion, and in the rise of atheism.

Richard Dawkins is a brilliant biologist and has done great work in bringing evolutionary concepts to the masses. I did read “The God Delusion” while I was still a Christian, and I distinctly remember laughing and shaking my head at his arguments as I tried to stave off the cognitive dissonance they were bringing on.

Sam Harris makes fantastic arguments against religion and often does so quite eloquently. I was unfamiliar with Harris before becoming an atheist. I have not read any of his books, but have read some of his essays and seen him comment and debate people in videos.

Christopher Hitchens was great because he would just bluntly tell it like it is and demonstrate the sheer absurdity of what religious people claim to be true. I have not yet read any of his books, but again, have seen him debate. I do recall hearing about his death, and still being Christian at the time, sort of being happy about it. I know, that’s terrible. But that’s what religion can do to people. I don’t celebrate when apologists die now. I just try to defeat their arguments before they do.

Now, it would be remiss of me to not address some of the controversial political views that have been expressed by these men at various times. For example, Dawkins has made comments at time which have been called misogynistic or insensitive or Islamophobic. To me, these are largely overstated and come as a result of him trying to express his thoughts using Twitter, which obviously limits how things can be phrased and can lead to misunderstanding. It’s also easy to take individual tweets out of context and see how they look bad.

Harris has been accused of supporting torture and of being Islamophobic, but again, these accusations largely stem from misunderstanding, and Harris has gone to great lengths to clarify his positions on such topics. Harris frequently uses thought experiments to make points, and they get taken out of context. He also is a stickler for semantics, so when he uses the word “spirituality” to describe physiological experiences, he isn’t invoking supernatural causes; however, many atheists or even theists take his use of the term to mean that he is somehow religious or believes in gods or ghosts or spirits.

Since Hitchens has been gone for almost 4 years, he doesn’t get brought up very much. The main criticism I hear about him is that he supported the invasion of Iraq and that he was also Islamophobic, similar to what critics say of Dawkins and Harris. However, I’ve seen video of Hitchens undergoing waterboarding not once, but twice, and he only lasted a couple seconds before condemning it as barbaric.

I think the most important thing to take away here is that atheism is literally one thing – a lack of belief in gods. Anything outside of that – politics included – is nothing more than a correlation. While I do think many of the criticisms of these three men are unwarranted, atheists can definitely be irrational or bigoted or just wrong when it comes to other opinions. It’s understandable that theists are constantly monitoring the comments of these prominent atheist activists to catch them up in some controversy that they can use to denigrate all atheists. However, there are even other atheists, like CJ Werleman, who go out of their way to create straw man arguments and take comments from these men out of context to advance a narrative about “New Atheism” being a cult led by such men, a cult which demands acceptance of their every opinion and wants religion eradicated by force. This I do not understand at all. Of course prominent members of any group or movement should be held to high standards and be accountable for their opinions, and I’ve done so on several occasions with Harris and Dawkins. However, most of the mudslinging is not based on facts.

  1. Do you consider yourself a weak atheist or a strong atheist?

I am a weak atheist, which is synonymous in my mind with “agnostic atheist”, meaning I don’t claim that no gods exist, but I do not believe that any gods exist. I do know that specific god claims can be dismissed based on the evidence or logic involved. My preferred designation is “de facto” atheist, using the Dawkins scale.

  1. How can you prove that God doesn’t exist.

Well, for starters, the burden of proof rests with the person making the claim that a god does exist. Therefore, it’s not my job to disprove a god. Simply rejecting a claim based on a lack of evidence is justified.

That being said, we can definitely look at the claims made about the nature of certain gods and test them. For example, we know that lightning is a natural electrical phenomenon and doesn’t originate from Zeus or Thor. Similarly, we know from genetics that Adam and Eve never existed, and thus, the entire foundation for the Abrahamic religions is destroyed (there’s also a lot of other information we can incorporate to conclude that Yahweh/Jesus Christ don’t exist, but this is just one example).

Personally, I have no issue with deism, the belief that a god or creator exists and made the universe. That’s nothing more than a matter of personal incredulity. I take issue when people claim to know that a god exists, and especially when they start making claims about the nature, will, or desires of a creator which they cannot substantiate.

  1. Do you believe in miracles?

No. A miracle, to me, would be a divine act involving a deity, and since I don’t believe in gods, I don’t believe in miracles by necessity. Again, just because something seems unlikely or cannot be readily explained, that doesn’t mean it was an act of a god. Many purported “miracles” in the past have been explained naturally. Mundane events like the birth of a child are in no way “miraculous”, although they may be awe-inspiring.

  1. Do you have a support group/system?

I’d say so, although I don’t really require one. I’m a married adult, my family is not overly religious or hostile to atheism, and I don’t reside in an area of the country which is dominated by religion. I have, however, become very involved with online atheist communities via social media, and I like to help other atheists who do need support.

  1. Do you try to get others not to believe?

Absolutely, but there’s a caveat: I do not broach the topic first. I rarely discuss religion in a personal setting (face-to-face), simply because it doesn’t often get raised by others or because I don’t want to cause dischord with extended family members. However, I am very active online with my efforts to educate people as to why their religious beliefs are wrong. If people bring up religion on a public forum like Facebook or Twitter, I will respond. After all, I largely owe my own atheism to interactions online with other atheists who demonstrated my logical fallacies and gave me great evidence. To me, the internet has been integral to the rapid increase in atheism, especially in the younger generations. People are no longer stuck in their bubbles of their towns, church, and family. You used to have to seek out information if you were questioning your religious beliefs; now it is freely available and can be presented by anyone you interact with online, even if you aren’t looking for it. I’m an anti-theist (meaning that I consider religion to be harmful), and I certainly will try to change minds.

  1. Do others tend to view you differently when they discover you’re an atheist?

Definitely, at least at first, if they are a religious person themselves. Obviously other atheists don’t view me negatively or differently. Not every religious person views me differently, especially close family or friends, but as far as the general public, no doubt. There are tons of misconceptions and stigmas about atheists that persist in our society. My job is to combat those misconceptions and turn “atheist” into a neutral word. The more atheists who speak up and defy those stereotypes, the better. I think that atheists need to address this in the same way that LGBT folks did with perception of their community.

  1. Do people tend to try to convince you that your views are wrong?

Of course. Again, this isn’t something that happens with friends or family, or typically even people seeking me out on line. But once I get involved in a discussion online, others definitely will try to defend their beliefs, and in turn, try to convince me that I’m wrong. I used to do the same thing as a Christian.

  1. How does your family view your beliefs? Are they supportive?

I didn’t become an atheist until my wife and I were married for over 7 years, so the initial shock was quite jarring for her. The fortunate part is that we did not attend church regularly, and our children were still quite young, so this didn’t really impact our lives that much in the long run. We never prayed at dinner or did Bible studies or anything like that. Our religious beliefs were more private and reserved. My wife came to accept my atheism, although she was also not a huge fan of my activism when it first started. She has become much more accepting of all of this over time. We don’t really discuss religion between ourselves, and I let her teach the kids about Jesus or God, although it isn’t something she does very often. She knows that when they are older, I will get to discuss other options with them.

As far as the rest of my family, it’s not a huge deal. My parents both believe in God, and my mom is probably still Christian-ish. They both were a bit incredulous that I don’t believe in a god at first, but since all 3 of my other siblings are also now atheists, they just accept it.

  1. What are your views on Madalyn O’Hair?

Well, I know that she was the founder of American Atheists, and I know that she ended up being murdered. I’ve seen a couple quotes from her on occasion that I agreed with, and I find American Atheists to be an important advocacy group.

Sorry, But Jesus is Not Coming Back…

Sorry to burst your bubble or spoil the story for you, but Jesus is not coming back. According to the Bible, Jesus prophesied that he would return before the people he was preaching to would die. In Matthew 16, Jesus predicts his own death and makes a startling claim, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). Needless to say, those people died and Jesus did not return. No matter how much they believed Jesus and how fervently they spread the gospel, it did not change the fact that Jesus failed, lied, or was wrong.

Many apologists have attempted to reconcile this with the idea that Jesus will return and rapture them away (even though the rapture was a concept that was not invented until the 1800s and is based on an ambiguous verse and is not at all a biblical concept). Many have said that Jesus was speaking metaphorically or that he was actually referring to the transfiguration. The problem is that this was considered a literal prophecy by all the theologians I studied under and based on what I know about the text, I would say that it is as well.

Furthermore, Matthew and Luke copied Mark’s gospel—this is no secret. It is often referred to as the Synoptic Problem. The synoptic problem is the fact that Matthew, Mark, and Luke bear a literary relationship to each other. More than that, most of Mark’s gospel appears in Matthew and Luke in nearly the same words, in nearly the same order. Percentage-wise, 97% of Mark’s Gospel is duplicated in Matthew; and 88% is found in Luke.

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Why is this relevant? Mark, the first gospel, places the transfiguration before Jesus’ prophecy. So does Luke. Therefore, it is far more likely that Matthew attempted to correct the mistake by placing the transfiguration after the prophecy. Also, the first century writers were certain that they were living in the last days because Jesus told them so. They referred to it a lot (Hebrews 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 John 2:18, James 5:8-9, 1 Peter 4:7, and there are many more examples). Both Paul and Peter were sure that the end was near and that Jesus would be returning within their lifetime. He didn’t.

Why does it appear that the individual that Christians herald as their god and savior misled them? Personally, I think it is far more likely that the biblical writers have misled people given all the falsities, inconsistencies, and contradictions that riddle the pages. While Christian apologetics is capable of fanatical mental gymnastics to resolve this dilemma, it is all in vain.

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Apologetics help no one. They make excuses for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent creator. No excuses will suffice for any being with those attributes. This is the final nail in the coffin to dismiss the doctrine of Christianity. If you can’t trust Jesus’ words, the person who you think is the perfect creator of all things, what makes you think that you can trust the fallible men who wrote the Bible?

Maybe, just maybe, Jesus has never existed at all and it is a fictional tale used for control and manipulation. Think for yourself.
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“In Matthew, Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” In Mark, he says, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did he say both things? Could he mean both things? How can both be true at once? Or is it possible that one of the Gospel writers got things switched around?” –Bart Ehrman


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Touching the Wet Paint

It was George Carlin who said, “Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

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Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on this rationally? You were told at some point in your life that a god exists out there somewhere. Throughout your life it was reinforced by the people and you accepted it because of the repetition bias. The repetition bias is a cognitive bias in which there is a willingness to believe what we have been told most often and by the greatest number of different sources. This is why beliefs tend to be geographically based, which means that you will most likely adopt a belief in god similar to the one in your region and/or the belief your parents share. If you had been born in the middle east, you would probably be a Muslim. If you had been born in an Asian country, you would probably be a Buddhist or unaffiliated.

You may think that because everyone around you believes this that it must be plausible, but you would be falling victim to the belief bias. The belief bias is the tendency to judge the strength of arguments based on the plausibility of their conclusion rather than how strongly they support that conclusion. Belief bias in conjunction with confirmation bias–which is tendency for people to (consciously or unconsciously) seek out information that conforms to their pre-existing view points–will cause you to subsequently ignore information that goes against them, both positive and negative.

Once you are trapped in these revolving mental gymnastics, you might fall victim to the status quo bias, which is the tendency to like things to stay relatively the same, when presented with new, factual information. This belief can continue to be reinforced by pareidolia, which is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus, often an image or sound, being perceived as significant.

I’ve outlined just a few of the myriad biases that keep you from thinking logically and rationally. It’s not easy to question what you believe and it may make you very uncomfortable holding contradictory positions (cognitive dissonance), but you should never accept something just because someone told you to or because it feels right. Most people are ardent skeptics, but have never thought of turning that skepticism toward their personal beliefs. That’s why they have to touch the paint to be sure.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” -Christopher Hitchens


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Free Will is Not Biblical!

I am frequently told by Christians, usually ones that have never read their Bible, that their god has given us free will to choose. Today, I will be addressing this misconception.

There are a few reasons why Christians mistakenly believe this. One reason is to deal with the problem of evil. The problem of evil usually goes like this:

1. If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.
2. There is evil in the world.
3. Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist.

The common apologetic is for the Christian to declare that their god has endowed us with free will and evil exists because we choose to do evil or we have chosen to sin. This allows them to get away with not placing the blame on their god as the author of evil (despite Isaiah 45:7).

Another reason they may say we have free will is because it is unacceptable to think that we will be held accountable for our actions unless we have free will. In other words, if everything is predestined and there is an eternal place of torture and unending agony, then God is responsible for every single person that endures that suffering.

There is one other reason that is sometimes used and that is that love demands a choice. To word it slightly differently, without free will we would all be robots who have no choice whatsoever.

Seems like this all makes sense, right? Even the Greek philosophers knew that the lack of free will led to some extremely unsettling implications, but where does this idea of free will come from? To be totally honest, it is Christian fan fiction. Free will is not taught by the scriptures. The Bible makes it very clear that predestination is a major theme and that all things happen according to God’s will. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Most Christians herald Jesus, or Yeshua, as divine, the Son of God, and the Word. It is my understanding, then, that his words must be extremely valuable and without error. In John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

This verse explicitly denies that man has a free will ability to equally accept or reject the gospel. The Greek text of this passage denies, in no uncertain terms, any inherent ability to either choose Christ or reject Him. The primary reason is that the Bible teaches that man is in bondage to sin and has a natural tendency to suppress the truth or to refuse the gospel at all costs. The Bible would have us believe that when a nonbeliever hears the gospel, he will always reject it.

The Greek text says ouvdeis dunatai evlqei/n prosj me (oudeis dunatai elthein pros me). This verse literally says that no one has the ability, in and of themselves, to cause themselves to believe in Christ. This one verse alone denies free will and since Christians think that Jesus is God incarnate, this is sufficient grounds to reject this idea once and for all.

Christians believe Jesus was God, but if there is one man responsible for Christianity—it would be Paul. You would think that a man who established the very fundamentals of Christian doctrine would know exactly what he is talking about, right? Let’s take a look. In Romans 8:7-8, Paul states, “Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is NOT EVEN ABLE TO DO SO, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Emphasis added).”

I don’t think he could have made it any clearer than he does in this passage. It is painfully obvious that submitting to and pleasing God is directed by God himself.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

This verse is so straightforward that it should not need an explanation. Man, in his natural state, is unable to accept God or the things attributed to his spirit.

Let’s take a look at one more example from Romans to put the nail in the coffin. In Romans 8: 28-30, Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been CALLED according to HIS PURPOSE. For those God FORKNEW he also PREDESTINED to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (Emphasis added).”

This passage explicitly states that God calls people according to his purpose, he knew who they were from the beginning of time, and he selected them from many.

At this point, the free will argument should be totally blown out of the water, but allow me to present more verses that will demonstrate the Bible denies free will (Acts 4:27-28, Acts 16:14, Isaiah 10:5-16, Psalm 105:25, Ezra 6:22, Proverbs 21:1, Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 1:3-6, Ephesians 2: 4-10, Romans 9: 10-15, Romans 9: 16-19, Romans 9: 20-21, 2 Timothy 1:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

There are even a few verses that speaks of the ones that God has not chosen and what fate he has decided for them (Revelations 13:8, Ecclesiastes 7:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-13).

With the verses I have supplied directly from the book that Christians believe to be the holy inspired and inerrant Word of God, we can draw the following conclusions:

1. Humans cannot believe in Christ of their own choice.
2. Humans cannot subject themselves to God’s Law of their own choice.
3. Humans cannot accept the things of the Spirit as being true of their own choice.
4. Therefore, humans do not have free will.

Theologians usually respect the early church fathers as authority figures and believe they were inspired by their god to establish church doctrine. In that case, it is worth mentioning that there are many authority figures or church fathers who were respected predeterminists and held that free will was not a biblical concept, including; St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.

I have demonstrated, thoroughly, that the Bible denies free will and any element of choice in any works that we do. The Bible teaches that from the beginning of time, God has selected who will receive salvation and he will punish and reward people based on what he has predestined. Also, the Bible teaches that all things are in accordance with God’s plan. How does that make you feel? It seems unfair, immoral, and downright evil by any standards, right?

If the Christian God exists, then there is no doubt that it is the most malevolent being in the entire universe. A Good Christian God would choose that everyone be saved; however, the Bible explicitly makes the case that the Christian God has chosen for many to suffer. This plan of God, according to the Bible, has absolutely nothing to do with free will and everything to do with exercising power—without any regards for morality or free will.

This leaves us with quite the dilemma, either:

1. God is evil or immoral because he chooses that many will perish
or
2. The Bible is not the Word of God

Choose carefully.

*This post is adapted from a paper that I wrote in seminary that received a failing grade from my instructor. However, it was overturned by the Dean, who also was one of theologians who was paramount in translating the New International Version. I received a perfect score on the paper. I thought that was worth mentioning.*


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