Ricky Gervais On “Why I’m An Atheist”

Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

[UPDATE: For more from Gervais, go to Does God Exist? Ricky Gervais Takes Your Questions]

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -­- evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

This, is of course a spirituality issue, religion is a different matter. As an atheist, I see nothing “wrong” in believing in a god. I don’t think there is a god, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me. I would never deny your right to believe in a god. I would just rather you didn’t kill people who believe in a different god, say. Or stone someone to death because your rulebook says their sexuality is immoral. It’s strange that anyone who believes that an all-powerful all-knowing, omniscient power responsible for everything that happens, would also want to judge and punish people for what they are. From what I can gather, pretty much the worst type of person you can be is an atheist. The first four commandments hammer this point home. There is a god, I’m him, no one else is, you’re not as good and don’t forget it. (Don’t murder anyone, doesn’t get a mention till number 6.)

When confronted with anyone who holds my lack of religious faith in such contempt, I say, “It’s the way God made me.”

But what are atheists really being accused of?

The dictionary definition of God is “a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe.” Included in this definition are all deities, goddesses and supernatural beings. Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities.

So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.

I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God -– what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-­‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learned of evolution -– a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

But living an honest life -– for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

So what does the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking “what makes you so special? “How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?” “How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f— you!” Let’s be honest, if one person believed in God he would be considered pretty strange. But because it’s a very popular view it’s accepted. And why is it such a popular view? That’s obvious. It’s an attractive proposition. Believe in me and live forever. Again if it was just a case of spirituality this would be fine.

“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

You May Also Like: http://iantimberlake.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/the-un-society-of-atheism-why-theists-are-more-unholy-than-atheists/

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/12/19/a-holiday-message-from-ricky-gervais-why-im-an-atheist/

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14 thoughts on “Ricky Gervais On “Why I’m An Atheist”

  1. Hi Ricky,

    I found your post interesting and well thought out. I appreciate your explaining why you don’t believe in God. I believe in God very firmly, but I agree with your observation about people being so unreasonable when they say they believe in God just because “it works for me.” I totally agree that just believing in something certainly doesn’t make it true! Either God exists, or He doesn’t. I really wish more people would see the issue in the objective light that you see it, instead of the subjectivism that is so common today.

    That said, there are people who want to see evidence for God’s existence. I’m one of them. I’m a Christian, but I probably wouldn’t be one had I not seen the evidences for God in science and history. I love science very much, and I’d like to major in a science in college. One reason why I like science so much is because it has many evidences for God.

    One evidence is the design in the universe. I hope you don’t feel offended about me going into this, but I’d like to show why I believe that there are good evidences for God. Now when I see the design in the universe, the design implies that there is a Designer, just like a Rembrandt painting implies the painter Rembrandt. One example is DNA. Microscopic DNA in a microscopic cell contains the equivalent information of 4,000 books. That is an astounding amount of information! I cannot imagine that amount of information coming about through random, natural processes. And that is only for a single cell; the information in every other living thing is exponentially greater than that of a cell, the “simplest” of life forms.

    Evolution can’t explain how this information came into being, because evolution relies on mutations, or mistakes in the genetic code, as its main mechanism of creation. I’m not talking about microevolution, which produces slight changes in a population as a result of different genes being expressed. Darwin observed microevolution in the Galapagos finches, and I believe in it, and so do most scientists who don’t subscribe to evolution, or I should use another term, macroevolution. Microevolution (white moth changing into black moth) is proven by science over and over again in observations, but macroevolution (fish changing into amphibian) has never been observed and cannot be observed by science, because it just takes too long.

    Microevolution can happen because it basically just “mixes up” the genes within a population, so different genes get expressed. But macroevolution is a problem, because it is trying to explain the existence of the genes in the first place. How can a natural, random process create information? I have never in my experiences seen information arise by chance; to me, it would be like wind and water carving Mount Rushmore.

    There are many more evidences for God. I believe that the Biblical flood has left many evidences behind in geology, such as the contorted fossils and fossil fish swallowing other fish, as if they were suddenly captured in a great catastrophe. I would like to hear what you think about these evidences. You say that many people believe in God because it’s attractive, because there’s the promise that “you’ll live forever.” I certainly believe that’s true, but I think atheism is equally appealing to many others, because there isn’t anyone whom we will have to be accountable to for our deeds. So I guess both beliefs can be attractive to people for reasons other than logic and evidence. I hope that we can talk about the evidences, since all my life I’ve been surrounded by believers, and now I’d like to hear the other side. So I’m looking forward to your response :)

    –Rowena

    • First off, I’m not Ricky, I’m Ian. Ricky is a famous man I was quoting… should be pretty clear in the title and the source is at the bottom of the post.

      “Microscopic DNA in a microscopic cell contains the equivalent information of 4,000 books. That is an astounding amount of information! I cannot imagine that amount of information coming about through random, natural processes.”

      If you don’t believe in the modern understanding of evolution and you want to go into the sciences in college, then you will be one of the .16% that do not believe in evolution. A study was done recently that showed that 99.84% of all those in the field of science no longer refer to evolution as a theory. That’s right, 99.84% deem it to be a FACT! You’re not even in college yet and you’re arguing evolution with an aerospace engineer who is writing a book about different types of evolution, pretty much everything you said was fallible. Your 4,000 books example is most definitely NOT anywhere close to evidence. Just because you don’t like the idea that that number is massively large even for a single cell, does not provide any sort of objective proof to a higher power… it’s just pure opinion. If this is how you look at things, I recommend you find another major. I guess if you believe in creation then you don’t believe in incest. This is one that hits home because it doesn’t matter when or where creation or the flood took place according to the Bible. Just by the fact that it did,all subsequent humans and animals (based off the Bible’s story of creation AND Noah) would be incesting amongst every “goddamned” mate to walk on the planet. We all know what incest can do to you physically, biologically, chemically, psychologically, etc. If creation OR Noah and his ark are true then we’d all be some pretty fucked up motherfuckers. . Those who are religious pick various pieces out of science to try and support their claims… this alone is unscientific because you need to take ALL of the evidence in accumulation, in which all of it points to no such deity. In fact, you are an atheist to 2,869 deities and a believer in 1… even if there was a god, who’s to say yours is the right one?

      If you look at the 10 nations that have the lowest percentage of religious people, those are also the 10 nations with the lowest crime rate. If you look at university studies that correlate intelligence with religious belief… the more religious you are, the less your IQ. Non-believers statistically live longer. Psychologists have found that children develop moral judgement faster with non-religious parents. There just isn’t much going for the god argument other than continued use of illogical thought… “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei

       Can you tell me why there are genetic strands in all humans and animals in the world that are dormant and never get used? Or why there are parts of our bodies that we don’t use (tail bone, appendix, ear muscles, wisdom teeth, mammary glands in men, etc)… and the biggest one, the nerve in ALL mammals that runs from the brain to the vocal box. The nerve in humans only has to go a few inches but instead loops around a vein near the lungs and back up to vocal box… in a Giraffe, it’s a detour of 15ish feet.

      And if you take the dates of the bible more seriously then this biblical fact might surprise you… “According to the Bible in the year 2348 BCE the earth was plunged into a global flood which killed everyone everywhere because everyone was doing everything naughty (except Noah and his immediate family).

      How do we know the Bible says 2348 BCE for the flood? Because in the 17th century an Irish fellow named James Ussher figured it out by carefully adding up the ages of the ancestors of Jesus as listed in the Bible all the way back to Adam. He also determined that according to the Bible the universe was created in 4004 BCE.

      But hold on….among other historical problems with these dates is the fact that Egypt has been continuously occupied from 5400 BCE through today.

      That not only means there were people living continuously in Egypt before, during, and after the flood was supposed to have happened and killed everyone according to the Bible, but that there were people living in Egypt even before the Bible says the Earth and the Universe were created in 4004 BCE.

      How do we know how long people were living there? Through archeological finds, carbon dating and Egyptian record keeping we know that people were continuously living in Egypt back to at least the 5400 BCE date.

      So… no, the pyramids have never been underwater.”

      I’ve argued science like this over and over again and to no avail it never works with the religious/illogical, fortunately the rate at which non-believers are coming out is increasing greatly thanks to the advent of modern communication. The field of science continually is expanding in knowledge, it has never seized and at the same time disproving religion… never the other way around. If god is the answer to the universe, then he did an absolute terrible job… and this is not even in reference to humans free-will. Religion is doomed, it’s just a matter of time.

      - Timbo

  2. Hello Ian,

    I’m sorry for mistaking you for Ricky. And I’m sorry about upsetting you so much. Let me address your points one by one:

    1. First of all, it’s true that many scientists claim evolution as a fact. But that is just what they have been taught. Most have never seen the evidence for the other side, so of course they would say it is a fact. There have been many things that were claimed to be facts in science, but later were proven not to be facts. Yes, I’m not a scientist, but there are many scientists who believe in creation. One of them is Walt Brown, who earned a PhD in mechanical engineering and was an evolutionist, until he started looking at the evidence. He has written a very scientific theory about how the flood worked through natural laws. Another is A. J. Monty White, PhD in gas kinetics, who states that he became a creationist by reading about evolution! And another is John M. Cimbala, who holds a PhD in aeronautics, who became an atheist because he thought evolution disproved the Bible, until he investigated the scientific evidences for creation. The book In Six Days contains the essays of 50 scientists who explain why they believe in a six-day creation, and they give many scientific evidences. Of course, there are many other scientists besides these 50.

    As one molecular biologist said, “Nobody I know in my profession truly believes it evolved” (Brown, In the Beginning). He also goes on to say that if anyone asked him, he’d just say it evolved, because if he didn’t, he would become an outcast and government funds would be withheld from his important research into curing diseases. But since only his first name was used in the interview, he must have felt safe to be frank. I think his attitude is quite common among rank-and-file scientists.

    Evolution isn’t as widely-held a belief among scientists as is commonly thought. A survey of chemists found 48.3% believed in evolution, while 51.7% said that “supernatural intervention played a role” [Saffran "Why Scientists Shouldn't Cast Stones" qtd in Brown, In the Beginning] But whatever the numbers, I wouldn’t believe in evolution just because it is a belief that may be held by the majority. Evidence is the most important consideration.

    And I think that the 4,000-books-worth of information in a cell’s DNA is very good evidence for the existence of a higher Intelligence. Why is it not good evidence? Could you give me an evolutionary scenario in which this amount of information could arise through natural processes? Let me ask a simpler question: Can you give me an evolutionary scenario in which a clay pot arose by chance? A clay pot is much simpler than DNA, but a clay pot, like DNA, has orderliness and structure. It has a solid base for standing, a very circular opening for putting things in, etc. If an archaeologist found a clay pot, would he think that the wind and rain formed it? No, because he sees the orderliness of its structure and concludes that an intelligence formed it. Here’s another scenario: Suppose that astronomers suddenly detected a signal from space, decoded it, and found that it was telling us the life history of an alien race. Would we consider that good evidence that an intelligence was communicating with us? We’d probably be dancing in the streets that we found another life out there besides us! But the 4,000 books of information in DNA is just like that signal, for it contains information that only an Intelligence could have put there. If you say that DNA can form by chance, then would you also consider believing that the signal from space or a clay pot arose by chance? To me, you are asking me to believe in a secular miracle, one without even an intelligence to explain it. Is that reasonable?

    2. You say that to believe in creation and the flood, I would have to believe in incest. This is the “Where did Cain get his wife” problem. He of course had to marry one of his sisters, since there was no one else, and the same for everyone else. But this wasn’t a problem then if we look at incest and see why it’s so wrong now. Why is incest a problem today? Basically, it is a problem because two genetically-similar people (or creatures) reproduce, which can then reveal destructive recessive genes in the offspring. But the reason we have bad recessive genes in the first place is because some of our genes have undergone bad mutations. Mutations increase in a population over time, such as through radiation exposure. Now if we rewind back to nearly the beginning of earth’s days, there wasn’t time for mutations to have spread pervasively, since God created everything “good.” So when Cain mated with his wife, they didn’t have to worry about mutant offspring, because mutations hadn’t even begun destroying genes yet. Not until hundreds and thousands of years later would mutations become a big problem, and then incest would become a problem for everyone as it is today.

    But, looking at this on the other side, incest is more of a problem for the evolutionary account of life. Just imagine that the first pair of homo sapiens has just evolved. Now, there’s already a problem that two just happened to evolve at the same time, in the same place, and with just the right differences in reproductive organs that would allow them to mate viably. But, forgetting these difficulties, let’s say that they’ve met and come together. Now when they have children, who are those children going to find partners with? If they want to follow natural selection’s “survival of the fittest,” they had better marry among each other, since they are the most advanced evolutionary product. But that’s incest, and now, since evolution has been going on for millions of years, all the bad mutations associated with incest will surface and hurt the newly evolved population. Unlike with a recent creation, in which the earth was relatively free from such things, these mutations will likely seriously maime the newly evolved homo sapiens, probably jeopardizing the future of the species.

    I don’t think I’m taking the evidence selectively, for I’ve read about the scientific evidences for creation in many different fields of science. It isn’t just one field that offers support, but all give support for creation. As I noted earlier, there have been evolutionary scientists who’ve looked at these evidences within all of science and concluded that creation is a better explanation than evolution. And they weren’t just following religious beliefs; some were converted because of the scientific evidence. I know that evolution also claims to have support throughout science, but I’ve also read the counterarguments, which have good scientific reasoning behind them. Can you give me some of this evidence which you say is against a deity?

    3. You also say that I’m “an atheist to 2,869 deities and a believer in 1… even if there was a god, who’s to say yours is the right one?” Good question! Yes, I don’t believe in all those other gods, and knowing the reasons why has been one of my most important objectives in my life. It would be terrible to believe in the wrong God, just like believing in the wrong cure for breast cancer would be terrible. Let’s say that I believe that I can be cured of cancer by walking in a circle three times. Scientifically, that would be the “wrong” cure, and I would be in trouble. There could be hundreds of “wrong cures” for cancer. But does that mean that there isn’t a right cure? Doctors today are feverishly working to find this cure, because they believe that a cure does exist despite all the dead-end cures they may have encountered.

    So why do I believe that my “cure,” my God, is the right one? Thinking about that question has always fascinated me. First, I believe that there is compelling scientific evidence for creation and the flood and a young earth of only thousands of years old. If these things are true, then atheism, agnosticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age, and many polytheistic religions are false, because they either believe in millions of years of evolution or an eternal universe. So I cross those out, which only leaves Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, to my knowledge. Raelianism is also an obscure option (it’s a group that believes aliens planted life on earth 20,000 years ago), but this group also believes these aliens are living on a planet only 1 light-year away from earth, which isn’t supported by science, since the closest star is 4 light years. So anyway, how do I know which of the three monotheistic religions is true? I believe in Christianity, because of the verifiable claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Many aspects of His life, such as His birth in Bethlehem to His death as the salvation for people, had been prophesied in the Old Testament, such as in Isaiah 53. This means that Judaism’s claims of a coming Messiah were fulfilled in Christianity’s Jesus Christ. But did Islam supersede Christianity? Islam claims that the Koran is proof of Mohammad’s divine call, since it is so beautifully written. But many secular works can also be called beautiful, such as Shakespeare’s plays. Islam rests on a subjective claim.

    But in Christianity, Jesus was claimed to rise from the dead after being crucified by secular and religious authorities. This is a claim, unlike that from practically every other religion, that has a testable basis in reality. If no one believed the disciples’ claim that they saw Jesus, they could see the empty tomb, which had been guarded by Roman soldiers beforehand. The authorities agreed that this tomb was empty, because they then claimed that the disciples had stolen the body. But then nearly all the disciples were killed for their faith, even the former persecutor of Christians, Paul. No one dies for something which they could know was false. Either they saw Jesus alive after His death, or they didn’t. If they didn’t, why would they die for their faith? Many, of course, die for their faith nowadays, but they haven’t seen with their own eyes the proofs of their claim. The disciples saw it, and could therefore determine if they were dying for the truth or a lie.

    4. And whether being non-religious is statistically better than being religious, the studies on that are mixed. One study showed that the non-religious died sooner than most other religious groups, with the non-religious 28% more likely to die every year than mainline Protestants (http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/forum/topics/why-nonreligious-americans-die). They attributed the differences to higher divorce rates among the non-religious, so it may not be related to religion at all. Two other studies showed that religious people have less anxiety and are twice as charitable than non-religious people (newscientist.com “Religious people less anxious”; nationalreview.com “Charitable nation”). Then the higher prison rates among the religious could simply be resulting from the religious prison ministries, which convert some non-religious inmates into the religious inmates mentioned in statistics. Another problematic factor is that the higher rates of religious inmates can be caused by the fact that these statistics are examining “religious preference” only. According to Dept. of Justice stats, 72% of inmates have a religious preference, 54% consider themselves religious, but only 33% were confirmed as practicing their religion (http://www.adherents.com/misc/adh_prison.html). So a much smaller amount were actually practicing their stated beliefs, and if a person isn’t practicing his beliefs, then he can’t be truly called religious, no matter what he calls himself.

    Another factor to consider is that not all religions are equal, and not all those claiming to be religious really believe what they say. If most religions are false, then whether religion in general is better than no religion doesn’t matter. In fact, many “religious” people in the past, like the Canaanites who burned their children to their gods, weren’t a part of a very good religion in the first place. Second, most people are just part of a religion because it is a cultural thing — the tenets of the religion don’t really sink into their life philosophy, so what they do doesn’t reflect on their “religion,” which they just join because their culture says they should. But if one truly believed in one’s religious beliefs, beliefs like “loving one’s enemies” and “forgiving others because God forgave you,” then good behavior would follow good religious beliefs.

    5. As for your claim that there are genetic strands in humans and animals that are never used, there are two answers. First, how do we know that they have no use? Scientists once thought that the tonsils had no use, but not anymore. The appendix, though thought of as useless, has a job in protecting the small intestine from bacteria from the large intestine. Many other organs that were once thought useless have been found to have uses, such as the ear muscles, thyroid gland, coccyx, etc. The tailbone’s function is as the place where a couple pelvic muscles attach. As for the nerve “detouring” away from its intended destination, the voicebox, the nerve actually provides nerve branches to the heart and esophagus as well as the voice box (Gray’s Anatomy qtd in http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1507). So it wasn’t a mistake that the nerve detoured, because it had a job to do bringing nerves to other parts of the body; scientists just sometimes proclaim a body part useless before fully studying its uses.

    Second, if an organ or gene really has no use, then that would be proof of “devolution,” not evolution. This is all right with creation, because creation teaches that natural things since the Fall of man have been decaying. An organ or gene may have had a use once, but because of the Fall, nature has been degrading, and so now the organ’s or gene’s use may be impaired by mutations or even relegated useless. This view is also what is expected from the 2nd law of thermodynamics, since everything is always running down instead of increasing in complexity with time. Evolution doesn’t need useless organs or genes as proof; it needs intermediary organs and new genes, or organs turning into something new, as evidence for the theory.

    6. About the dates 2348 BC and 4004 BC: First, the exact years are not as certain when we look at Biblical manuscripts. When we look at the various Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, we can deduce from the genealogies that Adam’s creation occurred about 6,200 to 7,300 years ago (Brown, In the Beginning). So I wouldn’t name an exact year like Ussher did, but the creation dates implied in the Bible are in the ballpark he figured.

    Second, basing Egyptian civilization dates on Egyptian records is not quite reliable. The Egyptians, as well as the Sumerians, exaggerated the lifespans of their kings, often giving them lifespans of thousands or tens of thousands of years. There are also different king lists that list different numbers of kings and sequentially list overlapping reigns, all of which causes king dates to be stretched very long (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n2/egypt-or-babel). I remember reading a dusty old book listing Sumerian king lists, and it was so strange that it had them living thousands of years! They basically saw their kings as gods, so they wanted to make them as grand as possible.

    Third, basing the oldness of Egyptian civilization on radiocarbon dating brings in some assumptions that throw things off. Radiocarbon dating is based on the amounts of two types of carbon, carbon-14 and carbon-12, found in organic substances (animals, plants, paper, chair legs, etc.). Carbon-14, a radioactive form of carbon, is formed in the upper atmosphere, while carbon-12 is just normal carbon. All living things take in both types of carbon as a result of breathing in CO2 and eating things that have taken in CO2. Thus, the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the organism is the same as the ratio in the air while the organism is alive. But when the organism dies, it no longer takes in carbon. Since carbon-14 is radioactive, the carbon-14 within the creature begins to decay into a non-radioactive substance. If we wait long enough, all this carbon-14 will disappear from the dead substance (carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, so half of the original would disappear in 5,730) and there will only be left carbon-12. By measuring how much carbon-14 in comparison to carbon-12 is in a substance, and then comparing that to the original amount, a date can be arrived at.

    The problematic assumption lies in figuring out the “original” amount. What was the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere when the creature died? If the ratio was the same as today, then the dates are fine as they are. But if things were different in the past that would skewer that ratio, then the dates no longer reflect true ages. The preflood earth was one factor. It contained vast, lush forests containing much carbon-12. Since carbon-12 was in abundance, carbon-14 was very diluted, and the ratio between them was low. So the atmosphere then had less carbon-14 than today’s atmosphere.

    This smaller amount of carbon-14 would be interpreted by scientists as meaning that the dead organism must have lived a very long time ago, because they would have thought that the carbon-14 decayed away, when in fact there just happened to be less carbon-14 in the first place. But when the flood buried preflood forests, carbon-12 was buried, too, so there was less carbon-12 to dilute the carbon-14 continually forming in the upper atmosphere. Thus, the higher ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 of today has slowly been building up over thousands of years, leveling off to today’s rates. Since the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 didn’t immediately rise to today’s levels from the low preflood levels, organic substances dated after the flood would also have artificially-old ages, just like the preflood fossils. Artifacts made from organic substances during the early Egyptian civilization would have been close enough to the flood to have these artificially old ages. In fact, anything carbon-dated before 3,500 years ago (when tree-ring datings can be better verified by historical methods) would probably look older than it really is. This helps explain the older ages talked about in anthropology.

    So, wow, that all was very long, but I wanted to address your points thoroughly. I learned a lot in researching some of it. Science does offer support for God, and the concept of God isn’t anti-logical. As more of this other evidence and viewpoint gets out, I hope others will also consider it compelling. It’s only a matter of time that the truth will get out.

    –Rowena

    • You didn’t upset me aside from the fact that you along with all other religious people are so ignorant and/or picking what you want to hear.

      I know exactly of the book you are referring to. They picked far more than 50 testimonies and grabbed only the 50 best that supported the Young Earth idea… just because it’s 50, doesn’t make it credible because there are far more than 50 PhDs in existence. In fact there are about 6,000 astrophysicists in the world and that is the least common doctorate. This isn’t even accounting for all other areas of expertise. To pick 50 and use their testimonies as more accurate than the thousands upon thousands of scientists that did NOT use speculation but used TESTABLE data is outright ludicrous. Quoting people is just that, who cares what somebody says, even if they are atheist… that’s not what this is about. This is about objective data that can’t be opinionated. As far as the book is concerned, at best the accounts are all similar and vastly vague. Not to mention most of the accounts that are by doctorates are accounts outside of their field… which means that the fact that they are doctorates means nothing. There is just as much evidence proving 6 day creation to be wrong as there is information in a single celled organism. I could tell the answer to your question where you use a clay pot… even though a clay pot has nothing to do with how evolution works. If you want to know, read about evolution as I have read about religion. If a god created the universe in 6 days then that leaves the question about what created god, did god exist before the universe? Evolution was not created out of nothing and science explains this but creationists still seem to think that we don’t provide that information.

      In your #2, everything you say is out of your ass. You don’t understand a damn thing about how incest happens. You talk like you think you’re some sort of text book on it. You said, “But, looking at this on the other side, incest is more of a problem for the evolutionary account of life. Just imagine that the first pair of homo sapiens has just evolved.” That’s just it, in evolution there is no “first pair”. In creation the parents aren’t incesting but all subsequent children and grandchildren will be. Not just humans but all animals on the planet… and by the account of “young earth” people, even dinosaurs!!!

      In your #3, you called atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism, and New Age as religions… these don’t count towards the 2,870 religions because they aren’t religions. I don’t have “faith” in atheism. You can’t even come close to narrowing it down to 3, as there are well over 2,000 theistic religions to exist and if you count polytheism then the number is easily 3,500. This means that you, being young earth Christian, is one of at a minimum 2,500 monotheistic beliefs. There is absolutely no way for you to know if your religion is the right one because all religion is based of “faith”. If you claim yours is the right one, then you are telling 5+ billion people in the world they are wrong, even the ones who have a greater religion, the muslims. But if you are wrong, then you will be the one going to hell. Of course I don’t believe in all of this but it just shows you don’t have the right to profess about your belief being true even amongst other believers. You don’t need to spew words like “scientific evidence for creation” because there is no such thing. Young Earth people like saying that about non-objective opinions that sound like science. You’ll learn about this if you enter the scientific field and you’ll realize that all of what you have read doesn’t follow that of actual science. This is what happened to me in coming to realize how bogus religion is. Until you go to college, you can’t talk about the methods of science. Science doesn’t contradict itself, it just proves its self either correct or incorrect and it never works backwards, whereas the bible itself is full of contradictions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk )

      I actually am not even going to finish with your comment. It’s pointless. You’re not going to change your opinions by me talking to you and visa verse. But I can tell you that wherever you are getting all your “facts”, a lot of your science in your post is completely fallible. And only those who deny it are religious fundamentalists who manipulate the information. But like I said, religion is fading away as more atheists come out of the box. At my university, the director of religious studies, a PhD (if you care), polled the entire university 2 years ago. Over 15,000 people of the 26,000 students replied and his stats showed that over 20% were confirmed atheist, almost as high as the Christian crowd. He also correlated the intelligence… those were were the 20% atheist accounted for over 95% of the highest percentile in GPA. Almost ALL of the smartest people in the university were those 20% atheist. Now sure, this is just one university, but it comes from an area of America that is extremely conservative… these numbers would not even be remotely like this a generation ago. So regardless of what you believe, I want to warn you that truth is becoming known and it’s placing religion in the corner more and more every year. That isn’t a doubt too, that’s an undeniable fact and maybe when you go to college for science you will get a better understanding of the situation and where the science comes from because where you are getting it from is not at all a valid resource and would never be allowed cited in any college paper.

  3. [...] Ricky Gervais On “Why I’m An Atheist” (iantimberlake.wordpress.com) [...]

  4. Hi Ian,

    Yes, there are many other scientists in the world besides those 50. I was only using them as an example that scientists can believe in creation. And the accounts aren’t all vague and similar — I read it, and some are very brief and general, while others go into great details about the evidence for creation that they found within their own area of expertise.

    As for your claim that because thousands more scientists believe in evolution, then it must be true: Let me say that most scientists do not study evolution or the origin of life and the universe, so you can’t just use them all as proof of evolution. A professor teaching biology, psychology, etc., for over 30 years, Jerry Bergman, states that evolution is rarely, if ever, taught in college science textbooks (“Does Nothing in Biology Make Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”). Bergman constructed a list of the textbooks and the amount of evolution they covered. In textbooks of anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, zoology, etc., evolution was either mentioned in just one chapter or not even at all. Biology got the most coverage of evolution at 5 chapters among 45 in the textbook Life. But for most others, evolution was practically nonexistent in the book. Professors of science also tend to skip the parts on evolution because they need to cut material in order to fit everything into one semester.

    Thus, evolution is kind of ignored in science classes, which kind of indicates that it isn’t very important for science. Bergman says that newer textbooks are now finally getting more evolution in their books because of the controversy with creation and intelligent design. He also said that in his 8 years of graduate study in science and biomedicine, evolution was barely mentioned. They mostly concentrated on the science of the present instead of the evolution of the past. Even for biology majors, only one evolution class was required at most. And as of 2003 (I don’t know if it changed by now), graduate majors in Molecular Cell and Development Biology at Yale University will no longer be required to take classes in evolution! So if most scientists haven’t even studied evolution in-depth, then you can’t use the fact that most scientists believe in evolution as proof of evolution. They just believed the bit of evolution they were taught. When they went to graduate school, they didn’t test evolution with experiments to prove it to themselves; they just read a few paragraphs on it in the textbook and then went on experimenting with plant genes or blood cells. We need to consider those scientists that actually studied origins, and than number is very small compared to the overall number.

    The majority of scientists haven’t studied evolution carefully, and even if some did, it is doubtful that they heard the alternative creation evidence on the other side. Anything sounds good until you hear the evidence on the other side. Thousands upon thousands have not studied evolution with testable data.

    If you want testable data on evolution, then fruit fly breeding has given scientists a wealth of information that has surprised evolutionists. For 80 years, scientists have been breeding fruit flies in order to increase their mutations rates and increase the rate of evolution so that it can be studied before the eyes of scientists. Because fruit flies very quickly reproduce (life cycle: 10 days), and their DNA is “simple” among living things, and thousands can be bred with very low costs, they were perfect for reproducing evolution. By radiating flies repeatedly, scientists increased their mutation rates by 15,000%. Since mutations are the key to evolution, the prediction was that evolution would happen before our eyes. It didn’t. After 80 years of fruit fly breeding, the only results were damaged mutants, blind or wingless, without a single new form at all. The number of generations of fruit flies bred in those 80 years exceeds the number of generations man is supposed to have had in his million-year-existence on earth. Thus, the fruit fly is positive experimental evidence that evolution has never happened and can’t happen, and it was done by evolutionists predicting evolution would happen. Just to say, this info (“Fruit Flies Speak Up” http://www.pathlights.com) comes from a site that, of its 4,000 quotations, only 164 quotes are from creationists, so it shows that this evidence comes from evolutionary research. So that is testable evidence, and it is against evolution.

    As for your question about what created God, it is a good question, and here’s an explanation that I hope clears it up: Everything that has a beginning has a cause. The universe has a beginning. Thus, it has a cause (God). God has no beginning; thus, He has no cause. If the universe had no beginning, then it wouldn’t need God. But all scientists (evolutionists and creationists) say that the universe had a beginning.

    As for incest and creation, you didn’t take into account that I was noting it wasn’t a problem because at creation, everything was created perfect, so there were no bad genes that could harm the offspring when they cross-breeded. It is not until many more years later than incest would become a problem, because mutant genes would have accumulated. We can’t base the effects of incest today and look back at creation and think the same bad things would have happened.

    As for religion, maybe I should have said worldview, but atheism is a kind of religion. It does require faith, just like all other beliefs. We cannot see what happened in the past, so any belief telling us what happened in the past, either atheism or theism, must rely on indirect evidence and a certain amount of faith in that evidence. As for the thousands of religions you listed, many of these are variations on the major religions. According to religioustolerance.org, there are 19 major world religions which can be divided into 270 groups, and also smaller ones, and the vast majority are a part of these groups. Each group of religions also have certain common features which we can study and see if it’s true. So if, say, twenty different religions believe in reincarnation, and then if a person could prove that reincarnation is wrong, then those twenty are wrong.

    But it isn’t true that I can’t prove my religion to be true, because it is based on more than blind faith. Christianity is different than other religions, because it was founded on a historical event, the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether or not Jesus resurrected can be examined in light of historical and legal evidence and weighed on whether it took place, like other historical events. I was explaining some of this evidence for the resurrection in the last post, such as the empty tomb that the authorities struggled to explain away. Everyone in Jerusalem could verify if that tomb was empty by just talking a stroll to the graveyard. It isn’t like the disciples imagined that the tomb was empty, because even Jesus’ enemies knew this.

    Others have examined the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection as well, such as Josh McDowell. He was an unbeliever who scoffed at Christians, but when some of them challenged him to disprove Christianity, he set off to prove them wrong. He studied the resurrection and the historical reliability of the Bible, and he ended up becoming a believer because the evidence was so great. It wasn’t like he was biased for Christianity, because he started out as an unbeliever. When he was an unbeliever, he thought that believing in Christianity was intellectual suicide. But after studying the historical, legal, and scientific evidence for the resurrection and the Bible’s reliability, he changed his mind because now he knew that believing wasn’t just a blind leap of faith — it was backed with empirical evidence. If Christianity was bogus, he would have disproven it in front of his Christian challengers. There is a way to know if it is true; it’s just that not too many people know about it.

    By saying that my religion is the right one, yes I’m saying that billions of others are wrong, but you also are saying billions of others are wrong. Most aren’t atheists or agnostics. And this holds true for whatever belief I could hold. If I pick any belief, there will be billions of people disagreeing with me, no matter what belief it is! And saying that someone is wrong isn’t always a terrible thing — I’m not trying to be judgmental, I’m only trying to say the truth. If someone says, for example, that Sacramento, CA is the Capitol of the United States, and I know that Washington DC is really the Capitol, then it isn’t intolerant to tell the person that I think Washington DC is the right Capitol. I can present evidence to him explaining why I think Washington is the correct Capitol, and he can present his own evidence. If we disagree, then we disagree, but it isn’t wrong to point out to others that I think my beliefs are correct and I give my reasons.

    Also, the Bible isn’t full of contradictions. It does have difficult passages, but so does science. Scientists once couldn’t explain tornadoes, meteors, eclipses, and bumble flight, but because they had “faith” in the orderliness of the universe and its laws, they eventually resolved the difficulties these natural phenomena posed and found out that they were actually harmonious with scientific laws. Their faith in science was justified. With the Bible, the difficulties can be explained when examined closely. Scholars make errors in stating that the Bible has a contradiction for numerous reasons, such as looking at a passage out of context, confusing fallible interpretation of the Bible with the actual infallible teaching of the Bible, assuming divergent accounts are false, and basically assuming that the Bible is guilty until proven innocent. Geisler and Howe (The Big Book of Bible Difficulties) list 15 mistakes of critics in their critique of the Bible.

    Some commonly-claimed Biblical contradictions are the two different accounts of creation and different resurrection accounts. The first creation account seems to place animal creation before man’s creation, while the second seems to place man’s creation before animal: “the Lord God formed every beast of the field . . . and brought them to Adam” (Gen 2:19) But looking at the overall scope of these two passages reveals the solution: the first is an overall view describing the order of creation, while the second is a more detailed look at man’s creation. The second is focusing on man, and so doesn’t mention the animals until their appropriate place in the narrative.

    Or in the case of the different resurrection accounts, the book of Matthew states that there was one angel at the tomb, while John mentions two angels. This sounds like a problem until one thinks that there is always one angel where there are two angels. Matthew didn’t say that there was “only” one angel. Matthew could have been focusing his narrative on the angel who spoke. The slight differences among the four Gospels actually strengthens their legal value as witness testimony, since witnesses naturally tell slightly different, but compatible, stories on account of their different perspectives. If a couple witnesses tell the exact same story to a judge, with the details matching perfectly, then they are suspected of conspiring with one another. Since the Gospels have slight variations on the general story of the resurrection, the Gospel writers cannot have been conspiring together to create this new religion or to trick people, because the Gospels lack evidence of this exact sameness of details. So sometimes the differences help, not hurt, the Bible. An explanation is there for every passage difficulty, if one is willing to give the Bible a chance to prove itself, just as scientists trust that natural laws work out in orderly ways, even when surface evidence may appear to contradict that principle at times.

    As for scientific evidence, I wish you wouldn’t say that there is no scientific evidence for creation. Let’s be fair: There is evidence on both sides. I’m just trying to prove that creation has better evidence. I just gave you some of the evidence in my other post about DNA, and I gave some here about fruit flies, and I could list some more, such as gaps in the fossil record, sealife fossils on mountains, contorted fossils indicating rapid burial, etc. There have been fossils found of fish swallowing other fish, which indicates very rapid burial in order to preserve them.

    Fossilized trees that span several strata have also been found in coal beds, which brings grave problems for evolution, because one strata is supposed to represent the sediment accumulation over millions of years. How could the tree sticking up (and sometimes even upside down!) never have rotted away over the millions of years that the sediment was collecting around it? Evolutionists cite a local catastrophe as the explanation, but this explanation can’t resolve how those multi-strata trees in coal beds formed. Coal beds are extensive in area (no local process could account for them), and they are required by evolutionary thinking to have formed over millions of years. But this could not be, since the multi-strata trees, especially the upside down ones, could not have been sitting there while coal in peat bogs formed around them, because they’ll just rot away. The flood explanation for coal beds and vertical multi-strata fossil trees is that the sedimentary upheaval in a huge flood would uproot trees and they would float in log mats, sometimes vertically because of their heavy roots. These trees would then drop into the newly forming sedimentary layers. This theory has actually been observed in the Mount St. Helens eruption, where uprooted trees were dumped in Spirit Lake and then some were found to have sunk to the bottom in an upright position. This is an example of a catastrophe explaining the evidence, and the fact that vertical trees are found in extensive layers of coal is evidence that the catastrophe that formed them was extensive as well. Info about this is from where two scientists, Oard and Giesecke, actually visited a site in Alaska of vertical tree fossils to examine their and the evolutionary hypotheses. So they conducted original research into this issue.

    Another scientific evidence for creation is metamorphosis (Brown, In the Beginning, 17-18). 87% of insects undergo metamorphosis, where the fully-functional larva surrounds itself with a cocoon and then totally disintegrates within it. Its eyes, brain, legs, and body have been reduced to mush. Why would evolution liquefy these complex organs, basically bringing the creature into such a purely nonfunctional state? Once the creature is liquified, then its genes miraculously command the mush through various steps to form the mush back into a body, but this time the body is totally different and also fully functional. Evolution relies on incremental, “beneficial” mutations to advance the species, yet this amazing transformation could not be the result of mutations. A bit of mush cannot evolve slowly with slight modifications, because the piece of mush is useless until it has all of its body parts formed, just as they are. Darwin said that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” At least he admitted that such an organ might exist. With metamorphosis, it’s not just an organ, but an entire body.

    Oh, and I wasn’t clear when I spoke about college. I said that I wanted to major in science in college, but I’m finishing my first year of college already, just not currently in a science major. I was attracted to go into a science major because of a science class I took. And what I learned in that class doesn’t contradict what I thought about science, except mostly for the few evolutionary points the textbook made. When the instructor stated in the discussion board that the earth was 4.5 billion years old, I pointed out five evidences for a young earth: (1) high rates of mud accumulation in the ocean (could not be going on for billions of years, or ocean would have much more mud); (2) whole strata layers that are bent, showing that the whole strata (supposed to represent millions of years) must have been soft enough to bend and was bent soon after becoming soft (as a result of flood upheaval); (3) DNA and unfossilized tissue (even living, dormant bacteria) within fossils 100s of millions of years old (living bacteria found in billion-year-old rock), which contradicts the only thousands of years that DNA and tissue can survive; (4) problems with old-age radiometric dating methods, such as twentieth-century lava flows in New Zealand that were dated as old as 3.5 million years; and (5) the fast rate of helium leaking out from zircon crystals, which could only be happening for 6,000 years. I gave references from my creationist books and waited for him to respond with evidence of his own.

    But my professor didn’t. Even though my writing was visible for the whole class to see, he didn’t repudiate me or even give any evidence for evolution. Even if he didn’t know all the evidence, at least he could have given me evolutionist references which did address these things. And this wasn’t a Bible-belt college — it is a college in Boston, Massachussetts, so he had the majority opinion by his side. Maybe he didn’t want controversy. But what else is college for, but to explore various views and see what the evidence supports? By not addressing the points I brought up, he indirectly could have led the class to believe that what I said had scientific merit. If evolution is so important in science, then he should have said something in this introductory science class. His silence seems to confirm what I mentioned about scientists in general, that they haven’t really studied evolution very much, only their fields of interest, but that they still believe evolution just because that’s what their textbooks said. And also all their peers around them believe it.

    That professor, even though he believed in evolution, didn’t seem too concerned that I didn’t believe in it, since he suggested that I may be interested in considering science for a career. If my beliefs were a threat to science, he wouldn’t have said that. I had enjoyed the class, so knowing the concepts was more important than knowing evolution. I also have used the references for creation science in most of my EN 102 argumentative and research papers, and my instructor didn’t mind them. So college does allow these resources as valid references of information.

    You say that the science in my previous post is completely fallible, but you don’t address most of it. I’ve tried to address all your points, which is why this is becoming frightfully long. If my science was fallible, then my science professor should have taught what real science was like and corrected me.

    You say that the only ones who deny evolution are religious fundamentalists. But this is wrong; many books critical of evolution, such as The Great Evolution Mystery; Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth; and Darwin Retried are not even written by Christian-defenders — they address the scientific arguments without siding with religion. Science Digest even reports that “Scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest-growing controversial minorities… Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science” (Larry Hatfield, “Educators Against Darwin,” Science Digest Special (Winter 1979), pp. 94-96. qtd in christiananswers.net). So more and more scientists are challenging evolution as its problems become more widely known.

    Even if you show that the smartest people in universities nowadays are mostly atheists, that still doesn’t consider that what universities teach is virtually all within a secular viewpoint. They don’t give the evidence from the other side, because it goes against their beliefs. And if all that students hear and read about in the university tells only one side, then even the smartest students will only have a limited pool of knowledge from which to analyze through their high IQs. Take my atheist cousin, who is right now in a top university. He’s a pretty smart fellow, seemingly brighter than his two non-atheist siblings who couldn’t rise as high. He dislikes the idea of religion and has tried often to convert his brother into atheism. But I doubt he’s ever heard of all the scientific arguments and explanations from the creation viewpoint, like the sealife on mountains and the many “clocks” in geology that give young ages for the earth. His classes probably didn’t touch on those problems at all — so he made up his mind on what they did teach, which were only the arguments for secularism. I’m sure they gave a weak view of religion, such as it has no basis in realty, without ever even considering the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. When the only information provided to a mind is secularism, then it doesn’t matter how smart that mind is, because it will make a choice with what it’s got. And who’s going to investigate these things outside the classroom? After a stint in college, most are convinced that religion has no leg to stand on anyway, so they wouldn’t even see the evidence outside the classroom. With the way colleges teach secularism, I would have thought that more people would come out as atheists — the fact that faith is still standing is amazing, since they mostly didn’t know the evidence for their faith.

    A last example was my history class. When it talked about the historical period when Jesus lived, it briefly mentioned that Jesus’ followers claimed a story that He resurrected, but that was it. It didn’t mention any of the compelling evidences for Jesus’ resurrection, and even if it did, the school would probably be harassed by the media as catering to a religion. What most don’t realize is that atheism is a kind of religion — it is a worldview that has taken over schools, claiming to be objective. But it has its own assumptions, just like other beliefs, and those assumptions preclude all supernatural things, before the evidence is looked at. All throughout that history class, I kept mentioning the alternative evidence on the other side, and no one refuted me. In my first writing that showed the unreliability of radiometric dating for old ages in dating early man, my history professor even agreed that such things were uncertain. My history textbook itself said in the second page that the history of ancient man was mostly figured out from conjecture, but most people reading it won’t take it that way.

    If I hadn’t offered alternative evidence in that class, my classmate probably would never have heard that evidence in any college class. Judging solely from the textbook, most of them should have become atheists eventually — the smart people surely would put 2-and-2 together and figure out that the evidence all seemed on the secularist’s side. But they wouldn’t have had all the evidence. I was able to provide an alternative viewpoint in the class, which college is supposed to be all about alternative viewpoints. But somehow the religious viewpoint gets the short end of the deal, mostly because colleges don’t like religion, instead of seeing all the evidence.

    I guess I didn’t need to address everything you said, since you probably won’t change your mind anyway. But I wanted to make sure that I gave logical, scientific reasons for what I believe, and show that it does have evidence. You’ve made many claims, like “all of what you have read doesn’t follow that of actual science.” But you don’t know everything I have read. And if evolution is true, it sure is going to have one difficult time explaining away everything I’ve learned about the natural world. With just a word, you say that all my facts come from bogus sources. That is an easy way to explain away all the arguments. It is also a very general statement. But it doesn’t erase the evidence. I remember one scientist, Robert Gentry, who struggled to have his paper published, because they showed that certain radiometric phenomena showed a radically short lifespan of the earth. The only way he got his paper published in premier scientific journals was when he left out the creation implications. So his evidence stood — but the moment the implications of his evidence became clearer, the journals refused to publish him. So he practiced good science — but it was suppressed, and such evidence will continue to be suppressed. So whether atheism grows depends on how much the evidence is not showed on all sides.

    • Dino says:

      Hello Witness,
      As I’ve read through your response to the Ricky Gervais post I was impressed that you have really researched reasons for your belief. Personally I am an agnostic. I became an agnostic when I tried to convince my son that the Christian faith was true. Starting with Genesis I realized that the events in the bible didn’t match with what we know about creation.

      It doesn’t make rational sense that the universe and earth were created in 6 days. The days would have to be literal since in the 10 commandments God himself says in the 4th one “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.”

      Also from DNA we know human life started in Africa and not the Middle East as the bible states in Gen 2:1014. The National Geographic society has a large-scale study that maps out human migration out of Africa.
      The most telling from the Old Testament is that there is no evidence that Mose’s exodus out of Egypt was real. I even read articles from experts living in Israel that say they have looked an there is no proof.

      Having found no compelling evidence from the Old Testament I thought that I would go to the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Surely I would find answers in the life of Jesus. While studying these I got a birth date for Jesus from 4bc (Matthew) to 6ad (Luke). There were many contradictions between the synoptic gospels and John’s. Jesus was supposed to have started his ministry and been crucified after John the Baptist, but according to Josephus John was executed in 36ad. This means that Jesus would have been crucified in 39ad. This would mean that the trail for Jesus couldn’t have been before Pilate since Pilate left office in 36ad.

      I went on and the bible indicates that the Apostle Paul and James the first church leader were at odds on the theology of salvation through grace or works. (Gal, Acts).

      Don’t get me wrong there are some wonderful teaching in the bible. The golden rule of “do unto others” is something I try to follow. My point is that even if we could prove that a god exists using science that really doesn’t prove that any one religion is correct. So even if someday it is proven that the earth is only 6,000 years old, it is a huge leap of logic to say that means we need to go to church once a week, or that we refrain from eating pork, or that we need to face the east when we pray, or that god has six arms and an elephant head. If there is a god or gods then the holy writings from him/her/them must make sense and not contradict. If not then I’ll have to withhold my belief.

  5. Hello Dino,

    Thanks for reading my response — I wouldn’t have thought someone would have wanted to slog all the way through that! I think that it’s great you looked into the reasons for your faith, too, though of course we came to different conclusions. I would like to address each of your reasons and see what you think.

    1. Yes, the ten commandments definitely said that the earth was created in six days! My father was a theistic evolutionist until he saw that verse, which made him into a six-24-hour-day creationist. But I was wondering why do you think it isn’t rational that the earth was created in six days? Are you wondering about the events described in Genesis, or the apparent old age of the earth? God could have created in any amount of time He wanted; in fact, I would have thought He’d create things in a single moment instead of dragging things out for six days, but as the ten commandments indicate, He must have did it to create a model for our work week of six days of work and a day of rest (incidentally, the seven-day week observed worldwide has no astronomical basis — if it wasn’t instituted by God from the beginning, it’s kind of hard to imagine why men uniformly chose to have seven days for a week).

    If the apparent old age of the earth is what you are referring to, there are alternative explanations that address that. For example, the earth is claimed to be around 4.5 billion years old from radiometric dating techniques, which rely on measuring the rates of decay of radioactive elements. But scientist Walt Brown (http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/Radioactivity2.html) offers another explanation for the existence of radioactivity: According to his flood model, the flood waters before the flood were contained in a worldwide water chamber 10 miles below earth’s surface. Pressure was increasing in the chamber, and when it got too great, the waters exploded out of the chamber through a crack which now approximates the globe-circling Mid-Oceanic Ridge. The huge stresses on the earth’s crust from this catastrophe caused huge amounts of electricity to be created within the chamber, causing “bolts of lightning” to strike back and forth within the chamber and its walls. This electricity disrupted the nuclei of many elements, causing them to radioactively decay at greatly accelerated rates. Experiments with an electron-stripped element rhenium (electrically-charged) caused its half-life decay rate (how long it takes half of the element to decay away) to turn from 42 billion years to only 33 years! So the special conditions of the flood produced most of the radioactivity evidence in the rocks today, but we wouldn’t have known that if we just look at today’s super-slow decay rates. So radiometric dating has an alternative explanation.

    2. About DNA and Africa, scientists are unsure about that one. The initial consensus was that man originated from Africa, but now other scientists are saying that DNA indicates man came from Europe or Asia. Though the flood destroyed Eden, so we don’t know where exactly it was located, the Ark landed somewhere in Turkey (Mt. Ararat), and Turkey is near the convergence of Africa, Asia, and Europe (Brown, In the Beginning 319-20). So DNA does put man’s origins in the ballpark of where the Bible says Noah landed. This Mideast location makes sense, since agriculture appears to have started there as well. Incidentally, this issue of man’s origin is based the study of “mitochondrial Eve,” which was at first believed, based on evolutionary assumptions, to have lived 100,000-200,000 years ago (she’s supposed to be the female ancestor of all presently living, hence “Eve”). But better study of DNA mutation rates has shown that the rates are much faster, putting this Eve as living only about 6,500 years ago, which again supports the approximate time the Bible says Eve was created.

    3. As for the Exodus out of Egypt, it would be hard finding evidence for this event, as it is even thousands of years earlier than Jesus’ own time! That said, fascinating evidence has been found in the mountains of Sinai. High in this desert region, in the most inaccessible places in the rocks, explorers found inscriptions written in the rocks in a Hebrew-Egyptian language, and the inscriptions describe the Exodus in detail. The events of the Exodus described include the Red Sea crossing, the murmuring against Moses, the miraculous provision of water from rock, the plague of serpents, and the miracle provision of quail for food. And these events are described with original wording, as opposed to mere copying of the Exodus account in the Bible. Moses is even named as head of the Israelites in one inscription about the flight from Egypt: “Moses causeth the people to haste like a fleet-winged she-ostrich crying aloud; the cloud shining bright, a mighty army propelled into the Red sea is gathered into one . . .” The language is quite different from the Bible, but describes the same event. Though some claim that medieval Christians wrote all these inscriptions, that cannot be for most of them, because ancient historians Diodorus and Strabo wrote in 10 B.C. and A.D. 24, respectively, that the inscriptions were already very ancient in their time, which was before Christianity even existed. Besides, the motive for making fake inscriptions of the Exodus is small when considering that these inscriptions are located in a very remote location, where hardly anyone could admire such rock-carving handiwork. The mix of Hebrew and Egyptian in the language also points to the Exodus Jews writing them, as a record of what they went through. Along with the inscriptions, a mountain grave with the same inscriptions was found, with quail drawings, and the local Arabs still call that place “the Jews’ graves,” since that must have been the burial place of many disobedient Jews when God sent a plague among them, since they had grown unsatisfied and greedy and demanded meat to eat like they had in Egypt. (more info in Grant Jeffrey’s The Signature of God) So the Old Testament does have outside evidence in the Exodus.

    4. The idea that Luke gives a 6 AD date for Jesus’ birth stems from the thinking that Quirinius wasn’t governor of the area until 6 AD. Since Luke states that the census, of which Joseph and Mary were a part, was under Quirinius as his first census of Syria (Luke 2:2), it appears that since Quirinius wasn’t governor until 6 AD, then Jesus was born in 6 AD. But Quirinius was actually over Syria twice, first in 12 – 2 BC when he was a military leader, and then the second time in 6 AD. So Jesus was born under the first term of Quirinius’s rule over the Palestinian area, matching with Matthew. You can check out ChristianAnswers.com and The Big Book of Bible Difficulties for more info in this area.

    5. As for John and the Synoptic Gospels, their differences can be resolved. The special differences of John compared to the rest of the Gospels, especially his inclusion of events that the other Gospels do not mention, is not surprising, since John’s Gospel was written later than the others. Since the other three had already substantially covered certain events in Jesus’ life, John must have felt that re-covering them would not be as useful as recording other events that had not been recorded. So John is different because he is showing other aspects of Jesus’ life that the other Gospels didn’t touch on, which provides a separate witness of Jesus apart from the Synoptic Gospels.

    Examples of apparent contradiction between John and the Synoptics can be explained when examined closely. One is the apparent discrepancies between John’s account of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple with the Synoptic accounts: The Synoptics say that it happened at the end of Jesus’ ministry, while John has it occurring at the beginning. Other details differ, such as Jesus’ claim at the end of the John passage that He would destroy the temple (metaphor for His body) and in three days raise it up, which is not mentioned in the Synoptic account of the temple cleansing. One explanation of these differences is that two temple cleansings occurred, one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry. Evidence for this includes the Synoptics’ recording that the Jewish leaders at the trial accused Jesus of claiming to be able to destroy the temple and then build another “not made by hands.” This claim of Jesus is only explicitly stated in John. The witnesses against Jesus for this particular accusation could not agree on their testimony, which makes more sense that the particular temple cleansing they were referring to happened some years ago at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John’s account), instead of just days before in the more recent (and thus more easily remembered) second temple cleansing (Synoptic account). The Jewish authorities, after Jesus upturned the money tables a second and last time, probably wanted to bring in witnesses from the first occurrence of Jesus’ bold actions to substantiate their accusations of Him for this second time. This info is from analysis in Craig Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, which goes into detail regarding the apparent contradictions between John and the Synoptics, giving logical explanations for each problem passage.

    6. The apparent contradiction that John the Baptist appeared to have died in 36 AD, after Jesus’ own death, isn’t so set-in-stone, because the date of 36 AD for John’s death must be assumed from reading Josephus, when other interpretations are possible. Josephus didn’t say that John died in 36 AD; it must be inferred from the text, specifically on the assumption that Herod unlawfully married his brother’s wife on 34 AD. This lustful marriage was publicly condemned by John the Baptist, prompting Herod to execute him. Herod had annulled his other marriage in 28 AD, so he had already plans to marry his brother’s wife long before the alleged date of 34 AD. So it is more probable that Herod married his second wife earlier, and so John’s execution would be earlier, too, before Jesus’ death. So there isn’t anything hard and fast about the 36 AD date for John’s death, and Jesus was tried during Pilate’s reign.

    7. And as for Paul and James disagreeing about salvation, it wasn’t actually James whom Paul was disagreeing with, but some men from Judea who had begun “teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’ (Acts 15:1). Circumcision was a pretty important thing for the Jews, so it was hard for them to give it up when new revelation came from God to Paul. So Paul went to the other disciples, including James, and they discussed the matter, concluding that God was working by grace in giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. Peter goes against works for salvation when he says, “why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples [Gentiles] a yoke which neither our fathers [Jews] nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). James then agrees with Peter: “It is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles”; i.e., “let’s not trouble them by requiring circumcision.” Basically, James didn’t advocate circumcision as an entry into the faith. He then lists some instructions that he does want Gentiles to observe, such as not practicing fornication, but these were not requirements for salvation, but more like basics of Christian living in the new faith. Evidence that this wasn’t a call for works is because in Acts 15:22-29, the apostles sent Paul and others to give these instructions from James to the Gentile believers to follow. If this was for salvation, then Paul wouldn’t have agreed to it. So both men are in harmony in their teaching of salvation.

    In conclusion, I base my faith on evidence in both science and the Bible. Yes, proving that the earth is 6,000 years old doesn’t necessarily prove which religion is right, but it sure gives some clear implications. It would certainly show some religions to be wrong, such as Hinduism and many Eastern religions, because these hold to a long-age view of the earth on the order of millions of years (they need long ages for reincarnation to work). I have a 1,000-page book by two Hindu scientists who try to prove that man was in existence during those millions of years, so they differ from strictly secularist evolutionists, but they still believe in old ages. Also, a truly 6,000 year-old earth would practically make it impossible for the secular, naturalistic view to be true, since there wouldn’t be time for any natural process to form the earth and everything in it. Evolution needs long ages, so if there aren’t long ages, it is very reasonable to assume that a supernatural power, God, is behind creation. If a God went through all the trouble to create the world just right for life and all its complexity, it seems reasonable to think that He would want to communicate with His creation, or in some way make His presence known to His creatures, whom He put a lot of work into. This is where we’d now look to the various Scriptures or experiences of people and religions, to see whether one or more of them was or is the method of communication from God.

    Since the Bible’s geneological timeline is close to 6,000 years, showing that the earth is around 6,000 years old would show the Bible to be very accurate. And when we consider the many evidences for a worldwide flood in geology, then the Bible shows that it is further accurate in describing history. Another point of evidence is Jesus’ resurrection, where prophecies in the Old Testament find their fulfillment and historical evidences show it to be a very evidenced event, barely explainable in its own day apart from the supernatural working of God. Skeptics have studied the resurrection and come away believers, so it is something to be reckoned with. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, it would set Him apart from the leader of every other religion, since they all died, and most can be visited in their graves. His resurrection is pretty good evidence that Christianity is the right religion. So we can use both science and history as tools to figure out the right one.

  6. timmyshort says:

    I applaud Rowena for looking for evidence and following it where it leads. I studied a great deal of these apologetic issues at Liberty University where some of the most cutting edge research is being done to support Intelligent Design and six day creationism. For me, and possibly Ian too, the Aquinian ideal for a first mover–the uncaused cause–is not so hard to concede. What is hard to concede is that this unbiased, timeless, Mind would turn out to be the vindictive prick we read of in the Old Testament. Truly, Yahweh, the war god of Israel is a bloodthirsty tyrant and the social norms which he instituted in the Law of Moses were pathetic. To think that Jesus’ death was to help God forgive us for not measuring up to his bullshit Law…that is where Ian and I (sorry for the association Ian, I am presuming you would agree) cannot concede. This Mind, whether it be the Deistic winder of the clock who got us running–who programmed the Big Bang for reasons we cannot comprehend…all of this speculation is fine and in this discussion I would admit being an agnostic and not an atheist. But since people like Rowena and the people she reads have no trouble making the unfathomably huge leap towards Aquinas’/Plantinga’s “NECESSARY BEING” to Mary’s hymen magically stepping aside to bring about lil Jesus in the manger…I am an atheist and always will be. Atheists are not out to prove that nature is simple or that everything we know about strata layers is true. We just cannot grant the God of the Old Testament a special treatment we would be otheriwise unwilling to provide Allah, or Vishnu or anyone else you don’t happen to believe in. I would admit you seem to be better read and far more intelligent than myself, but my common sense and grasp of morality does not afford me such a line of credit to God and Jesus anymore. I hope in my snarky and smart ass answer I did not offend Rowena personally. I am sure you are a fine person and I am grateful that people like Rowena are contributing to the great dialogue and keeping us atheists on our toes. Viva la democracy–

    We must be ruthless with ideas but gentle with people. right?

    Check out my blog http://www.atheistplayground.wordpress.com where I would REALLY welcome Rowena and all Christians to take a stab at my half-baked conundrums.

    • Wow, you went to Liberty and you’re an atheist?! That seems pretty cool in its own. I lost most of my respect for that college when they labelled fossils and dinosaur bones as 6,000 years old… maybe you can raise that respect bar for me. You’re the first person I’ve met that went there.

      What I find, as far as arguing goes… is that the type of people that are atheists/agnostic are the ones that enjoy a good debate. They find arguments enlightening and constructive. On the other hand, I find that most religious people take harsh offense once you start debating the topic. They take such arguments as an insult to their religion and refuse to take part in a “logical” debate. That’s why many atheists/agnostics believe religious people can’t be logical, because they avoid all such discussion. There are, however, few people like Rowena that will stand up for their belief. And honestly, it’s usually the fundamentalists… and it’s more enjoyable debating a fundamentalist than a ‘Sunday Christian’. The only thing is that I quickly lose all patience to debate the topic because it’s a never ending circle. They may say something, and I’ll logically refute it, and the reply is that “we will never know the workings of god”. It’s a vicious cycle of this… and I’m just not going to waste my time, kind of like giving up on the above.

      If I were to find out that a god existed, it would require it to be one of two possibilities that I have logically reduced. Either the god is a supremely immoral god that enjoys bloodshed and fucking with people (and not other animals) or it’s a deistic being that (like you said) wound the clock. I have absolutely NO problem with someone who is a deist. I have a problem with religion, it has and continues to oppress the world and probably won’t stop until it hardly exists in society.

      Me, personally, I’m an agnostic atheist. I believe that we will never know the true answer but that the likely answer is a universe without a god. I also believe the universe is timeless. Time is already proven to be flexible… which already shows that the limits of time could be infinite.

      Thanks for commenting, I’ll check out your blog.

    • Hi Timmy and Ian,

      Timmy, I appreciate that you read the discussion between Ian and me. I see that your objection is not against a First Cause, but against the God of the Bible based on what you call “bloodthirsty” actions and laws. You say He shouldn’t be allowed moral high ground compared to other gods we don’t believe in, such as Allah and Vishnu. I understand your feelings about this, and I admit it is one of the more difficult parts of the Bible to accept upon first glance, especially with our Western mindset that is very different from ancient peoples. Yet I believe there are very compelling responses, so I would like to address your points. I apologize in advance for the long length of this response, so please bear with me.

      When you call Yahweh a bloodthirsty tyrant, I assume that you’re referring to His commands to Israel to slaughter the Canaanite peoples or His destruction of the whole world with a global flood. Let me first talk about the Canaanites. These people were not innocent – in fact, they were shockingly depraved. Among other evil actions, these people sacrificed their children to their many gods and idols. This was murder of the most horrible kind. Archaeological evidence of this child sacrifice has even been found under the sanctuary ruins of Gezer, wherein were found “urns containing the burnt bones of children” and these are dated between about the time of Abraham and the Exodus (approx. 2000-1500 BC) (“God and the Canaanites” http://www.probe.org). This is the time of the Canaanites.

      Child sacrifice was done for a number of reasons. People wanted to please their gods and get favors from them, such as a good harvest for the next year. Ancient peoples had many children anyway, so though sacrificing one child was a big investment, it still was quite feasible since they had other children to replace that child. The big investment of sacrificing a child would be lauded by their idols anyway, so this was a “practical” course of action if you wanted to get a big favor from the powers that be.

      Here’s how it worked: These people would heat up with fire one of their idols, such as Molech. The folded arms of the idol would get white-hot. Then they would lay their son or daughter in the arms of the idol – and the child would die screaming and in agony. All the society practiced this as normal and even right – a requirement to please their gods or get special favors. Doesn’t this make your hair curl? Each person was a murderer or a supporter of the murder going on in this society. So can you blame God for utterly detesting this abomination? God had Moses write a warning about the Canaanites and child sacrifice:

      “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” – Deuteronomy 12:29-31.

      Now, does this passage sound like a bloodthirsty tyrant? Especially read the last verse – to God, the burning of the children to the false gods was one of the supreme sins of the Canaanites. Why would a bloodthirsty God detest this practice, when all the other gods of the land apparently required it? In fact, God warned the Israelites that He was removing the Canaanites not because the Israelites were so holy, but because the Canaanites were so utterly wicked and deserving of His justice.

      Just imagine that you lived in ancient Canaan. Child sacrifice is a normal practice all around you, for hundreds of years. If you aren’t “peer-pressured” into thinking that this is a good thing, you would be shocked at this practice and you might even blame God for not doing something about it. “Why are you letting this to continue God! How can you be loving towards these children by doing nothing?” You probably wouldn’t believe in God, based on what He “allows.”

      In fact, God even said that He would spare one of the Canaanite peoples, the Amorites, for 400 years while the Israelites were in Egypt (Genesis 15:16). God said that their wickedness had not yet grown to its greatest height, so He would not judge them just yet. God basically gave the Amorites and other Canaanites 400 years to turn back from their sin, not even including the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. The Canaanites had heard of the miracles that God has performed in Egypt to set the Israelites free, and the Canaanites expressed fear of the Israelites, as shown when you read Rahab the harlot’s story. Yet apparently only Rahab is recorded as forsaking this wicked society and turning to the Israelites and their God before the judgment began – the ones who remained were stone-hearted, despite the 440-year warning from God before He came and judged them.

      God gave the Canaanites plenty of time to repent. Just compare this 440-year grace period to modern day Muslim terrorists and their hatred of America as the “Great Satan” who “corrupts” the world. Did Allah give America 400 years to repent? Apparently not, since we are only 200+ years old! So to compare Allah with Yahweh is to forget Yahweh’s incredibly longsuffering mercy – so long in fact, that you can be tempted to charge God with being late with justice.

      And yet when God finally does something about the horror, the objector turns against God and says He is bloodthirsty in destroying the Canaanites! The Canaanites are murderers and supporters of murderers, even worse than Hitler, who only managed to reign for a decade or so. These people have been doing this for hundreds of years! So the atheist doesn’t give God a chance – either God is unloving in letting this continue, or He is bloodthirsty in destroying the Canaanites for what they have done. Just to mention, when the Israelites began to copy the Canaanites and burn their own children in the fire, God began to judge them also – He is impartial when it comes to judging sin no matter who does it.

      Some object that God ordered the destruction of everybody among the Canaanites – including the children. If God hated child sacrifice, why is He ordering children killed? This has to be understood under three lights. First, the Israelites had to utterly destroy everything about the Canaanites – they could not even have the gold and silver of the first city they conquered, because it was part of the Canaanites. Imagine if these children were spared and grew up in an Israelite society. Since the Israelites had killed all their parents – who were murderers of their brothers and sisters, but parents nevertheless – so these children would grow up with revenge in their hearts and try destroying the Israelites. They would take up the practices of their parents and the vicious cycle would begin again. So the Israelites’ survival – both physical and spiritual – was paramount here.

      Second, the children would be going to a better place to be with God when they died. Though not expressly addressed in the Bible, there are Biblical indications (such as with David’s dying son) that children go to heaven, since they have not yet reached the “age of accountability” – the day when they can choose between good and evil. Since God is giving these children a much better life far from the evil of the world, we can say that God was doing to these children what was in their best interest.

      Third, since God is the Creator, He can end the life of any of His creatures. He created, so He also has the right to destroy. We do not create life, so we do not have that right to destroy life (except where God has given us permission, such as the death penalty). If you killed me, it would be wrong because you have no right to destroy what you can’t create. But God has the right to kill me, and it would not be murder, because He created me and thus “owns” me.

      Ownership is a crucial issue here. Just imagine a scenario: I make a birdhouse and hang it on my tree. Then I decide that I want to make a bigger birdhouse and I take that smaller birdhouse apart and destroy it. Anything done wrong? Nope. Now imagine I’m a neighbor and I see my neighbor putting up a birdhouse. I want to make a bigger birdhouse, so I come take the birdhouse, without permission from the neighbor, and destroy it for my own purposes. Anything done wrong? You bet! As someone who didn’t make the birdhouse or own it in any way, I had absolutely no right to destroy it and I committed a crime. But by just being owner and maker of the birdhouse, I gain the right to destroy it as I see fit. Similarly, God has ownership over us because He created us.

      Incidentally, this concept of ownership and the Canaanite practice of killing their children touches an important issue of the modern day: abortion. I do not know your views on abortion, but I know that many atheists and agnostics are prochoice. The prochoice position believes it is all right for a woman to kill her unborn child (or fetus or “pregnancy” as Planned Parenthood calls it) according to her own reasons, such as economic hardship or a planned career. But is this really any different than the Canaanites’ reasons for killing their children – to gain better harvests from favor with their gods? We have just replaced archaic idols with modern “idols” of career and convenience – all at the expense of a child’s life. And is the child really any less human because it is inside the womb instead of outside the womb? In one very grissly procedure called partial-birth abortion, the child is actually in the process of being birthed with only his head left in the womb – when an abortionist suddenly sticks an instrument in his head and sucks his brains out, thus killing the child and making the head come out easier because the skull collapses. Just writing this sickens me in unbelief that people would even defend, let alone perform, this horrifying murder – and that is exactly what it is.

      We are the Canaanites revisited – we deserved to be damned just like them – and that horrifies me. I love America, but I know that I must do much more to awaken her to this second Holocaust that is happening in her very midst. 53+ million have died from abortion, even more than the Holocaust. What can I do – what would you do, if you lived in the Canaanite society? One problem is that women have been trained to think that they “own” their bodies including their unborn babies – but this is not so. I’m sure the Canaanites thought they “owned” their children and could do anything they liked with them – but this is not so. God owns us because He created our life – and He forbids us to take the lives of other human beings without His permission. This is the basis of why murder is wrong – life is not ours to take without the express permission of God, the Giver of life.

      God’s right of ownership is also the reason why He has the right to give us laws for our lives that we should obey – because we do not own ourselves like we like to think, but He is Lord over us. Yet the laws He gives are good and useful for our lives. God’s commandments for us are like the instruction manual for an iPhone – disobey one of them and you won’t take very good care of the phone or ourselves. Though the Old Testament laws are limited in their applicability to today because they were tailored for another societal situation, let me illustrate one of its laws. Leviticus 23:22 says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I [am] the LORD your God.’ ”

      Basically, God is telling Israelite farmers to have compassion on the poor by not harvesting every single part of their field, thus leaving the poor an opportunity to harvest some food for themselves. Here God instructs Israel in a method to help the poor that is even better than modern welfare! Unlike modern welfare, which just gives a check to any poor person whether that person is lazy or not, God has figured out a way where hard work is rewarded – the poor people willing to work can get food for themselves by going to the field nearby them, while the lazy poor people do not get anything, as befits their laziness. If agricultural societies today implemented this policy, it would be a great help in improving the life condition of the poor. Unfortunately, this particular policy would not work in industrialized nations such as America, since our poor live inside the inner city, far from farmland. This difference underscores the specificity of God’s Mosaic Laws to the Israelites – these laws were made for their time and place, and must be examined in that light.

      When you compare the God-given Mosaic Law to the laws of other ancient nations like the Hammurabi Laws, you see a stark difference along with similarities. Though some of their formats are similar, many of the laws of Hammurabi are concerned more with crimes against property rather than crimes against people. And when people-crimes are discussed, the punishment for committing a crime against an upper-class person is much greater than the punishment for the same crime against a lower-class victim. This high-class partiality is not accepted in the Old Testament law, where punishments are metted out not in reference to a person’s social status. These were revolutionary concepts in the ancient world, where human life was mostly not given much thought. I’m not saying all ancient laws were lacking in good, but the Mosaic law provided an improvement over them that reflected God’s greater concern for innocent human life than property or status.

      Now that I’ve discussed some things about the Canaanites and God’s laws, I’ll briefly touch on the global flood destruction. All human life was destroyed in this catastrophe, so it appears worse than the Canaanite destruction. Was God bloodthirsty in doing this? But just read Genesis 6:5-7:

      “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land”

      “Every intent” of man’s heart “was only evil continually.” What a sad statement. I’ve never read a similar statement about the Canaanites, so I think it’s safe to assume that the preflood society was even worse than they. The Canaanites were probably the “spiritual” descendents of these preflood societal attitudes, since the Canaanites came after the Flood. Can you imagine a society were men continually thought only of evil and intended evil all the time? What a horrible place to live – and God only saved eight people from it, Noah and his family, so it shows how almost all people had become woefully evil.

      But even more pertinent to our discussion is the verses’ display of God’s attitude to all this – “He was grieved in His heart.” Wow, what a bloodthirsty fellow! Look how He can’t wait to exterminate the pest man from the face of the earth! No, it doesn’t strike you that way? This is the biggest judgment in the Old Testament – the destruction of mankind – and so we would expect a “bloodthirsty” Yahweh to be sadistically delighted to throw His judgment on these people. Yet the verses do not show the slightest hint of sadism as God mourns in His judging of man – some translations even use the word “repent” to attempt to describe the deep sorrow God felt about destroying man. It was as if He wished He had never created man when it lead to this widespread evil. You can make a better case for God’s repenting than for His bloodthirstiness based on this passage. God even gave mankind 120 years to repent before He sent destruction (Genesis 6:3).

      Again, God’s amazing long-suffering mercy is displayed. I can point to many Old Testament passages that show this extreme patience of God and even His bringing back His people Israel time and again to Him even though they sin time and again. You read the Old Testament and one of the major ideas you’ll come away with is that these Israelites are stubborn-necked and prone to evil – after all, they follow the Canaanites and burn their own children! Yet God keeps forgiving these people. You may say, “Ah, come on God, just wipe these people out! They are murderers and have transgressed Your law countless times – away with them!” Yet God cannot do this, because He promised Abraham their father that He would make Abraham’s descendents His own people, a special family He loves on earth, not because they are better or bigger than others, but because He chose to love them and keep His promise to Abraham whom He loved (Genesis 17:5-7; Deuteronomy 7:7-8). God is a good God who keeps His promises, even when His chosen people hurt His heart deeply with their disloyal actions.

      You say that you cannot concede that God would have Jesus die just to “forgive us for not measuring up to his bullshit Law.” Galatians 5:14 states, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” – just as Leviticus 19:18 states. Do you call “loving your neighbor” bullshit? Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself, which “is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33). God believes that it is extremely important that we love our fellow-man, but we often fail to do this. We lie to our friends and go back on our promises. We sometimes hate other people when we get angry, which Jesus says is like murdering them in our hearts (Matthew 5:21-22). Lusting at a woman in our hearts is like actually committing adultery with her (Matthew 5:27-28), since it is the motives that count in whatever is wrong or good.

      How bad do our bad deeds make us? Each of our wrong actions, such as cheating on a test or lying to a friend, act like speeding tickets – no matter how many times you’re a good driver, you still must pay the speeding ticket in order for justice to be upheld. Our good doesn’t negate our wrong. So how much debt in “tickets” have we collected through our bad deeds? The seriousness of our debt depends on how serious our crime is. And how serious our crime is depends on the worth and value of what we have committed the crime against.

      Let’s follow an analogy:
      1. How much is a weed worth? If you stomp on it and kill it, what has been done wrong? Nothing, because the weed has little or no value or worth.

      2. Now how much is a dog worth? If you killed a dog intentionally, you most likely will be fined and even imprisoned, and many people would be outraged. Why? Because a dog has more worth than a weed.

      3. Now how much is a person worth? If you intentionally killed a person, you may receive the highest punishment of civilization: death. Why? Because a human is worth much more than a dog.

      4. Now consider the worth of God. He is the very Creator of the universe and holds our breath in His hands. Surely His worth much exceeds the worth of any human being. For as Creator, He made all things of worth, so all worth comes from Him. And if all worth came from God, then God is of greatest worth and infinite value. How much is the payment of the “ticket” for committing a crime against an infinitely-worthy God? It is an infinite punishment. If we break any of His commandments – not to lie, steal, lust, murder, or worship other gods – we have transgressed God’s very character of holiness and justice.

      This is the essence of the problem – even though we deserve an infinite punishment, we are the guilty ones, and guilty people do not often want to admit that they are as guilty as they are. They make excuses of being innocent. All people are this way – both you and I. It’s part of our fallen nature. So we accuse God. But He is our rightful Judge.

      Sorry for the length, but I hope I addressed your points thoroughly. It is important to debate these issues, because a lot is at stake. Some like Ian say religion, like Christianity, is the problem of the world, but I see atheism as a bigger threat. Not that I think individual atheists like you and Ian are “badder” than the rest of us, but because the philosophy of atheism and evolutionism has no foundation for morality.

      You say that your grasp of morality shows you that you can’t give credit to God and Jesus – but it is God who gives you your view of morality, that bloodthirstiness is wrong. Where did you get the idea that killing people is wrong? Does evolution teach you that? No – evolution teaches “survival of the fittest.” If evolution is true, then murder is not wrong, only advantageous or disadvantageous. If evolution is true, then why not enslave a weaker people to benefit the strong group – why not enslave blacks to whites or vice versa? Can you fault the American South for what they did when they were trying to keep their economy afloat through slavery?

      If evolution is true, then racism should be the prime virtue of humanity – one race triumphing over another, just like one fit species surviving over another. Isn’t Hitler’s “master race” the ultimate show of “survival of the fittest”? Hitler had Jews killed because he thought them weak and inferior. He had disabled people killed, for the same reason. Triumphing over the weak and inferior is what evolution is about – the higher evolving of the species to promote the strong line. If you really believed evolution (which all atheists must believe if there is no God), then you would logically have to applaud Hitler, because he was just following what evolution teaches – that we should promote our race, species, group, etc., above others in the competition for survival.

      Why should we care about world peace? Evolution’s picture of the world is one of continual warring between species – with extinctions of the weaker ones and triumphing of the strong. Perhaps peace would allow the weak to live – not good in evolution’s eyes. Why should we care about endangered animal species? They must be weak anyway, since they are dying off! Let them die and have man take over their habitats! Why should we care about human rights – if a weaker group is getting stamped out by a stronger one, let it happen – it’s only the timeless course of evolution marching forward! Do you really know the consequences of your beliefs?

      Religion, especially Christianity, is often blamed for the problems of the world, but I’ve seen atheism do worse. I won’t try defending Islam’s atrocities, as I do not view that all religions are good or stand on the same plane of validity – but when one compares past Christian evils with the evils from atheism, there’s an interesting gap. The number killed by those claiming to be Christians (Crusades, Inquisition, witch burnings) is approximately 200,000, and these happened over several hundred years. World population has since risen by fivefold, so adjusting 200,000 to today’s population (for sake of comparison) would make it 1 million. In contrast, recent atheistic societies such as the Soviets, Nazis, and Chinese have killed a total of 100 million, and these killings were not spaced out over hundreds of years, but came in a few decades. 1 million is only 1% of 100 million, so if we’re going to make a big deal out of the religious evils, we should be appalled even more at the atheist evils.

      These atheistic societies took to heart the theme of survival of the fittest. They do not represent all atheists – but they represent what the philosophies of atheism and evolution can do when followed to their logical ends. Human rights are squashed under the boot of “species” dominance (whether that “species” is race or party line).

      Yet not only are human rights in danger, but so is human hope. Why do you think Europe is melting away from prominance after all these years being the continent that spread its ideas to all the world? Because as it rejected its Christian religion and thus its hope for an ultimate purpose – a significance to life that only God can give – Europe lost its spirit. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, but it’s happening. It has nothing to live for – why exert itself, when the universe is just going to die a heat-death anyway? That’s why Muslim immigrants are taking over Europe like never before – these people have a religion that empowers all their actions with significance and a hope for a future that goes on forever that they themselves can shape. Not so with atheism.

      I believe faith, especially the Christian faith, is a great force for good. It is not like evolution – Christianity teaches the dignity of man because he is made in the image of God. And to protect innocent life is worthy even to give one’s own life – the greatest love is to give your life for your friend, as Jesus said. Did you know that Great Britain nearly committed “nationcide” because it had to give up slavery and its economic benefits – all because fervent Christians argued solely on the basis that all men were created in God’s image? Slavery has been around for ages, but Christians were the first and only ones back in the olden days to bring objections to it and actually free people on the basis that they were intrinsically worthy, because they reflected God’s image.

      It is from God we gain our worth – if we deny God, we deny our very worth. It is like a gold-platted coin “denying” the lump from which he is made as real or valuable – and this coin wipes away all the gold from himself in an effort to be nothing like the gold lump. Then the coin wonders why he’s not considered valuable anymore! Let us not take away our value by denying God, and thus denying ourselves. Who can blame God to judge us when we take away what gives us value? Human rights, loving one’s neighbor selflessly, hope for the future, the end of racism – none of these things are supported by the logical foundations of atheism or even agnosticism – an agnostic surely can’t fervently fight for human rights, when he unknowingly may impede the progress of evolution! I do not see why you should be proud to be an atheist or agnostic, for that position denies everything you cherish and value.

      Yes, even viva la democracy – which the founding fathers of America said was based on God endowing us with equal rights. With atheism, there’s no equality, just species fighting for dominance. You love democracy because you still have the Christian worldview within your conscience and upbringing. Why should you be “ruthless with ideas but gentle with people,” as you put it? Evolution doesn’t teach gentleness – Christianity does. Nietzche was one of the most famous atheist German philosophers, and he repudiated Christianity’s compassion for the weak – he advocated a “superman” who could rise above ordinary morality. He died in 1900, and Hitler rose just 30 years later. Nietzche said that when God died, all societal morality would lose its basis, and that was a fearful day, when society realized it had no “morality” holding it back. I can see some of that already happening with abortion and school killings, which were unheard of 50 years ago – just when prayer was banned. You promote atheism in your blog and your words and your life, but what it brings isn’t something to look forward to. I argue against atheism and evolution and philosophies like them, partly because I’m fighting for the values both you and I cherish.

      I hope that you take these words to heart. I apologize for my long-windedness, but with important issues like this I don’t want to be brief and fail to explain things right. Thank you for reading this far.

      –Rowena

  7. Anonymous says:

    It is difficult to respond coherently to such a long post, Rowena. I think it is very impolite to post that way. Do you try to win arguments by overwhelming people with your verbosity alone? jk…I am a windbag myself so I would be a hypocrite to get on you too much.

    I will keep this somewhat brief, relatively speaking. Two points kind of jumped out at me and I will admit I start to tune out when they come up.
    They do not represent all atheists* this was a comment you made about Soviets and hardcore political constructs which you deem as atheist. Communist China could be included in there too, I suppose. The problems with these scenarios is not that the leadership was atheist, but that it too closely resembled religion. Everything a real atheist hates about Religion can be found in Soviet communism, Nazism and etc. The idea of an unquestionable supreme power, precepts which are beyond the purvew of debate or dissent…mass allegience and intimidation…these things are very religious. An atheist doesn’t care whether someone believes in a god so much as the methods one uses to propagate the said belief.
    I am insulted by the way, you propose Hitler was an atheist or at least strongly imply it. Hitler claimed to be a Catholic and invoked the name of God in hundreds of speeches and nearly all his writings. I would grant out of the goodness of my heart that Hitler was NOT a Christian and disqualified himself by his actions. But he wasn’t an atheist.
    Another thing you mentioned that is almost laughable to me is that you compare a Religious stance on morality to the failings of a relativistic, dog-eat-dog world of Social Darwinism. Atheists are not, or at least do not have to be, Social Darwinists.
    Evolution doesn’t teach gentleness**** this is another quote of yours. It’s true and also false, depending on how specifically one is to apply it. Evolution is not a codified religion or way of life for an atheist. Is this what your pastor teaches? I am so offended. This harkens to the classic “is/ought” tautology of which you are very guilty. I may claim that the world of nature is cold and dangerous but it doesn’t mean that I wish it to be so or that i am glad it is so.
    Science allows people to really live gentle lives enriched by arts and humanity. If not, get off your computer and move to Chad Africa and eat beetles. Try not to get kidnapped and raped by a couple of fourteen year old boys sporting AK-47s. Or try Mauritania…these are places where God is. In places where SCIENCE is, we have hospitals, schools, vaccinations, meds, and a better life. In America, a homeless woman can come into the hospital and have a baby and stay for days receiving top notch care even though the hospital administration knows it will never see a dime for the trouble.
    Christianity teaches gentility but how well does it do so? For the time of the Crusades? For the 8 centuries of the Inquisition? So easy to write them off, huh, Rowena?

    That brings me to my final point before I find some Aspirin. Your idea of the Israelli genocide of the Perrezzites and etc. is terribly flawed and you are asking the WRONG questions. The question is NOT “does God, presuming he exists, have the right to exterminate people?” I would grant you if he did exist, I will play along and say yes. If these people groups were struck by lightning or meteors, one could say that God took out the trash. But the truth is, the Bible records HUMANS rampaging through the villages offing people with swords and spears and taking their young virgin daughters. It’s sick and demented. It’s ethnic cleansing. You are a presuppositionalist Rowena, hun. You are ASSUMING God exists, ASSUMING that if he did he is moral, assuming that he is always moral, assuming that because of those assumptions the killing of these people was justified. You are assuming that the stories of their demise are recorded accurately. You are assuming that Joshua ACTUALLY received the message FROM GOD tto slaughter these people. THe history we have of the people killed there may suggest they were evil, but how evil were they? Did they mutilate the genitals of every baby boy on the eighth day? Did they stone that same child for disrespect in his childhood? In that day, 12 years old meant you were a man, so if a CHILD were to be beaten with a rod or stoned to death, we are dealing with elementary age kids. Pathetic, Rowena! Open your eyes. SO all you have for me is a gazillion word long rant about why atheism probably led Hitler and Stalin to do their atrocities and that the world is better off for the death of infidels. . . you sound like you would be a hell of a Muslim. In the middle east today there are a lot of people who think AMericans should be laid to waste for our sins and would approve of our death by nuclear bombs.

    By the way all of the abortion stuff falls on deaf ears since I am actually Pro Life and anti-abortion. So yeah, I hold to what I said. The Bible is mostly bullshit and Yahweh is a moral monster, if he ever existed he is certainly a bad god and there must be a better one. Start looking for that one since you cannot imagine being an atheist–yet.

    Lastly, this comment —– If you really believed evolution (which all atheists must believe if there is no God), then you would logically have to applaud Hitler, because he was just following what evolution teaches – that we should promote our race, species, group, etc., above others in the competition for survival.

    this is just hurtful and stupid. Following what Evolution TEACHES? So if a branch falls off a tree and lands on someone’s head I should go club someone? Evolution is about observations! We observe something that seems feasible based on our best science available and go from there looking for more information. The strong species DO survive. Think of this…millions of sperm die during intercourse and only one makes it to its destination. Lots of pregnancies have competing fetuses during the first 12 weeks that duke it out and try to kill each other and one dies. . .this doesnt sound like God knitting someone together in the womb to me. Life is very dog-eat-dog but we do have choice in how we can live our lives and evolution does explain why we are kind and gentle to each other—because once we have secured survival we set our energies to something better than just staying alive. Science has given our ancestors tools, fire, a knowledge of simple physics to build a home, and trial and error and common sense have endowed us wisdom with which to protect our youngest and most vulnerable citezens. On my final note, I would add that if you would just read some good books you would come to these conclusions yourself. I hope I am not writing to a teenager though, because, Jesus!!! Some of your arguments are so lame only a thirteen year old would put any stock in them.

    • Rowena says:

      Hi Tim Short,

      Hey, it’s nice to know you’re a fellow prolifer – at least we have that in common :) Sorry for the long post; it is a bad habit of mine, since I usually try responding to everything. I wish I can make this post shorter, but in writing it I had to address your points thoroughly and with facts, so it is again very long, so I apologize for that. I do not mean to drown you with words, but I cannot answer your objections any other way, if I am truly to answer them properly. So please bear with me.

      You say that the problem with regimes like Communism is not that they were atheist, but exhibited characteristics of religion, such as “the idea of an unquestionable supreme power, precepts which are beyond the purvew of debate or dissent…mass allegience and intimidation.” I do not think that these characteristics can be stereotyped as coming from religion. Some religions do not believe in a Supreme Power, such as Buddhism. And all religion doesn’t discourage reasonable discussion – Medieval Muslim and Catholic scholars used logic in their studies and developed different schools of thought, and the university itself, the fountainhead of learning, was invented by Medieval Catholics. So our institutions of learning and debate came from religious roots. The Bible even says that we should argue our case using reason:

      “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18).

      “And he [Apostle Paul] went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8).

      “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always [be] ready to [give] a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

      I do agree that religion can make world conflicts worse in the sense that religion teaches “transcendent” values – it makes events have cosmic significance in a good-and-bad struggle. But any worldview or belief that is held strongly can be used in this way.

      You say that an atheist doesn’t care if someone believes in God so long as that person doesn’t use bad methods to convert others to that belief. But you are making your own definition of atheism. An atheist is someone who does not believe God exists – the Communists fit this category, and they put into action their beliefs. Stalin and Mao killed pastors and other clerics and persecuted those believing in religion because they believed religion to be dangerous and not worthy of the higher society they were bringing in. Atheism and evolution were important in their motives, because these beliefs led them to believe that they had no higher power to answer to and that they could “evolve” a higher society. Atheism is central to the Communist and Marxist ideologies of Soviet Russia, China, and other nations – this is why they murdered religious believers and destroyed their churches. You cannot blame religion for crimes that were perpetuated against religion.

      And Hitler and the Nazis had a secular, anti-religious, atheistic belief system. His public statements about God can’t be trusted, since “Hitler himself says in Mien Kampf that his public statements should be understood as propaganda that bear no relation to the truth but are designed to sway the masses” (1). Rather, one of Hitler’s aids recorded Hitler’s real views in private writings, which showed Hitler as very anti-religious, calling Christianity a scourge in history and saying, “through the peasantry we shall be able to destroy Christianity” (Hitler’s Table Talk). Hitler hated the compassion of Christianity, had atheists like Himmler as his leading advisers, and used Nazism to persecute Christian churches and believers all over Germany and even make German children pray to the Fuhrer instead of God (1). If Hitler had children praying to himself instead of God, I do not think we can call Hitler anything but an atheist or at least agnostic.

      You say an atheist does not have to be a Social Darwinist. I agree that an atheist can choose not to be one, but the philosophy of atheism gives the grounds to Social Darwinism. There is nothing in atheism that can tell me what Hitler did was wrong. In fact, Hitler and Himmler were admirers of Darwin and they thought they were eliminating the unfit just as evolution says how life evolves (1).

      You equate evolution with science, but this is not so – the two are not the same. Evolution is at best a hypothesis whose main events cannot be witnessed in a laboratory; no one can make a scientific experiment were a very different kind of animal evolves into another kind, since evolution requires fantastically long periods of time that preclude any direct scientific observation. There is in fact much evidence against evolution. I’ll mention one about mutations and natural selection:

      To work for evolution, mutations must add new information to the gene pool that natural selection can work with. Yet mutations are “mistakes” in the genetic code; they frequently lose information that the genetic code once had. This loss of information cannot be the mechanism for cell-to-man evolution, which requires new information not previously in the genetic code. Even the common example of modern evolution, bacterial resistance, often relies on mutations that lose information, such as the disabling of a certain gene. This loss of information can never be used for the rise in complexity required in major evolutionary change. To say that mutations, which are mostly harmful, are the key to evolving more complexity is like saying that by going 99 miles south, then 1 mile north, then 99 miles south, then 1 mile north, etc., that eventually you will arrive at north before south. A species will die out from mutations before it will ever evolve higher complexity.

      Because natural selection must work within an organism’s genetic code, it is limited in its abilities. The limits of natural selection are shown in artificial breeding. Repeatedly in the search for better egg production, milk production, etc., breeders have eventually slammed into walls from where no more change could be mustered (Evolution: Fossils Say No, p. 33). Whether natural or artificial, small changes can’t lead to cell-to-man evolution. Even worse, species adaption can reduce genetic information from its formerly wide variation, which then reduces the ability of the species to survive in varied environments (Refuting Evolution, pp. 35-36). As an example, the survival of a long-haired type of dog, having lost its genes for short hair in the process of adapting to a cold climate, may then be reduced if the climate warmed (Ibid., pp. 34-36). Thus, neither natural selection nor mutation can lead to upward evolving. There is much more scientific evidence against evolution, but my post is already too long to go into them for now.

      Not only does science not support evolution, but the modern scientific movement was begun by Christians. You point out how we have medical facilities here in America that other nations do not have, and you thank science for it. But science only flourished in America and Europe because it was begun by Christians who believed in a God with reason and infinite wisdom Who desired man to learn His ways; thus, they reasoned, God’s natural world must be reasonable, with cause and effect, and be discoverable by man to learn about God. Famous scientists like Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton (who wrote much about the Bible) believed in the Creator and that they were giving glory to God by studying His creation; thus, their science resulted from their faith. Hospitals, by the way, almost always have “St.” in their names, showing that Christianity again is the cause of this kindness along with science.

      Now about the crimes of religion, especially Christianity. You mention the Crusades and the Inquisition, and I admit that atrocities happened here. But the modern era has greatly exaggerated them. Long before the Crusades, the Middle East was Christian as a result of the missionary efforts of the disciples. Then Muslims conquered these lands systematically and were trying to conquer Europe. If Europe didn’t do something, it would be taken over and today we might be reading the Koran as part of our heritage. But the Europeans decided to fight back through the Crusades. Atrocities then happened on both sides, which was really unfortunate since Jesus said to love your enemies and do good to those who are against you. Any atrocity done during the Crusades was in violation of what Christianity is about.

      The Inquisition was another example of not following Jesus’ teachings, but it wasn’t as bad as it is sometimes made out to be. “Contemporary historians have now established that the horrific images of the Inquisition are largely a myth concocted first by the political enemies of Spain” (1). Often the penalty given was penance, fasting, or “community service” – executions for heresy amounts to about 2,000 deaths during a span of 350 years (1) – way less than the millions murdered in the few decades of modern atheistic regimes. This smaller number doesn’t excuse the Inquisitors, but it certainly doesn’t make religion worse than atheism. Besides, I believe that Christianity during the Middle Ages was tainted by false doctrines such as massive allegorizing of the Bible and other things, so this portrait isn’t really mentioning true Christianity. Yet even the Bible says that Christians still have an evil nature warring with the God-given nature, so the Bible predicts that Christians will still do bad things.

      And about Israelites killing the Canaanites, God commanded the Israelites to perform His judgment on these people. So the argument that God can kill still stands, since God was giving His permission in this act. This is like an executioner receiving permission from the state to kill a criminal. Don’t forget that the Canaanites were an evil people that killed their children in sacrifice to their gods – these people deserved judgment. “Just as the wise surgeon removes dangerous cancer from his patient’s body by use of the scalpel, so God employed the Israelites to remove such dangerous malignancies from human society” (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 121). Actually, the main thrust of God’s command to the Israelites was to drive this people out of the promised land; it wasn’t totally focused on killing them. If these wicked Canaanites just fled before the Israelites, then none of them had to be killed. (“Subject: Divine Command Morality and Voluntarism” reasonablefaith.org)

      You seem to say that we do not quite know how evil the Canaanites were, or if their evil is worse than the Israelite evil of circumcising baby boys. First of all, I already gave archeological evidence that the Canaanites burned their children to their idols – we know they were child-murderers. Do you equate as equally evil the burning alive of children to circumcision? My father is circumcised, but he’s well and alive today and is totally not psychologically affected by it in anyway – and millions today are like him. Circumcision may cause a small amount of pain for a short time, but so does ear-piercing – and circumcision in Israel’s day was done in obedience to God, not just for mere beautification as ear-piercing is. I’ve even seen some young toddlers with ear-piercing, so would you argue that this too is child abuse? Circumcision was not done for perverted sexual highs by the adult, but was commanded by God for the Israelites as one of the markers to separate them as a unique people who were not to take part in the evil practices of societies around them.

      You mention that the Israelites took young virgins and ethnically-cleansed out people, but these allegations have serious errors. I assume that when you refer to the Israelites taking virgins as spoil that you are talking about the Numbers 31 passage of the Israelites killing the Midianites and sparing “all the girls who have not known man intimately” (Numbers 31:18). Atheists accuse the Israelites of sex-slaving and ethnic-cleansing in this act against the Midianites, but these accusations do not hold up when the passage, circumstances, and culture are inspected, as was carefully done by Glenn Miller (http://www.christianthinktank.com/midian.html):

      Ancient middle eastern women often got married immediately once they reached puberty at about 12 years of age, so the virgins spared had to be mere children. Since childhood mortality was high, most of the young girls spared would have been around 5 years old, not the age of sex slaves. And even if they were older, modern scholars say there’s little evidence that ancient middle eastern cultures used captives for sex, unlike Greek and Roman cultures. Rather, these young girls were spared because they did not engage in the specific evil that their parents had committed – and the Midianite crime was horrific, as mentioned in Numbers 25.

      Let me explain the true nature of their crime (check out Miller’s article above for best details and Numbers 25). First of all, not all Midianites were against Israel – the Midianites near Egypt had helped Moses. But the Midianites up north were nomadic raiders and slave-traders who were hostile to Israel. They and their allies the Moabites were under no threat from Israel as Israel left Egypt – God even told Israel not to attack the Moabites as Israel travelled to the promised land (Deuteronomy 2:9). But the Moabite and Midianite leaders were paranoid about Israel’s strength and asked the prophet Balaam to curse Israel in God’s name.

      But God (Yahweh) prevented Balaam from cursing Israel, making it impossible for the Midianites and Moabites to militarily overpower Israel, since Israel had God on their side. So the Midianites and Moabites hatched a different plan: Rather than try to get God to curse Israel, they would get Israel to forsake God, their only Protector. They would seduce Israel. Thus, Israel would be weakened for military conquest.

      Balaam suggested to the Midianite and Moabite women to seduce the Israelite men. Coming in caravans to Beth Peor sanctioned by their governments (since the Israelites were camped out in the wilderness), literally thousands of these women seduced many Israelite men to leave their own wives and commit adultery with them and engage in the orgy-rituals of their fertility gods. How do we know that 1000s of women did this? Because God struck 24,000 Israelites dead with a plague because of what they did (Numbers 25:9). Thus, thousands of Israelites must have committed adultery with several thousand foreign, seducing women.

      This crime was of huge, horrific proportions. This was not normal war – the Midianites and Moabites were engaging in sexual war and deception. These women were ruining the health of their own families by going to seduce the Israelites – and for what? To ruin another nation’s marriages and families and kill them – even though God had instructed the Israelites not to touch the Moabites or their land, and the Israelites had even travelled past these lands already. What these women did was inexcusable and evil, and they were sanctioned and even transported by their governments in this covert action, so this whole group of Midianites were guilty (remember, the southern Midianites are not part of this, but are friendly toward Israel). God was in full justification to render judgment on these people.

      So God instructed 12,000 Israelites to war with the Midianites. Miller states, “Only 12,000 Israelite men go into the battle. That would imply that the Midianite force would have been estimated in the 8,000-15,000 person range. This, of course, means that we are not dealing with all of the Midianites, but only just this small tribal sub-group (i.e., its not a genocide thing).”

      Since the southern Midianites were Israel’s friends and the Israelites were only warring against this 8,000-15,000 Midianite force, the goal of Israel is not to “ethnically cleanse” people groups, but to execute justice upon a Midianite subgroup that used mass sex as a deceptive weapon against Israel. In no way can Midianite actions be justified, but the Israelite actions of warring with them are fully justified in light of the deceptive attacks of these people. The young Midianite girls were specifically spared, however, since virgins obviously did not participate in sexually seducing the Israelites. And the charge of ethnic cleansing further can’t be put upon Israel, since Israel was the first to suffer judgment for this evil when 24,000 of their own men died in the plague in Numbers 25 for committing adultery and undermining the protection of the nation and their own families. Thus, both Israelites and Midianites were rightly judged – this was not ethnic cleansing nor sex-slaving.

      You also mention the Israelite law to stone a “child for disrespect in his childhood.” You take this to be a pathetic thing to defend as right, but let’s take a look at who the text says are the offenders:

      “A stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them” (Deuteronomy 21:18).

      “He is a glutton and a drunkard” (Deuteronomy 21:20).

      This is not just one-time-only disobedience – this is willful and continual rebellion against the authority of parents where the son does not even listen to authority and is a gluttonous drunkard. Gluttony and drunkenness were those days’ equivalence to today’s drugs – these sons were real troublemakers for the community and family and if allowed to live, would undermine the very foundations of society. Remember, ancient nations did not have the modern-day “convenience” of prisons to house thousands of unwanted criminals – the family unit was the authority unit in this way of life. To disregard this authority would spell disaster for the society, and so this strict law was given to greatly discourage rampant rebellion – it acted like a warning just like the very tough laws in Singapore make stealing almost unheard-of. Also, God had chosen Israel to be the line for the Messiah, the Savior of the world, so rampant rebellion in society would threaten the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Messiah.

      The overall strictness of Israelite law was put in place partly to show man the very seriousness of sin, which God said in Genesis had to be paid with the shedding of blood of the guilty party. The New Testament reveals that this Mosaic Law was put in place to show the futility of man trying to appear good or to earn his salvation – rather, all were guilty and deserving judgment. Then the New Testament revealed that this Mosaic Law no longer applies to the believer in Jesus Christ – because Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law and now we are living in the age of grace (Romans). Thus, I am not at all like a Muslim, since the further revelation of God tells me that the Mosaic law no longer applies, but we are under grace. We are to pray for our enemies and do good to those who harm us, just as Jesus showed and taught.

      There are further major differences between Muslims and Christians. Radical Muslims teach that Allah commands that all infidels be either killed or converted or subjugated throughout the world. Contrast this to the Old Testament God Yahweh, Who told Israel to bypass pagan nations not related to the Promised Land, and, when the Israelites came to the Promised Land, they were to kill the wicked inhabitants for the purpose of driving them out, not to hunt them down across the face of the earth. God in the Bible never told His followers to go across the whole earth killing infidels – the judgments of the Old Testament on certain peoples are limited to the Promised Land and to the Israelites’ very survival as a nation.

      God in the Old Testament even said, “‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live’” (Ezekial 33:11). God judges people because He must uphold justice, not because He is evil and sadistic.

      The Bible even tells believers today that we do not war against evil through physical weapons, but through spiritual weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). A radical Muslim uses physical weapons, but we Christians are admonished to fight using spiritual weapons.

      You call me a “presuppositionalist,” since you claim that I am only assuming that God exists, that He is moral, that He told the Israelites to do these things, that these events are recorded accurately, etc. I know that in my former post, I did not try to prove these things, but that was only because I already knew my post was GIGANTIC and I decided not to go into a lengthy discussion on evidences. Actually, I take evidence to be extremely important – I do not want to rely on assumption. Since you say that I do not give evidence for my beliefs, then here I will provide a sample of evidences, even though I know that this post is already very long.

      The God of the Bible has scientific and historical evidence that much surpasses those of other gods or worldviews, so I cannot just go find “another” god to believe in, because the God of the Bible provides compelling evidence in His favor. I will mention only two in brief, fulfilled prophecy and Jesus’ resurrection.

      For the sake of space, I will mention only a single prophecy out of the many that have been fulfilled. It is very precise and so is extremely unlikely to have been fulfilled by mere chance. This one predicted that the Messiah would come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (and it also predicted the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem):

      “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks . . . Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:25-26).

      Note: The Jewish word here translated “week” means 7, like the English word dozen means 12. Here 1 week represents 7 years.

      ”Messianic Prophecies” (ChristianAnswers.net) explains this stunning prophecy: “The precise timing of Jesus’ crucifixion was also given to the Jews when God revealed to the prophet Daniel (9:24) how the Jews could calculate the day of the revealing of the Messiah. Talking of a 490 year period, the prophet foresaw that it would begin “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” (9:25). In the book of Nehemiah we learn that this command was given “in the month Nisan [on the Hebrew calendar], in the twentieth year of the king” (2:1). The king was Artaxerxes Longimanus who ruled from 465 to 425 B.C. The prophet Daniel said that 483 years from that date, the Messiah would be revealed to Israel, but He would then “be cut off, but not for himself” (9:26). This prophecy refers to the crucifixion when Jesus died, or was cut off, for the sins of the world.

      “483 years later, to the day, was Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D. On that day, which we commemorate as Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and revealed Himself as Israel’s Messiah. He was killed four days later, thus fulfilling the prophecy that He would be revealed and then slain. [Peter and Paul LaLonde, 301 Startling Proofs & Prophecies (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Prophecy Partners, Inc., 1996).]”

      Not only was the exact timing of Jesus revealment as Messiah foretold, but Jesus validated His claims through a historically-verifiable event, the resurrection. Many skeptics have tried to disprove it but became believers, such as journalist Lee Strobel and former Harvard law professor Dr. Simon Greenleaf. They couldn’t explain Jesus’ empty tomb and His followers’ claims of seeing Him alive after His death. That His tomb was empty is even admitted by Jesus’ enemies, the religious authorities and the Romans. For two centuries afterwards, even the Jewish authorities admitted the tomb was empty, trying to explain that the disciples stole the guard-watched body of Jesus. Yet this explanation is so weak that many modern skeptics have stopped using it, for reasons explained below.

      Jesus’ disciples were very fearful and not expecting His resurrection. Yet once they saw Jesus alive many times, they were transformed into fearless preachers and died for their conviction in His resurrection. Even Paul, chief persecutor of early Christians, believed in and died for Jesus after seeing Him alive after His death. If they were lying, why would they suffer persecution and die for this lie? Not even Muslim terrorists knowingly die for lies – they sincerely believe that their beliefs are true! And since the disciples died claiming that they had seen Jesus alive, they must have been honestly sincere. The most reasonable explanation is that they preached what they knew was true – that God resurrected Jesus.

      If Jesus resurrected from the dead and fulfilled prophecies written hundreds of years earlier, then He must have spoke the truth. And He claimed to be God and the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament had talked about. Jesus presupposes that the Old Testament is all from God – thus, because I know form compelling evidence that Jesus is truly God, then I can know that the whole Bible in its original form was inspired by God as His Words, accurately conveying events and truths. Archaeological discoveries have further corroborated much of the events and peoples in the Old and New Testaments, unlike works such as the Book of Mormon, so I have further evidence of that I can trust the God of the Bible. I cannot just wish these evidences away.

      Furthermore, because Jesus is God, and because He suffered and died for my sin and the sin of the world on the cross, I can know that God cannot be evil, for an evil being would never sacrifice himself for anyone. Why would God, if He is evil, humiliate Himself by becoming a weak man who dies a criminal’s death? God lived a life of poverty in Israel, was shunned by many, and was spit upon by Roman soldiers and was subjected to the worst tortures in the most public of executions – would a wicked, immoral God let that happen to Him, just because He loves fallen mankind? Mankind is even the enemy of God, spiting on His name and making fun of Him – yet He died for this most ungrateful species in the universe! That absolutely amazes and awes me to no end – it brings me to worship and reverence, because I cannot imagine a greater, more everlasting love than God’s love for His enemies, which includes me. I am very grateful that He didn’t judge me as I deserved, but He showed me mercy.

      And because He has showed me this immense, unfathomable love, I will trust and believe Him and give Him the benefit of the doubt even when I do not yet understand all His ways. Often when I do not understand one of His ways, I search His Scriptures or the thoughts of other believers on the matter, and I often find the answer to my troubling question! Such was the case with your charges of ethnic-cleansing and virgin-taking – I looked up these issues more closely and found them groundless when the issues are examined. I am sorry I wrote so long on these matters, but there just was no other way if I was to properly answer your points. I cannot conclude that God is evil when He sacrificed His life for me, and I cannot say He does not exist when fulfilled prophecy, Jesus’ resurrection, and many other evidences clearly point to His existence and His involvement with man.

      1. What’s So Great About Christianity, Dinesh D’Souza, p. 217-219, 206-7.

  8. Anonymous says:

    the above reply from anonymous is from Tim Short and was written at one AM. Computer difficulties have made it impossible to log in correctly. The sentiment was not intended to be submitted anonymously. I would welcome anyone to discuss these questions with me but please be respectful and not post ridiculously long submissions.

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