Is the Genocide in the Bible Justified?

I recently received this response to my article Why I Quit Christianity published a few years ago (August 8, 2011). The writer identified himself as Timothy.

Richard,

I really appreciate your open heart on the subject of Christianity. What exactly does that mean? Christianity was identified as the culprit during the dark ages of Catholicism trying to stamp out Protestants who opposed the “True” Church with valid arguments against her (aren’t you glad you don’t live in that era). Personally I didn’t see that as “Christian.” Your arguments against the God you understand presented in the Bible have fallacies to them. The passage you have quoted attributing God to killing the men, women, and children, and requiring His chosen people to do this immoral dastardly deed, is taking it completely out of context. These same people in the promised land were given warnings prior to that time to change their ways. Their lives were totally all about satisfying their flesh, which took on all forms such as listed in the book of Galatians in the passage of the “works of the flesh.” The Amalekites and all the other “ties” are examples to us of the flesh, and is why Paul wrote that the flesh has to die (all of it) in order for the Spirit to live. It is a brutal thing, but necessary.

Hey there Timothy,

Yes, I am very glad I don’t live in an era when Religion rules and people like me could be freely killed for the “crime” of speaking freely. But your distinction between Catholics and Protestants is fallacious because both are known to have killed people deemed heretics. Take a look at this page entitled Protestants Have Killed Many More Catholics!. You slay yourself with the sword you raise against your religious adversaries.

It’s quite ironic that you opened your defence of Biblical genocide with reference to the endless war between two of the primary sects that claim allegiance to the “Prince of Peace.” How is that different from Christians who deride Islam’s claim to be a “religion of peace” by pointing out the violence it spawns? I see no difference between any of the religions in this regard.

Your assertion that the violent slaughter of every man, woman and child was “necessary” is not true. An almighty omniscient God had many other choices. There was no need for him to command his “holy” people to become baby-killers. If he wanted the Canaanites out of the land, he could have given them a plague or just “shut up their wombs” (Genesis 20:18) or opened their minds to understand the truth or any one of ten thousand other possibilities. But no, he chose the path of violence, Violence, and more VIOLENCE. Why is the God of the Bible so enamored by violence? The Bible is blood-soaked with divine violence from beginning to end.

Your assertion that “context” explains the immorality and brutality attributed to God is not true. It doesn’t even make sense from a Biblical, let alone a moral, perspective. The children were innocent. Why were they slaughtered? And before you attempt to answer, you must ensure that your answer coheres with the opposite situation when 32,000 sexy virgins were spared from the genocide of the Midianites and distributed to the very soldiers who had just slaughtered every person they ever loved (Numbers 31). And on it goes … it is impossible to rationally defend the morality of God as presented in Scripture. Any attempt involves gross absurdities. Case in point: William Lane Craig, one of the most prominent living apologists, defended the slaughter of innocent children by saying that God did them no wrong because they all went to heaven, so that “their destruction was actually their salvation!” How he failed to see that he simultaneously justified abortion is beyond me. This is the kind of insanity that descends upon a mind devoted to defending the absurd. Another enlightening example is seen in this debate between atheist Hector Avalos and evangelist Keith Darrell. Only the atheist could assert that genocide was immoral. The Christian could not, because he knew that God had commanded it.

It seems to me that allegiance to the Bible as “God’s Word” tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers because their doctrine forces them to deny reality and defend immorality. I have discussed this at length in my article The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem.

Your comment continued:

I think some have confused Christianity with religion, and it is easy to do. I believe that religion is man’s approach to God, and Christianity is God’s approach to man. This is seen in God’s instruction to Moses in building the tabernacle. God first told Moses about the Holy of Holies (the last place the priest would visit), than outward to the gate (the first place visited) Naturally, man would come to God through the gate, then advancing forward, but from God’s perspective, he started with where God dwelt. I relate to you when you point out those that have insisted on certainties that were not found certain. Those that have spoken in the name of Christ, and have been found unreliable. The scripture that says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” the word, truth IS intellectual in the original greek, not spiritual. God gave us a mind and brain to use, and He is pleased when we use it. Keep using yours, it is too precious to waste. I was once in a church that claimed to be christian, but was more cultish (not cult) in behavior. People didn’t think for themselves, when I finally left after 26 years of bondage to it, I felt real freedom. One difference between us, and I am sure there are more than one, is I didn’t leave Christianity, just this local church assembly.

Thank you for your time,

Timothy

I glad you appreciate the use of the mind. I certainly will continue using mine. And on that note, I must say that I don’t find the idea that “Christianity is God’s approach to man” makes any sense. If that were true, then why does the Bible have all the earmarks of being a human product? Why does it endorse sexism, slavery, genocide, superstition, pagan mythology, and false science? Take a look at my discussion of the problem of sexism in my article The Inextricable Sexism of the Bible. The simple truth is that human morality has evolved a lot since the Bible was written, so much so that now its primitive morality offends the modern reader. This is precisely the opposite of what we would expect if the Bible really were authored by an eternal omniscient God.

PS By the way I am one of those “answered” prayers you asked about. I was prayed for after I had been in a horrible car accident when I was 7 years old. I lived through it after months in a hospital, and a year at home with therapy. My parents were told I would not live, then I would not walk, then I would not walk without an aid. My parents prayed, and I am walking today, without any aids of any kind. I am 56 years old and have been through a lot of experiences, all of which I have to say that there indeed is a God that still answers prayers.

I don’t think you understand my problem with prayer. You don’t know why you got better. If you had been a Muslim you would have attributed your healing to Allah. If a Catholic, perhaps you would have attributed it to Mary or some saint. If a Hindu, you would have attributed it to Ganesh or whatever God you prefered.

The problem with prayer is that it reveals that God cannot be trusted. For each person with a testimony like yours, there are ten thousand who died miserable deaths from simple diseases that we humans can now heal, all the while pleading for God’s mercy. Everyone knows that God cannot actually be TRUSTED by anyone for anything in this life. Parents who trust God for the health of their children end up with dead children and manslaughter convictions. If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist, there would be no debate about his existence. It is simply absurd to say that “God is trustworthy” and so the foundation of Christianity is revealed to be a falsehood. Here is an excellent video that should help you understand.

I would be delighted to discuss this further with you (or anyone) so inclined.

Richard

Posted in Biblical Issues | Tagged , | 13 Responses

If I am an atheist, why have I left the Bible Wheel site up?

After leaving a comment on Sean Carroll’s blog relating to the debate he had yesterday with William Lane Craig, I received this comment in the thread under my article Why I Quit Christianity:

Hey Richard,

I found this website through your comments on Sean Carroll’s blog. After learning about The Bible Wheel (TBW), I must say that I am fascinated! What an interesting concept!

What I am really curious about, however, is this: why leave TBW website up? Are you happy knowing that Christians can still use it to defend their faith? Or, do you have a hard time pulling it down because you spent countless hours on it? Maybe you leave it up in hopes that people will find “version 3.0″ and leave the faith like you did? I am guessing reason #3 as you clearly go to great lengths to address all of the Christian comments that are clearly aimed at re-saving your soul. Maybe you are hoping to further introduce doubt?

Am I way off? Is there another reason?

Thanks,

Mike S.

Those are good guesses but yes, there are other reasons. The main reason is because it is a rare and highly detailed record of the process of deconversion. I began this site in 2001 when I was a fully convinced believer who described himself as a “a non-denominational blood-bought Bible-believing Trinitarian Christian” (see my old FAQ). My transformation, which was a slow process that spanned a few years, is recorded in thousands of articles and posts here on my site, blog, and forum (which began in 2007 and now has about 56,000 posts). It is a very rich resource for personal insight as well as the psychology of belief. I am particularly interested in the role cognitive biases play in the maintenance of unjustifiable beliefs. This has been the focus of many of my recent articles, see particularly The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem. Consistency is key to avoiding cognitive bias, so I try to apply the same standards to myself as those I criticize in my articles. Was I simply deluded as so many Christian apologists seem to be? This site provides a lot of raw data to help answer that question. I may, of course, find myself hung by my own petard. If so, so be it!

This leads to my second reason: the Bible Wheel remains a mystery. Most if not all of the evidence I collected over the span of fifteen years remains valid as far as I can tell. The only thing that has changed is my interpretation of it. When I review my old arguments they seem to be based on objective evidence and good logic. So I am mystified. I totally reject any interpretation of the Bible that attempts to justify the abominable and irrational behavior of Yahweh and I cannot believe that he is the “true God,” yet I cannot reject the evidence that there is some sort of “design” in the Bible that was not put there intentionally by the folks who put it together. So it demands an explanation. I have explored an evolutionary explanation based on a scribal selection process (which could have involved both conscious and unconscious elements) but I am not really satisfied with that solution. It seems promising because the Bible Wheel is not nearly as good as it could have been if it were designed out of whole cloth by an intelligent agent, yet it does appear to be optimal given the sixty-six books. This is similar to the kind of “design” we see in biological organisms that evolved but I don’t think it can account for all the evidence.

Another reason I leave it up is because I do a lot of online debating and it provides good evidence that I really was a Christian and I reference much of what I wrote when defending my reasons for rejecting the faith.

And another reason to leave it up is because it is a part of the “global mind.” It’s been thoroughly indexed by Google and so the information will remain in the public sphere no matter what I do. By keeping it up, I have a better chance of informing people of where I now stand, and why.

Finally, you asked “Are you happy knowing that Christians can still use it to defend their faith?” My answer is no, I am not happy about it but neither does it concern me. My book was based on logic and facts and I wrote it in the integrity of my heart and mind. If it catches on amongst Christians it may influence them to think in terms of integrity, evidence, logic, and facts and that is never a bad thing. So if it has any influence amongst believers, perhaps it will function as a logical “Trojan Horse,” causing them to accidentally think before they realize the danger that poses to their unjustified beliefs. There is no way to know the ultimate effects our intentions; the best can lead to horrible results, and vice-versa. And besides, there is nothing I can do about it anyway since the information is already out there. So the best thing to do is to accept who I was and roll with who I am in the integrity of my heart and mind. That’s what makes me happy.

 

Posted in Christianity, Losing My Religion | 49 Responses

Morality is Objective, like a Pair of Scales: Another Fatal Flaw in Dr. Craig’s Moral Argument for God

There is a pervasive confusion about the meaning of morality shared by believers and skeptics alike. Theists typically assert that nothing could be “really” right or wrong without an authority – a God – to define it as such. Atheists often accept this premise and so conclude there is no objective morality. Meanwhile, neither side has said a single word about what morality actually entails. They don’t seem to notice that morality is based fundamentally on concepts like fairness, equity, and justice which are objectively defined and measurable properties.

Lady Justice

Lady Justice

What determines if something is just or unjust? The answer flows immediately from the definition of the word. Here are some representative samples from various dictionaries on the net:

JUST (adj)

  1. Guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness
  2. Done or made according to principle; equitable
  3. Conforming to high moral standards; honest
  4. Having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason
  5. Fair or impartial in action or judgment

Justice is grounded in reason, rationality, truth, and fairness. For a judgment to be just it must correspond to reality which is why it is objective (as opposed to subjective). Justice, fairness, and equality all lie at the root of our moral intuitions. Indeed, the word iniquity is based on the Latin root iniquitas which literally denotes unequalnessunevennessinjustice. Something is just and moral if it is equitable, fair, reasonable, impartial. It is an objective property no different than the objective fact that two authentic coins of the same denomination have the same weight. That is why Lady Justice, an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems, is pictured with a scale. Nothing is more objective than a scale. She wears a blindfold because justice must be impartial and objective, which means she ignores any factors not specifically relevant to the thing being judged (weighed, in the metaphor of the scales).

Morality is grounded in rationality and so is, by its very nature, objective. It is taught to children throughout the world in some form of the Golden Rule which tells us how to tap into our moral intuitions by putting ourselves in the place of the other. This helps us be impartial and fair and promotes mercy, compassion, kindness, and empathy. The Golden Rule stands “in light of its own reason” as explained by Professor R. M. MacIver in his article The Deep Beauty of the Golden Rule (provided online by Google Books):

Do to others as you would have others do to you. This is the only rule that stands by itself in the light of its own reason, the only rule that can stand by itself in the naked, warring universe, in the face of the contending values of men and groups.

Rationality and the Golden Rule are the foundation of morality as explained in my articles The Golden Rule and the Foundation of Objective Morality and The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality. See also my wife’s article, Justice: The Root of Morality, on her blog GodAndButterfly.net.

The Moral Argument for the Existence of God

On page 172 of his book Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics Dr. William Lane Craig stated his Moral Argument for God as follows:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

His argument is immediately susceptible to Euthyphro’s dilemma: Is something morally good because God says so, or does God say so because it is morally good? The first possibility implies morality is arbitrary, while the second implies it is objectively true independent of God. Either horn of this dilemma destroys Craig’s moral argument so he needed to find a third option which he developed in his article Euthyphro Dilemma Once More where he splits the horns by asserting that “God’s moral nature is the paradigm of goodness; what is good or bad is determined by conformity or lack thereof to His nature.” Craig asserts that there would be no meaning to words like “good, just, true, or fair” if there were no God. He then presents this question by a reader “James”:

If God’s nature rejects the raping of little children, but it is not an arbitrary rejection (rejected for no reasons), then would this not mean that God’s nature is good in accordance with good reasons? In other words, can we not say that God’s nature is necessarily opposed to the rape of children BECAUSE in every possible world it causes injustice and injury to the victim (i.e. good reasons)?

Here is how Craig responded:

I’d respond that there certainly can be reasons for what God commands. For example, He forbids raping little children because it would be unjust and injurious to them. But then the deeper question is, “Why is it wrong to cause injury to innocent persons? What determines what is just or unjust?” Eventually such questions must find a stopping point in the character of God. Kindness is good because that’s the way God is; cruelty is evil because it is inconsistent with God’s nature. Therefore He issues commands that forbid behavior which is cruel and prescribe behavior which is kind. Rape is cruel, not kind, and therefore it is forbidden by God and therefore wrong.

Craig’s question “What determines what is just or unjust?” exposes the rank absurdity of his assertions. He appears to be profoundly ignorant of the meaning of basic moral terms like “just” and “fair”. As a supposed “philosopher” such ignorance is inexcusable. The job of a philosopher is to take concepts like justice and unpack them in terms of things that are commonly understood, such as a scale which is a universal symbol of justice. His assertion that we could not determine the difference between just and unjust without ultimately appealing to God is as ridiculous as saying that scales would cease to function if God did not exist. Likewise, we need not appeal to any God to understand why it is wrong to rape children. Craig addressed this point as follows:

You rejoin, “Must we conclude that the reasons to not rape (unloving, unjust) would cease to exist if there was no transcendent, necessarily, good nature in existence?” Yes, in the sense that in the absence of God it’s not evident that cruelty would be wrong. Activity that looks very much like rape goes on all the time in the animal kingdom but without any moral dimension to the act. On atheism that’s all we are—just animals, relatively advanced primates, and it’s hard to see why human activity should have the moral dimension that is missing from the activity of other animals. So while rape in the absence of God would still be injurious, cruel, and demeaning, there wouldn’t be anything, so far as I can see, that would make an action having those properties morally wrong. One could try to defend some sort of atheistic moral Platonism, I suppose, but then one must answer my three-fold critique of Atheistic Moral Realism in Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview.

Craig said that “it’s hard to see why human activity should have the moral dimension that is missing from the activity of other animals.” This is the fundamental flaw in his moral argument. He falsely asserts that humans would be nothing but animals under atheism, as if we would lose all human capacities of language and logic if there were no God. He repeats this error in almost every presentation of his moral argument. He usually puts on a very pained look on his face, and whines on and on about how he just can’t “see” how, under atheism,  humans would have a “moral dimension.” I addressed this error in gruesome detail in my article Why Most Animals are not Philosophers: Fatal Flaws in Dr. Craig’s Moral Argument. There is no excuse for Craig’s continued error on this point. He is simply incorrigible. He has been corrected by many professional philosophers, as seen, for example, in this clip from his debate with Shelly Kagan:

Posted in Christianity, Moral Theory | Tagged , , , , , | 72 Responses

David comments on the Bible Wheel and Why I Quit Christianity

I received this comment from David in the (very long) thread under my article Why I Quit Christianity.

Hi Richard, my honest and completely unsolicited opinion: I think you got burned out! The Bible Wheel patterns are unmistakable and can’t possibly be explained by cognitive bias if others independently notice them, but you may never again be in a headspace where you can accept the most clear explanation. You ever see when rock bands are interviewed about their last hit album and they always look like they want to punch the interviewer in the face because they’d rather talk about their new material? You were doing this for over a decade.

Hi David,

Thanks for taking time to share your insights. But just so you know, I actually did “solicit your opinion” by writing my article on my blog and enabling comments. I’m glad you took me up on my offer.

It is true that I worked intensely on the Bible Wheel research, website, and book for over a decade, and I suppose that would take a toll on any man, but I can’t say that I ever felt “burned out” about it. The Bible Wheel was always a fresh and invigorating study, and it remains intriguing to me now even though I completely reject the concept of a theistic style God. I debate Christians regularly on my forum, and constantly notice the same kind of powerfully meaningful connections that convinced me that the Bible was “God’s Word” what I was a Christian. The only difference now is that I don’t see Yahweh as a viable explanation of anything, let alone “the most clear explanation”. From my present perspective, the God of the Bible is a philosophical, moral, and scientific impossibility.

Also, having Christian beliefs is inherently stressful even if we don’t make them public. The bible makes it pretty clear that God doesn’t really like us and that we don’t really like him. It doesn’t matter if he occasionally loves us. If he flies off the handle on occasion and abuses us, but then turns around and lavishes us with generosity, this is too unstable to work around. If we feel obligated to witness, it creates resentment.

I love your honesty, and I must agree; the biblegod does not much like his creation, and I can’t imagine why any human would much like him. He is capricious, irrational, demanding, vengeful, and worst of all – utterly untrustworthy. So untrustworthy, in fact, that it’s as if he didn’t even exist! The idea that “God is trustworthy” is the most explicit and incontrovertible proof that Christianity is fundamentally delusional. If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist there would be no debate about his existence.

None of this has anything to do with the truth of his existence though. I don’t think your points above about doctrine of hell or abominations really have much logically to do with belief. I don’t disbelieve the existence of a lion because he mauls a gazelle. I just keep my distance from the lion. Even if you say it contradicts God’s own statements about himself, this doesn’t have much logically to do with belief. People don’t become nonexistent if they self promote.

I guess I’m saying I think you are somewhat confusing what you want to be true with what you suspect to be true deep down.

I don’t see how you can separate “belief in God” from the moral abominations attributed to him. There is no doubt about the existence of the lion. The same cannot be said of the biblegod. And more importantly, many of the claims the Bible makes about God are demonstrably false, such as the idea that he created heaven and earth and Adam and Eve, or that there was a global flood. Couple this with the primitive irrationality and immorality attributed to him, and again we see that he is not a viable explanation of anything, whether it be creation or the Bible Wheel.

What do you think I “want” to be true? I remember once years ago, around 1993 in the Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle, when I was just getting turned on to Christ and the Bible. I was a “stealth evangelist” hanging out with my old drinking buddies, trying to “turn them on” to the beauty I saw in Christ and the Bible. So we were chatting one day, and I led the conversation to things we would “want” to be true, and opened my Bible and read this:

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I read that, caught my friend’s eye,  and said “I’m not asking you to believe this, but wouldn’t you want it to be true?” He nodded. Then we clinked our glasses and took a hit of beer. All this to say that I am very familiar with the difference between what I want to be true and what is actually true, and I don’t think that is what’s going on with me. I wanted it to be true, and I had the Bible Wheel to prove it! No one has ever successfully shown any systematic error or fundamental flaw in the Bible Wheel. I cannot refute it myself. But neither can I believe in the God of the Bible. So I am mystified.

The quality of your life has improved. You’ve relaxed and you’re healthy. I’d take this over going nuts like Jeremiah or Ezekiel. How many of us visiting your site and posting with you actually cared about your well being? Seriously, what’s more important – proving the truth of existence in a heated internet debate or walking through the woods with your wife? I tried showing some of the Bible Wheel patterns to believers before, and I abruptly stopped when I didn’t get a reaction anything like what I expected. It’s not worth it – it’s too much. You either have the eyes and ears or you don’t.

Reading your comments reminds me how I was “burned out” to a degree without really knowing it. Burned out from the endless abuse (mindless moronic mockery) I received from almost all Christians I ever encountered online. But now I understand why. Christianity, like all dogmatic religions, is a mind-killer. It tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers. It breeds a contempt for the truth. It was folly to expect evidence would mean anything to such people.

If you revisit the Bible Wheel material someday, my honest advice is: Don’t cast your pearls before swine. Don’t feel the need to carry water for God. Screw the Christian community – too many scribes and Pharisees. Don’t feel the need to ignore science or hippie lifestyle or whatever else. It’s not about a grand system of beliefs, it’s about taking care of yourself. You’re only human. Best wishes.

Nice advice! Thanks. That’s half the problem I am sure – I forgot who I was because the only people who responded to my work were fundamentalists, and I (unfortunately) am prone to a certain kind of “fundamentalist” thinking (black and white certainty). That’s why I enjoy mathematics I suppose. Every vice has a corresponding virtue, ya know? In any case, I take your advice to heart, and am happily enjoying coming backing to my senses, grounded in who I am. The Bible Wheel remains …. a mystery! And I’m good with that.

I’m really glad you took time to share your thoughts David,

All the best,

Richard

 

Posted in Bible Wheel | 42 Responses

The Problem with Religion: It aggravates pre-existing intellectual and moral failings

It’s fascinating to be a former Christian with a blog that records my transition from believer to freethinker. I get a constant stream of comments that reveal how dogmatic religions tend to corrupt the minds and morals of believers. Such messages consistently confirm the validity of my choice to quit Christianity. I recently received a rather extreme example from one Norm Robichaud in response to my post Answers for Amber on Why I Quit Christianity:

First, to all Christians who read this: PRAY FOR MR. McGOUGH and his family! (I say we gang up on him) :)

Okay, now my rant.

I’m honestly not sure why I’m even bothering. I guess my suspicions have been confirmed and I have to say, I’m a little heartbroken. I’m not going to bother with logical arguments because that’s what got you into this mess in the first place. You need to drop logic and ‘smart-ness” and go direct with your heart rent open.

You can be pretty sure you are talking to a religious fundamentalist if they begin their argument with a rejection of “logic” and “smart-ness”. How is anyone supposed to discern between truth and falsehood without intelligence and rationality? Would they say the same thing to a Muslim or Mormon? Would they accept the burning in the bosom as sufficient “evidence” to justify a belief in Mormonism? Of course not. This is an obvious double standard, one of the primary signs of delusional thinking as described in detail in my article The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem. This is not only a psychological disorder: the chronic attempt to believe things that just aren’t true can lead to physical brain damage. Read More »

Posted in Losing My Religion, Why Christianity is False | 21 Responses

It’s May 21 – The Harold Camping Delusional Doomsday Memorial Day

IJudgment Day May 21 Billboardt’s been two years since Harold Camping had his judgement day. He had spent years proclaiming that “the Bible guaranteed” that the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011, to be followed by five months of terror on earth known as the “Great Tribulation” before the final destruction of the entire universe. He declared his prediction could be wrong only if the Bible was wrong which was, of course, inconceivable to his fundamentalist audience. Day after day he thundered from his radio studio “THUS SAYETH THE LORD – IT. IS. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.” The absolute certainty of his “Gospel” was the opium craved by his religiously programmed followers. And  like a highly skilled drug pusher he made a killing to the tune of 80 MILLION DOLLARS in just five years from 2005 – 2009 selling his doomsday message to his utterly deluded followers. That’s some serious cash from the best cash cow of all time – religion.

The really amazing thing is that it took Harold Camping about nine months to admit he was wrong, and even then he blamed God saying that He had the prerogative to mislead his faithful servants (read Harold Camping and his followers) for his own divine purposes. And crazier than that, there are still followers of Camping on www.ebiblefellowship.com/ that declare his end-times calendar is perfectly correct! Such is the madness of religion.

Posted in Why Christianity is False | Tagged , | 4 Responses

From Life-Long Skeptic to Gullible Young Earth Creationist?

I received this comment recently from one Pedro Cuestra who presents himself as a “life-long skeptic” who has “recently come into the knowledge of the God of the (entire) bible” and so is now a Young Earth Creationist.

Dear Richard,

I recently came across your biblewheel.com and was nearly blown away with it. I say nearly because I’m a life-long skeptic who has recently come into the knowledge of the God of the (entire) bible and I don’t know enough gematria or hebrew or greek to disprove your analysis. Kudos for your work, insight and revelations to the extent that they are actually trustworthy!

Hey there Pedro,

Thanks for the kudos, but I suspect the only reason you would say such a thing is because you think my work confirms your beliefs. I get this impression because you admit that you do not actually “know enough” to evaluate the results yet you praise them “to the extent that they are actually trustworthy”. That seems like a very strange way of thinking. Why praise them at all if you can’t evaluate their validity? Later in your comments you do the opposite with well-established scientific results supporting evolution when you show extreme skepticism for no apparent reason except that the evidence contradicts your religious beliefs. This is a very dangerous distortion of judgment known as a “confirmation bias”. It is one of the primary reasons people hold to irrational and unsupported beliefs which can become full-blown delusions if you are not careful. This error is extremely common amongst Christian fundamentalists, especially those who seek to prove the truth of the Bible. I explain this in some detail in my article The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem. Read More »

Posted in Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Answers for Amber on Why I Quit Christianity

Amber asked these questions in the comment stream under my post Explaining Myself where I had answered some questions relating to my Why I Quit Christianity.

Hi Mr. Richard,

First I just want to say thank you so much for the great work of the bible wheel and site, I’m hoping I’ll be able to buy the book soon.

So I’ve been reading up on some of the posts about why you “quit Christianity” and I guess I had a couple of questions to start.

Do you believe God is real? a Supreme Being that had the intelligence and power to create the natural universe as we know it right now? Read More »

Posted in Losing My Religion, Why Christianity is False | 32 Responses

Two Thousand Reasons to Believe Dr. Hugh Ross Might Not Be Entirely Credible

Unique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events-in detail-many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors. ~ Dr. Hugh Ross

With these words Dr. Hugh Ross simultaneously opened and eviscerated his article Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible. Are there really about 2000 prophecies that have been fulfilled “to the letter” with no errors? Is that claim reliable? Is it true in any sense of the word? Would it pass peer review? There is only one answer to these questions: a definitive NO spoken with profound exasperation and pity. His claim is so far off the charts of absurdity that it can only be described as the ravings of an utterly delusional mind. And worse, the evidence he presents is riddled with the most elementary errors in logic and fact. He repeatedly begs the question by assuming the reliability of the Bible on the very points required to prove it. He committed this fallacy numerous times in his short article which lists thirteen examples chosen because they “exemplify the high degree of specificity, the range of projection, and/or the ‘supernature’ of the predicted events.” I begin with his second example:

(2) In approximately 700 B.C. the prophet Micah named the tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Christ is one of the most widely known and widely celebrated facts in history. Read More »

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Ending Desertification: Real hope for the future

This TED talk realy talks to me. From the description:

Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

Posted in Global Warming, Politics | 1 Response