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  • Richard Amiel McGough

    by Published on 10-07-2012 02:49 PM  Number of Views: 2031 

    He so immersed himself in those romances that he spent whole days and nights over his books; and thus with little sleeping and much reading his brains dried up to such a degree that he lost the use of his reason.
    ~ Cervantes' description of Don Quixote's growing obsession with knight-errantry

    This is a continuation of my discussion with "The Challenger" who responded to my article Why I Quit Christianity. Our previous discussion is recorded in two posts:

    The conversation now has moved to his quixotic quest to show that Physics proves things about God. It deals with many arguments popularized by poorly informed Christian apologists like William Lane Craig and Rich Deem, the owner of and subject of my recent article called The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem.
    by Published on 10-06-2012 03:10 PM  Number of Views: 12425 

    Rationalization, commonly known as "making excuses" or "self-justification" is a psychological defense mechanism triggered by conflicting desires, feelings, or beliefs which evoke a painful state of mind called cognitive dissonance. No one is exempt. If there is one guarantee in life, it is that our amazing and complex world will repeatedly contradict our personal desires, limited knowledge, and cherished beliefs. But this is not a bad thing. On the contrary, the pain of cognitive dissonance is the pain of birth, of growing, of moving into the light of reality. It is the pain that shows the way to break free from the prison of our ignorance and selfishness.
    by Published on 10-02-2012 10:02 AM  Number of Views: 3762 

    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ~ Steven Weinberg

    The "Moral Argument for God" is very popular amongst lay Christian apologists and has been championed by professional apologists such as William Lane Craig. The assertion is that without God, there would be no objective basis for morality. No atheist, they say, has ...
    by Published on 09-30-2012 05:25 PM  Number of Views: 3118 
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    This is the response to my article A Reader's Response to Why I Quit Christianity. The challenger asked to remain anonymous, so I will refer to him as "The Challenger." I will address him in the second person since we are talking to each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Challenger
    My understanding was that we will have an objective discussion about the truth. Instead I found objectionable arguments that are part of the vast majority of online forums these days. Later I will address a few of those.

    In a few instances I used poor word choices in my writing and I will elaborate a little bit more on those as well. However the biggest problem I see is the attempt to describe the G‐d of the Bible with purely human understanding, which will never be enough. I will even give you a scientific theorem that at least philosophically supports that idea.
    Your understanding was correct. I am fully committed to a rational discussion based on logic and facts. I have no idea what you mean when you speak of "objectionable ...
    by Published on 09-23-2012 06:43 PM  Number of Views: 5747 

    This is a response from a reader to my article Why I quit Christianity. He began with a response to my first point which I stated as follows:
    1) The Doctrine of Hell
    I cannot conceive of a good God who would design an eternal evil in which souls suffer eternal conscious torment. This is a central doctrine accepted by the vast majority of Christians. It always bothered me throughout my time as a Christian, but I put it on the “back burner” and didn’t think about it much.
    His response begins as follows (I will refer to him in the second person):

    Faith is subjective, but the revelation in the Bible as it was given originally, is true. Seven times it is stated in the Bible that God cannot lie. We know also by revelation, that Satan is the liar.
    It may be true that God cannot lie, but that says nothing about the nature of the Bible. ...
    by Published on 09-13-2012 04:26 PM
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    "In war, truth is the first casualty." ~ Aeschylus (Greek tragic dramatist, 525 BC - 456 BC)

    The terrorist attacks against the American embassy in Libya were designed by Muslim extremists to destroy the chance of a free, liberal, and open democracy. The same attacks are used by American right-wing extremists to inflame hatred ...
    by Published on 07-06-2012 09:46 AM  Number of Views: 16632 

    The Bible begins by saying that all the trouble in the world was caused by Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was the only thing God denied them. But then the rest of the entire Bible exhorts people to do everything in their power to gain knowledge of good and evil! It exalts wisdom and knowledge as one of the highest goals every person should strive for.
    Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

    Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you,

    Proverbs 8:7 "For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 "All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. 9 "They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 "Take my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 "For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things can not compare with her. 12 "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion.
    And when Solomon became king, he asked God for a blessing:
    1 Kings 3:7 "And now, O LORD my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 "And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people who cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 "So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?" 10 And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.
    God was pleased that Solomon asked for the ability to discern between good and evil. He answered Solomon's prayer so that Solomon became the wisest king ever to live. Obviously, knowledge of good and evil is one of the highest values. We see this value also exalted in the New Testament:
    Hebrews 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
    This concept reaches its apotheosis in Jesus Christ, the Word of God "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).

    The story of the fall of Adam and Eve looks very strange in this context:
    Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
    So we have a very strange contradiction at the very inception of the entire Biblical narrative. That which was forbidden and which caused all the problems in the world becomes the very highest of values!

    This is another example of the curious absence of any references to the "mythological chapters" of Genesis in the rest of the Old Testament. The story of Adam and Eve is never mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament outside of the Garden story (Genesis 2-3). Indeed, it seems that the writers of the Old Testament were completely ignorant of the ten chapters of Genesis 2-11. I discussed this in my recent article Where's Adam? The Mystery of the Missing Mythological Chapters of Genesis.
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