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u/amdgph · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

You're throwing a bunch of stuff out there that I don't have the time to respond to at the moment. I'm about to go the gym then I'm going on a weekend trip. I'll just respond to your points quickly.

  1. It isn’t a God of the gaps argument. A God of the gaps argument is one that makes a gratuitous inference to God. Again, think the ancient pagans who used the gods to explain various natural phenomena they didn’t understand.

    This is completely different from the reasoning of the ancient Greeks (i.e. Aristotle), who using reason and observing reality, came to the conclusion of a prime mover; or Aquinas, who came to believe in the existence of pure actuality. Arguments from necessity, first cause, design, morality, etc -- all start from what we do know and conclude that God is the best explanation for certain features of the universe we observe.

    Take the Kalam Cosmological argument for example. The theist does not say “I don‘t know what caused the universe to exist so God did it”. Instead, he reasons about what it means to be a cause of the universe (i.e. spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncaused and powerful) and arrives at the conclusion that a being like God is the best answer.

  2. I'm telling you that we have very good reason to believe that the gospels are authentic and reliable accounts of Jesus' life. The internal and external evidence strongly point to the gospels being written by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. For example, all manuscripts we possess correctly attribute these books to them. The writings of the Church fathers, Christian leaders who lived (mostly) in the generation succeeding the Apostles, are also unanimous about their authorship. Furthermore, the gospels also satisfy multiple criteria of historical authenticity such as early multiple attestation, dissimilarity, embarrassment, historical congruence and semitisms. Now, if the gospels are authentic and reliable accounts of Jesus' life then personally, that's game, set and match. The testimonies of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John strongly point towards a Christian conclusion and alternative naturalistic explanations fail to provide a reasonable, compelling and complete explanation of the events. If you want to go further and seriously look into this for yourself, I recommend reading N.T. Wright's magisterial study The Resurrection of the Son of God.

  3. They are still contingent beings within the universe. Again, totally different.

  4. The success of Epicurus' argument rests on God not having good reasons for allowing evil to exist. If God doesn't have good reasons for allowing evil to exist, then this argument disproves God's existence as all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. However, if God does have good reasons for allowing evil to exist then that argument fails because it would show that God and the existence of evil are not logically contradictory.

    Anyway, I believe that God allows evil to exist in order to preserve our free will. Although free will makes good possible -- love, honesty, courage, selflessness and compassion, it also makes evil possible because it can be misused. In the end, in order to make good possible, trade-offs had to be made.

    As C.S. Lewis said on the subject:

    >“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can't. If a thing is free to be good it's also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata of creatures that worked like machines- would hardly be worth creating.

  5. Why is there a necessity for God? Gosh, I don't even know where to begin. I'll broaden that question to why I believe in God though and give you a quick answer. Let's just say that given the way things are in our universe and looking back at our history, I cannot not see a God behind it all.

  6. The same holds for the Christian God? Substantiate that claim, explain it in detail.

    I'd also want you to explain why/account for Christianity has considerable drawing power -- why so many atheists have and continue to convert to Christianity due to the weight of the evidence, be it philosophical, scientific or historical. Here's a quick laundry list of serious atheist intellectuals who converted to Christianity C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesteron, Alasdair Macintyre, Thomas Merton, Malcolm Muggeridge, Mortimer Adler, Edward Feser and Leah Libresco.

    I also wonder why Anthony Flew, the world's most influential atheist in the 20th century, converted to deism in 2004. Particularly, I wonder why he came to believe in the God of Aristotle, a God that possesses the attributes of immutability, immateriality, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness or indivisibility, perfect goodness and necessary existence. I also wonder why he also ended up developing a great respect for the Christian religion saying:

    >I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honoured and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true. There is nothing like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul…If you’re wanting Omnipotence to set up a religion, this is the one to beat (There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind, 185-186).

    and on the Resurrection...

    >The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It's outstandingly different in quality and quantity (Flew Interview with Gary Habermas, 2004).

    Enlighten me.
u/TooManyInLitter · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

1.] From my understanding Allah/Yahweh refers to the same revealed supernatural deity; the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

  • Given the number of times that the Word of Allah/Yahweh has been revealed, and the widely different and massive contradictions in foundational dogma from the many revelations, what evidence is there to support that the Prophet Mohammad finally got it correct?

  • Why did Allah decide to encourage friendly relations with Jews and Christians and then directly reverse the omniscient Divine guidance in a seeming contradiction?


    Qur'an 5:52 You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.

    Qur'an 57:27 Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah . But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.

    Wait - Not friends

    Qur'an 5:51 O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

    If the apologetic response is that the English translation is flawed, then (1) please provide an English translation that is an acceptable translation of the perfect word of Allah, and (2) why does the perfect word of Allah require so much interpretation to explain these contradiction?

    2.] Allah/Yahweh as the one and only true revealed Deity

    A foundational belief in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is that Allah, God, or Yahweh/YHWH, is the only true revealed God. As this is also the core of the Tanakh (Judaism), Bible (Christianity), and Qur'an/Koran (Islam), questions concerning the source of, and the validity of, this monotheistic Deity raises significant doubt as to the Holy Book's validity as the word of God/Yahweh/Allah. Yet the evidence points to the growth in the belief of the monothesitic Yahweh God from a polytheistic foundation of the El God pantheon in the ancient Ugarits and Canaanites who became the early Israelites. Yahweh was a subordinate fertility/rain/warrior local desert God whom, through a process of convergence, differentiation and displacement (synthesis and syncretism), was elevated to a monolatry and then to a monotheistic Deity.

    Online evidential sources related to the development and growth of Allahism/Yahwehism:

  • Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel
  • The evolution of God
  • Ugarit and the Bible
  • The Ascension of Yahweh: The Origins and Development of Israelite Monotheism from the Afrasan to Josiah - PDF warning


  • The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel by Mark Smith
  • The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith
  • A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
  • The Religion of Ancient Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Patrick D. Miller
  • Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches by Ziony Zevit

    Allah/Yahweh/God is claimed to be the only true God (ex., “There is no god but Allah.”), yet significant physical archeological and linguistic anthropological evidence documents the mythological growth of Allah/Yahweh from a subordinate rain/fertility/warrior Deity in a large polytheistic pantheon of revealed and worshiped Deities into a politically motivated monotheistic Deity belief system. In other words, the evidence points to Allahism/Yahwehism as a human-made concept and not as a self-revealed monotheistic Deity.

    With the revealed early history of Allahism/Yahwehism as a subordinate Deity (to the El Father God Deity), what evidence does Islam provide to refute the physical archeological and linguistic anthropological to support that Allah/Yahweh has always been the one true perfect monotheistic Deity?

    Thank you for your well considered reply.
u/love_unknown · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Your comment is simply wrong. The Catholic Church, its leaders, and its leading theologians explicitly affirm that people who die as non-believers can attain salvation.

Citing Augustine, Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 endorsed the idea of salvation for non-believers. See the Zenit article, "Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope," as well as the text of the general audience in which the comments were made.

One of the greatest Catholic theologians of the 20th century, Hans urs von Balthasar (who died shortly before he was to be made a cardinal) proposed that, within the Catholic theological tradition, it is entirely possible for Catholics to hope that all will be saved and that hell is, in fact, empty. He authored a book titled, "Dare We Hope that All Men Be Saved?" (spoiler alert: yes).

Cardinal Avery Dulles, writing in First Things, summarized our position thusly:

>The universal evidences of the divine, under the leading of grace, can give rise to a rudimentary faith that leans forward in hope and expectation to further manifestations of God’s merciful love and of his guidance for our lives. By welcoming the signs already given and placing their hope in God’s redeeming love, persons who have not heard the tidings of the gospel may nevertheless be on the road to salvation. If they are faithful to the grace given them, they may have good hope of receiving the truth and blessedness for which they yearn...

>Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given.

u/luvintheride · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> As if science has stopped investigating the origin of life. It hasn't.

I still subscribe to science research journals, and keep up with advances in microbiology. The more evidence that comes to light, the more it supports that this world has a Creator. Do you know that Darwin's "small change" thesis has all but been proven false? Even Richard Dawkins has admitted that publically. Large changes are required for speciation. Please take a look at this 2 minute video and tell me in honesty, what is more likely? That this incredibly efficient, delicate and precise nano-engine formed "naturally", despite entropy and harsh conditions, or that it has a designer.

> You're confusing baseless speculation with inference based on physical evidence.

Don't you know that Einstein's detractors scoffed at Relativity "based on physical evidence" ? It wasn't until an eclipse and the transit of Mercury until they started believing in relativity. That's "verifiable evidence". As you look at the fossil record, always keep track of what is actual versus inferred, and you'll save yourself from falling for a lot of lies and speculation.

> Because we absolutely did NOT get broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and headed cabbage from the same plant, no, sir.

Thanks for that link, but I have no trouble with cultivars and variations in traits. Evolution makes claims of species and creation (abiogensis) itself. Please be more precise when you categorize your knowledge, and stop lumping things together. You don't believe that blondes, brunettes, giants, midgets, blacks, and whites are separate species do you ?

> Like I said, feel free to propose a testable explanation for why all life on Earth is related by varying degrees that's better thsn evolutionary theory.

Well, I believe that every atom in this entire universe was created and is actively sustained at every moment by the will of God. All of space-time is just one continuous thought of His infinite mind. His mind is greater than this entire universe. He is able to change things here like we change things in a video game. You might be wondering why He allows so much evil to happen. There is good reasoning for that if you are interested.

To get to understanding the logic behind a Creator, you have to study the logic of actualities, contingencies and potentials. Atoms are contingencies, which means they are dependant on "something else" to create and sustain them. Dr. Ed Feser's book "Five proofs for God" goes through that and other sound logic tha points to a Creator. The logic of these arguments have never been refuted in the history of mankind's greatest thinkers.

Of course, that just gets you to deism. You'd have to study more philosophy and history to realize that Christianity is rationally true. Rationalism is just one side of the coin though. God wants everyone to realize His presence with their entire mind and hearts (love, appreciation, etc).

> Please notice that inference can always be improved on, which is a feature inherent to the scientific method.

Great, so you realize that "scientific consensus" is often wrong. There is a big difference between verifiable facts and consensus. While scientific opinion has been changing embarrassingly for 2000 years, I found that Christian doctrine has not changed. Real Truth is always true, so after 30 years of being a skeptic, I slowly realized what is more reliable.

u/KolaDesi · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

> I'm happy to discuss, but's it's not a part of OP's topic or debate.

I knew, but since you appeared friendly and I can't comprehend how an atheist can convert to any religion, I thought to take the chance and ask.

> It was the combination of everything (science, logic, experience), which is what Bayesian logic requires.

Funny how science and logic (not experience, of course) brought me on the opposite side. What's up with Bayesian logic? I've never heard that argument.

> If you really want to know, watch the following testimony. His experience was a lot like mine, except his was much longer :

Not gonna lie, I watched only a half. It was interesting, but nothing suggested that he wasn't dreaming and fitting his dream into a specific narrative, helped by his upbringing. Afterall he was raised Catholic, then rejected religion (but still believed new age religions, astrology and other quackery) and then had a Christian experience? How odd...

I'm still hoping to hear an experience that can be replicated by a second, third, fourth, tenth person and can be consistent in its description. The idea of a loving god sounds awesome, but I still haven't find a good reason to believe it's true. Yet I always hope to find an experience (what better proof than evidence, no?) which can convince a skeptic.

I don't know if you've read my other comment under yours, but I'm quite accustomed to people experiencing divinities in their lives, and they all happen to experience the most relevant "person" of their religion. I've never commented them but one, and the girl was firm that her calculations (cherry picked and wrongly summed) made sense. They were calculations. It was practically a math problem to be solved. And yet she rounded these calculations to make God happen. Oh well.

> I recommend starting with this book if you are serious :

Judging by the comments, they appear the usual rational explanation given by western philosophy, such as the cosmological argument and so on. If that's so, have you read the counter arguments about them? What do you think about them?

u/hobbitsden · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Sorry again for the delay and length of the response, that was a pretty dense article for somebody who has been out of the game for a while.

Forgive me but your nihilist flair and admission of a Protestant past makes me ask for some clarification: Do you have a problem with the Catholic view and/or Protestant view of predestination? Is such doctrine a reason your now identify as a nihilist? I took a long journey like that in the past.

I once read a book titled: Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell. I thought it was a good but difficult read and may enlighten you further if this is a huge stumbling block for you.

Looking at some of your responses to others the crux of the matter seems to be; if/why God saves some and not all is incompatible with an all loving/knowing...;? I am not sure what you are after as a nihilist but it seems clear Catholics and Protestants look at predestination very differently. I have never thought of my or anyone's salvation as predestined. I/all must cooperate with grace and mercy. If I (anyone) fail or refuse to cooperate I am assured of nothing despite my Baptism or lack thereof.

The only references to conditional predestination I have come across in Catholic theology that I can think of is blaspheming the Holy Spirit and the last of the 15 promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One destination is hell and the other is heaven, but both are still conditional to an act of will on our part.

There was a Polish Catholic nun who died in 1938 at the age of 33 from tuberculosis; she had mystical visions of heaven, and she records in her diary visions and conversations with Jesus.

> 1728

> Write: I am Thrice Holy, and detest the smallest sin. I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it. My mercy embraces and justifies it. With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me. I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.

> Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart…. When will it beat for Me?

> Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want.

God wants all souls to be saved but we have a part to play in our salvation.

> A Certain Moment, May 12, 1935

> 424

> In the evening, I just about got into bed, and I fell asleep immediately. Though I fell asleep quickly, I was awakened even more quickly. A little child came and woke me up. The child seemed about a year old, and I was surprised it could speak so well, as children of that age either do not speak or speak very indistinctly. The child was beautiful beyond words and resembled the Child Jesus, and he said to me, Look at the sky. And when I looked at the sky I saw the stars and the moon shining. Then the child asked me, Do you see this moon and these stars? When I said yes, he spoke these words to me, These stars are the souls of faithful Christians, and the moon is the souls of religious. Do you see how great the difference is between the light of the moon and the light of the stars? Such is the difference in heaven between the soul of a religious and the soul of a faithful Christian. And he went on to say that, True greatness is in loving God and in humility.

> 425

> Then I saw a soul which was being separated from its body amid great torment. O Jesus, as I am about to write this, I tremble at the sight of the horrible things that bear witness against him….. I saw the souls of little children and those of older ones, about nine years of age, emerging from some kind of a muddy abyss. The souls were foul and disgusting, resembling the most terrible monsters and decaying corpses. But the corpses were living and gave loud testimony against the dying soul. And the soul I saw dying was a soul full of the world‟s applause and honors, the end of which are emptiness and sin. Finally a woman came out who was holding something like tears in her apron, and she witnessed very strongly against him.

> 426

> O terrible hour, at which one is obliged to see all one‟s deeds in their nakedness and misery; not one of them is lost, they will all accompany us to God‟s judgment. I can find no words or comparisons to express such terrible things. And although it seems to me that this soul is not damned, nevertheless its torments are in no way different from the torments of hell; there is only this difference: that they will someday come to an end.

> 427

> A moment later, I again saw the child who had awakened me. It was of wondrous beauty and repeated these words to me, True greatness of the soul is in loving God and in humility. I asked the child, “How do you know that true greatness of the soul is in loving God and in humility? Only theologians know about such things and you haven‟t even learned the catechism. So how do you know?” To this He answered, I know; I know all things. And with that, He disappeared.

> 428

> But I could no longer get to sleep; my mind became exhausted by thinking about the things I had seen. O human souls, how late you learn the truth! O abyss of God‟s mercy, pour yourself out as quickly as possible over the whole world, according to what You Yourself have said.

> 741

> Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:...I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence....But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God‟s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin.

  • 741
u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I'm not basically like anyone you want to group me with. I have shown the courtesy to everyone else here not to undermine them by their views, mainly because I have no desire to cause strife with my fellow man. I ask that you show that same respect.

When it comes to arguing against documentary hypothesis, a friend showed me this book. I have yet to read it (not really on my reading list anyway) and I'm happy with the top review for the book. I'll post it below:

This review is based on the Magnes Press edition of this book which is difficult to find; I hope there is little change in this new edition. In any case, it's wonderful that this treasure is now easily available.
In a series of eight lectures Cassuto destroys the Documentary Hypothesis, the theory that the text of the Pentateuch was edited from four independent source-documents.
Cassuto describes the development of the theory, and the evidence on which it is based: the use of different names for God in the Pentateuch, variations of its language and style, apparent contradictions and divergences, duplications and repetitions and signs of composite structure in the text.
Cassuto argues that these pieces of evidence, individually and cumulatively, do not render the Documentary Hypothesis probable. Cassuto provides simpler explanations of the evidence. These explanations also fit in better with our background knowledge, including knowledge of the style of ancient near eastern texts.
For example, Cassuto points out that the different divine names are used consistently in different contexts. This is best explained by the divine names having different meanings (but the same reference). Further literature of the ancient near east evinces similar context-sensitive usage of different divine names. If the Documentary Hypothesis is not true, we would find precisely the usage of divine names that we do find.
Cassuto defends his claims with numerous sources, his extensive knowledge of ancient literature and Biblical Hebrew. In contrast, the proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis resort to circular reasoning and outlandish explanations of the text, as Cassuto shows.
Cassuto's understanding of the details and rules of Biblical Hebrew is profound, and there is much to learn here that I have not found elsewhere. This includes five rules used in the Bible to determine which first person pronoun is to be used, how the Bible decides to use descending or ascending order in compound numerals, and the difference between expressions such as "karath berith" and "heqim berith".
The beauty of Cassuto's style of writing is matched only by the clarity of his exposition.
Cassuto's opinion on the origin of the text does not appear to be religious. Rather, he believes that the Pentateuch selected and refined ancient traditions; Cassuto compares this to Dante who transforms material derived from many sources into a unique harmony. Whether or not one believes in the divine origin of the Pentateuch, however, Cassuto's book is an unanswerable attack on the Documentary Hypothesis and a powerful defense of the unity of the text.

u/weirds3xstuff · 28 pointsr/DebateReligion

I. Sure, some forms of theism are coherent (Christianity is not one of those forms, for what it's worth; the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma being a couple of big problems), but not all coherent ideas are true representations of the world; any introductory course in logic will demonstrate that.

II. The cosmological argument is a deductive argument. Deductive arguments are only as strong as their premises. The premises of the cosmological argument are not known to be true. Therefore, the cosmological argument should not be considered true. If you think you know a specific formulation of the cosmological argument that has true premises, please present it. I'm fully confident I can explain how we know such premises are not true.

III. There is no doubt that the teleological argument has strong persuasive force, but that's a very different thing than "being real evidence" or "something that should have strong persuasive force." I explain apparent cosmological fine-tuning as an entirely anthropic effect: if the constants were different, we wouldn't be here to observe them, therefore we observe them as they are.

IV. This statement is just false on its face. Lawrence Krauss has a whole book about the potential ex nihilo mechanisms (plural!) for the creation of the universe that are entirely consistent with the known laws of physics. (Note that the idea of God is not consistent with the known laws of physics, since he, by definition, supersedes them.)

V. This is just a worse version of argument III. Naturalistic evolution has far, far more explanatory power than theism. To name my favorite examples: the human blind spot is inexplicable from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution; likewise, the path of the mammalian nerves for the tongue traveling below the heart makes no sense from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution. Evolution routinely makes predictions that are tested to be true, whether it means predicting where fossils with specific characteristics will be found or how fruit fly mating behavior changes after populations have been separated and exposed to different environments for 30+ generations. It's worth emphasizing that it is totally normal to look at the complexity of the world and assume that it must have a designer...but it's also totally normal to think that electrons aren't waves. Intuition isn't a reliable way to discern truth. We must not be seduced by comfortable patterns of thought. We must think more carefully. When we think more carefully, it turns out that evolution is true and evolution requires no god.

VI. There are two points here: 1) the universe follows rules, and 2) humans can understand those rules. Point (1) is easily answered with the anthropic argument: rules are required for complex organization, humans are an example of complex organization, therefore humans can only exist in a physical reality that is governed by rules. Point (2) might not even be true. Wigner's argument is fun and interesting, but it's actually wrong! Mathematics are not able to describe the fundamental behavior of the physical world. As far as we know, Quantum Field Theory is the best possible representation of the fundamental physical world, and it is known to be an approximation, because, mathematically, it leads to an infinite regress. For a more concrete example, there is no analytic solution for the orbital path of the earth around the sun! (This is because it is subject to the gravitational attraction of more than one other object; its solution is calculated numerically, i.e. by sophisticated guess-and-check.)

VII. This is just baldly false. I recommend Dan Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" and Stanislas Dehaene's "Consciousness and the Brain" for a coherent model of a materialist mind and a wealth of evidence in support of the materialist mind.

VIII. First of all, the idea that morality comes from god runs into the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma pretty hard. And the convergence of all cultures to universal ideas of right and wrong (murder is bad, stealing is bad, etc.) are rather easily explained by anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Anthropology and evolutionary psychology also predict that there would be cultural divergence on more subtle moral questions (like the Trolley Problem, for example)...and there is! I think that makes those theories better explanations for moral sentiments than theism.

IX. I'm a secular Buddhist. Through meditation, I transcend the mundane even though I deny the existence of any deity. Also, given the diversity of religious experience, it's insane to suggest that religious experience argues for the existence of the God of Catholicism.

X. Oh, boy. I'm trying to think of the best way to persuade you of all the problems with your argument, here. So, here's an exercise for you: take the argument you have written in the linked posts and reformat them into a sequence of syllogisms. Having done that, highlight each premise that is not a conclusion of a previous syllogism. Notice the large number of highlighted premises and ask yourself for each, "What is the proof for this premise?" I am confident that you will find the answer is almost always, "There is no proof for this premise."

XI. "...three days after his death, and against every predisposition to the contrary, individuals and groups had experiences that completely convinced them that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus." There is literally no evidence for this at all (keeping in mind that Christian sacred texts are not evidence for the same reason that Hindu sacred texts are not evidence). Hell, Richard Carrier's "On the Historicity of Christ" even has a strong argument that Jesus didn't exist! (I don't agree with the conclusion of the argument, though I found his methods and the evidence he gathered along the way to be worthy of consideration.)


I don't think that I can dissuade you of your belief. But, I do hope to explain to you why, even if you find your arguments intuitively appealing, they do not conclusively demonstrate that your belief is true.

u/Kirkaine · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

It can be explained, though not simply, nor accessibly. Luckily, I'm not just an atheist, I'm also a theoretical physics student. Keep in mind that this of course can not be demonstrated empirically (science is the study of our Universe, so we obviously can't study things outside it in time or space).

Lets go back to before the Universe exists. Let's call this state the Void. It's important to note that no true void exists in our Universe, even the stuff that looks empty is full of vacuum fluctuations and all kinds of other things that aren't relevant, but you can investigate in your own time if you want. In this state, the Void has zero energy, pretty much by definition. Now, the idea that a Void could be transforms into a Universe is not really controversial; stuff transforms by itself all the time. The "problem" with a Universe arising from a Void is that the Universe has more energy than the Void, and it there's not explanation for where all this energy came from. Upon further investigation, we'll actually see that the Universe has zero net energy, and this isn't actually a problem.

Now, let's think about a vase sitting on a table. One knock and it shatters, hardly any effort required. But it would take a significant amount of effort to put that vase back together. This is critically important. Stuff has a natural tendency to be spread out all over the place. You need to contribute energy to it in order to bring it together. We're going to call this positive energy.

Gravity is something different though. Gravity pulls everything together. Unlike the vase, you'd need to expend energy in order to overcome the natural tendency of gravity. Because it's the opposite, we're going to call gravity negative energy. In day to day life, the tendency of stuff to spread out overwhelms the tendency of gravity to clump together, simply because gravity is comparatively very weak. There's quite a few more factors at play here, but stuff and gravity are the important ones.

Amazingly, it turns out that it's possible for the Universe to have exactly as much negative energy as it does positive energy, which means that it would have zero total energy, meaning that it's perfectly possible for it to pop out of nowhere, by dumb luck, because no energy input is required. Furthermore, we know how to check if our Universe has this exact energy composition. And back in 1989, that's exactly what cosmologists did. And it turns out it does. We can empirically show, to an excellent margin of error, that our Universe has zero net energy. Think about that for a second. Lawrence Krauss has a great youtube video explaining the evidence for this pretty incredible claim.

The really incredible thing is, given that our Universe has zero net energy, it's not only possible that it could just pop into existence on day, it's inevitable. It's exactly what we'd expect. Hell, I'd be out looking for God's fingerprints if there wasn't a Universe, not the opposite.

If you want to read more about it, by people who've spent far more time investigating this than I have, I suggest The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, and A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. Both go into detail about the subject, and don't require any prior physics knowledge.

tl;dr The Universe didn't need a "first cause". PHYSICS!

u/christiankool · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

>See the issue with that is that if you believe the Bible is supposed to be "God's word" then why did God let it become so misinterpreted?

The Bible is not God's Word, Jesus is ( John 1 for an example). The Bible is a library/collections of different types of literature (i.e. poems, myths, histories, fictional accounts [ex. Jonah], letters, apocalyptic texts, etc.

So, why do Christians revere the texts found within and how did the texts get chosen anyway? Well, that's a long story do we're going to have to go general.

The Old Testament books were chosen on what Judaism was using around 1 CE, the Septuagint (Greek). In fact, it's thought the Jewish canon was chosen in reaction to Christianity and only had what is known as the Hebrew Bible. For some reason, Protestants kicked the extra texts found in the Septuagint to a different location in the bible and called it "Apocrypha". It was still on there until "recently" when they wanted to save printing costs. For instance, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc. still have readings from the Deutrocannon.

The New Testament is different. In the West, there was no "set canon" until the Reformation and Council of Trent. In fact, Luther wanted to kick out James (because he thought it was contrary to "faith alone) and Revelation. Though he kept Revelation because he could use it against Rome.

The New Testament canon was formed before they were set, however. (I believe the earliest canon was Marcion and then the earliest that resembles the current one was Augustine?) The letters of Paul were being circulated throughout the area. The Gospels were written as "remembered history" as well as interpreting Jesus through the Septuagint. With this in mind, the church chose the texts based on the author of the text (Apostles), how common they were found throughout all the churches, how "catholic"/"orthodox" they were, etc. And the Church is thought to have been guided by the Spirit in these matters.

Now the nature of scripture is that it's both human and divine. Humans wrote the scriptures in historical contexts by certain literary means. So, of course you're going to get contradictions on the surface level of reading. There's 4 different gospels telling the story of Jesus in at least 4 different ways! (But that's why you have to know they're written as "remembered history" and interpretations.) That doesn't diminish the "authorship"/inspiration of God. That is only found in the proper context: liturgy and prayer. As Robert Sokolowski wrote:

>The role of the church as the speaker of the scriptures is brought out when she presents the scriptures as the word of God, but this role is even more vividly performed when the church reads the biblical passages in her liturgy and when she incorporates parts of the scriptures in her teachings and prayers and makes it possible for us to think and to pray in the same manner. We take fragments from the scriptures and compose our prayers and thoughts from them. The church’s use of scripture in her teaching and actions makes possible for us a way of life that is coherent because reconciled with God. It is in such situations of prayerful reading, whether in the church’s liturgy and teaching or in the private prayer of believers, that the scriptures most fully come to life. It is there that they serve, not as an object of our curiosity, but as the words through which God speaks to us and we to God. At this point the primary author of the scriptures, God himself, comes to the fore and acts as author, as the one who authorizes and speaks. At this point the human authors, who have finished their work, recede into the background. - Phenomenologies of Scripture (God's Word and Human Speech)

I don't agree with him on everything (I take a more Eastern view of Holy Tradition), but it's a start.

>The lake of fire.... English King James Version... but there are other reference through the Bible to the furnace and such.

Firstly, the KJV is outdated on scholarship. If you want a universally accepted translation, used in both Secular and Religious schools, I'd suggest the NRSV. I'd also suggest getting a New Oxford Study Annotated Bible or HarperCollins Study Bible. Just get away from the KJV.

I'm pretty sure I covered the gauntlet with my previous post. I didn't realize you wanted me to go super specific. But, just in case, Jesus speaks in parables a lot.

>I don't really know what you're asking by rejecting God and rejecting idea of God, sounds like one and the same if you're only talking about abrahamic religion.

I'll provide an analogy to point you in the right direction. It is not meant as a literal 1-to-1 comparison. Say that I met your mother. I noticed she was yelling at the cashier at the grocery store. She tried stealing a lighter while the cashier was grabbing her cigarettes. He noticed that. She kept denying it and denying until she left cursing out the cashier.

To you, your mom doesn't even smoke and is as calm as Snoop with a doobie. Why would she ever be so mean?

We meet up and start talking about your mom. You bring up how wonderful she is and I start to get freaked out. I say, "That is not your mom. Your mom is rude. You must be talking about another lady. Because if that's the case, then your mom doesn't exist or was replaced." I'm not actually denying that your mom exists, only your idea of mom.

>As for getting to hell God sends you there, I was raised Baptist and the interpretation I was taught was about believing in Jesus, if you believed in Jesus you went to heaven and if not you go to hell.

I grew up an Evangelical (Assemblies of God) where Genesis was to be taken literally. I remember in 9th grade (!) trying to argue with the science teacher about evolution (God, thinking back I cringe hard). Then I learned Genesis 1 is written as a poem and that Genesis 2 is not a scientific creation account, rather it's a mythic story outlining our relationship with God, the earth, and everything else. What I'm saying is, once you learn something new it will be incorporated into your "worldview" and you'll need to react.

A different example with a similar point: as a child I was taught that the USA Revolution happened because of the Tea Tax being too high. "The taxes are too damn high!" They said and fought off the Brits. Then, as I got older I learned that there was way more to it than I knew. Was I initially wrong? Well, no... But there was more to the story than I thought.

>But the fun part is that our interpretations don't really matter anyway...

Literally everything is interpretation or at least affected by your biases and such. We've moved past positivism.

I'm going to skip over the hell bits because I'm obviously not your target audience. Everything your saying, I don't accept. Read the last post again and talk to me on my view, not this strawman you've created. Christianity is not monolithic. There are certain things that must be agreed upon (like the early church councils and creeds - whether or not you "accept" them, all Christians articulate their views) to be considered Christian - orthodox not heterodox. But, outside those, honestly few, points, you're good to disagree.

>And if you want my real opinion and there is a God as described in the Bible he isn't worthy of worship, he's a psychopath who is just toying with us.

I'd like to remind you that humans wrote the texts in this library called the bible and that they had certain viewpoints and could have easily interpreted things as God's doing when it wasn't. Or that it's actually known that the YHWH is a step up from other gods. For instance, you know when God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac then says, "lol jk here's a ram."? Well, that story is not about God demanding Abraham to kill his only son (!), rather it's a story to show that God doesn't need human sacrifice! Unlike those gods over there...

>The way that religion works...

You're not even close. Religions are the Forms in which the Divine/God is being experienced by human beings. They are the bones of a structure of experience. Religions are that which describe God as understood by the people.

Once again, I'm on my phone - though at home now.

u/global_domer · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

Before I get to my main point, I would just like to briefly comment upon this short phrase,

>another case of philosophy failing to keep up with modern science

which demonstrates a patent lack of understanding of what philosophy and science are, and what distinguishes them, as disciplines. Science's domain is the empirical -- it is concerned with physical stuff, with things that can be physically (and usually quantitatively) observed, measured, and examined. Philosophy is concerned with metaphysics, that is, with non-empirical reflection, and for that reason can never really 'keep up' with science. You cannot derive from empirical foundations the principles of moral behaviour, nor what constitutes a 'just' political system, nor whether there is an immaterial God. There is no 'keeping up' between philosophy and science. They deal with fundamentally different subject matter.

To the main point: Arguments to the effect of modern science (in any field, not just cosmology) definitively disproving the existence of God are short-sighted. Even recent developments in the field of cosmology are insufficient to demonstrate the non-necessity of a God, for the reason that they do not broach the fundamental question of why anything at all exists. The classical theist, drawing upon Aristotle, would consider the notion of a godless universe as patently bizarre. Any universe is necessarily 'contingent' in philosophical terms, which means that there is a distinction between what it could be (its potentiality) and what it is at any given moment (its actuality). Since any universe (or any set of pre-universe laws or constants) is necessarily contingent, subject to either change or the mere theoretical possibility of existing in some other way, its existence is not necessary as such.

The theist would then say that, to explain all contingent realities, we must posit some ultimate non-contingent reality in which no distinction exists between potentiality and actuality. In other words, all contingent, non-necessary reality must derive from some necessary reality, which cannot be any particular universe nor any pre-universe state of contingent laws. In theological language, this necessary entity which is fully actual (the 'I AM who am' of the Jewish tradition) is termed 'God.'

Edit: To quote from the great David Bentley Hart,

>Hawking’s dismissal of God as an otiose explanatory hypothesis, for instance, is a splendid example of a false conclusion drawn from a confused question. He clearly thinks that talk of God’s creation of the universe concerns some event that occurred at some particular point in the past, prosecuted by some being who appears to occupy the shadowy juncture between a larger quantum landscape and the specific conditions of our current cosmic order; by “God,” that is to say, he means only a demiurge, coming after the law of gravity but before the present universe, whose job was to nail together all the boards and firmly mortar all the bricks of our current cosmic edifice. So Hawking naturally concludes that such a being would be unnecessary if there were some prior set of laws — just out there, so to speak, happily floating along on the wave-functions of the quantum vacuum — that would permit the spontaneous generation of any and all universes. It never crosses his mind that the question of creation might concern the very possibility of existence as such, not only of this universe but of all the laws and physical conditions that produced it, or that the concept of God might concern a reality not temporally prior to this or that world, but logically and necessarily prior to all worlds, all physical laws, all quantum events, and even all possibilities of laws and events. From the perspective of classical metaphysics, Hawking misses the whole point of talk of creation: God would be just as necessary even if all that existed were a collection of physical laws and quantum states, from which no ordered universe had ever arisen; for neither those laws nor those states could exist of themselves. But — and here is the crucial issue — those who argue for the existence of God principally from some feature or other of apparent cosmic design are guilty of the same conceptual confusion; they make a claim like Hawking’s seem solvent, or at least relevant, because they themselves have not advanced beyond the demiurgic picture of God. By giving the name “God” to whatever as yet unknown agent or property or quality might account for this or that particular appearance of design, they have produced a picture of God that it is conceivable the sciences could some day genuinely make obsolete, because it really is a kind of rival explanation to the explanations the sciences seek. This has never been true of the God described in the great traditional metaphysical systems. The true philosophical question of God has always been posed at a far simpler but far more primordial and comprehensive level; it concerns existence as such: the logical possibility of the universe, not its mere physical probability. God, properly conceived, is not a force or cause within nature, and certainly not a kind of supreme natural explanation.

from The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss (

u/Disputabilis_Opinio · -2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't have time to get into a detailed debate about the Resurrection. However, I would like to make a few general remarks.

The first is that the view you are advocating has been atomized at the highest levels of academia by the brightest minds with deep and specialised knowledge for a very, very long time. And if you think that it can lead to the justified conclusion that nothing unusual happened on the first Easter Sunday then you are simply ignorant of the matter of which you speak.

For instance, the established historical explanadum includes post mortem appearance experiences. And every serious historian must account for them.

Take Bart Ehrman. “Historians,” he writes, “have no difficulty whatsoever speaking about the belief in Jesus’ resurrection. For it is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution.” He then goes on to place the Resurrection hypothesis in historical quarantine because, he says, miracles by their very nature lie beyond the explanatory scope of the historian.

Dale Allison may be held in even higher regard than Ehrman in high academia. And as Craig concludes of Allison's book Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters,

>That Allison should, despite his sceptical arguments, finally affirm the facts of Jesus’ burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and hold that the resurrection hypothesis is as viable an explanation as any other rival hypothesis, depending upon the worldview one brings to the investigation, is testimony to the strength of the case for Jesus’ historical resurrection.

My point is that whatever explanatory entity you appeal to you will still be tasked with providing an explanation for how and why the disciples came to a fierce belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus because it is historical bedrock for virtually every critical scholar with a terminal degree in a relevant field. And it follows from this that the hypothesis that the New Testament was given mythological embellishments is only going to get you so far—and certainly not to a justified denial of the Resurrection Hypothesis.

My second point is that I think you are very impressionable and this concerns me. One day you are working yourself into a lather that Islam is the one true religion. On the next you are accusing Islam of teaching idolatry—probably the single-most offensive thing you could suggest to a Muslim. On a third day I notice your flair is something about Saint Paul being a heretic who is burning in Hell. On a fourth day I am surprised by a PM in which you tell me you will probably end up being a nondenominational Christian.

It concerns me because I think it lacks wisdom, prudence and love and these are properties that I believe should supervene on anyone who is in communion with God. I once saw you tell someone who objected to the doctrine of hell (you were wearing your Islamic hat at the time) that they were, "God's bitch," and he could do as he pleased with them. Whatever religion God has revealed himself in, one thing is for sure: He would not approve of this.

And whatever religion you are tomorrow you will I take it still be a theist. And I think belief in God has practical moral implications for our everyday life. I think it means that we ought to try to act with love, patience and prudence. I don't know, dude. Maybe just chill as a basic theist for a while and pray to God for guidance and discernment in discovering his true revelation in history. Surely this would be better than alternately defending and trashing religions? Trashing atheism is fine. God is different. Even in my criticism of other religions I try to be respectful. God is sacred and I think we should be solemn and loving in our quest for him.

Lastly, if you want to really get stuck into the Resurrection (instead of, you know, taking glib potshots like you are currently doing) this is the book you need to read. Have at it!

u/Donkey_of_Balaam · -6 pointsr/DebateReligion

Feser's new book is out this week!

Five Proofs of the Existence of God provides a detailed, updated exposition and defense of five of the historically most important (but in recent years largely neglected) philosophical proofs of God's existence: the Aristotelian proof, the Neo-Platonic proof, the Augustinian proof, the Thomistic proof, and the Rationalist proof.

This book also offers a detailed treatment of each of the key divine attributes -- unity, simplicity, eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, and so forth -- showing that they must be possessed by the God whose existence is demonstrated by the proofs. Finally, it answers at length all of the objections that have been leveled against these proofs.

This book offers as ambitious and complete a defense of traditional natural theology as is currently in print. Its aim is to vindicate the view of the greatest philosophers of the past -- thinkers like Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Leibniz, and many others -- that the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments. It thereby serves as a refutation both of atheism and of the fideism which gives aid and comfort to atheism.

Ed Feser is a recovering atheist.

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

I agree. :-) I figured I'd pick a fairly strong example of easily shot down attributes. (On the other hand, the fact that at least 1/3 of the voters in my country agree with the easily shot down version is quite scary, but that's a rant for another day ;-)

The reasons I reject Christianity as a whole are much larger, and not really applicable here, but since you brought it up:

I was born and raised an evangelical Christian, and remained so for ~25 years after my decision at 7 to accept Jesus's death as atonement for my sins and follow him with my whole life.

I am no longer for many reasons, starting with accepting evolution and the lack of an historical Adam, moving into biblical criticism and archeological study, studying other world religions and cultures and their similar claims to Christianity, studying cosmology, psychology, sociology, and cognitive science of religion, and ending at philosophy and specifically epistemology. I tried really hard to maintain my faith, but there is no grounding for it that I can find, and I gave it up with much grief.

Christianity is in no way exceptional to all the other religions. In that way I agree with Spong's 12 points of reform. If you don't know why Spong talks like that, his book Why Christianity Must Change or Die speaks at least as strongly as the atheist polemics. In addition, as I understand the reasons for apparent teleology and cognitive basis for religion which arose by co-opting the social mechanisms of our brain given by natural selection, and think there is a rising case for the universe spontaneously springing out of a quantum foam which is a much less problematic thing to pre-exist than a conscious, changeless entity of incredible knowledge, power, and perfection. Not to mention the issues of causality and intentionality existing in such a creature outside space-time and the entropic arrow of time, without which causality is incoherent. It is for this reason that much of the most interesting theology in the journals these days is on time issues.

Because of all these things we now have much simpler answers for than a supreme being, I see absolutely no reason to posit even a panenthesitic, pantheistic, or deistic god. The later two, even if existant, would by definition have absolutely no impact on my life, and the first no measurable impact.

In the end, if all religion can possibly discover is that we should to be nice to each other and feel awe of the universe and love, I'll take other moral theories that give me the same and yet come from grounding in the observable universe, thanks. Desire utilitarian theory is one of the more interesting ones.

I think the Atheist's Guide to Reality linked above is perhaps the most important book I've ever read which argues strongly goes against the typical arguments of the apologists, and I'm anxious to see more people critique it. Krauss's book linked above is one of very few I've ever pre-ordered, as his video with the same title was quite interesting. If he has a good basis for his claims, it might be the most important scientific theory since Darwin in relation to understanding ourselves.

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/Shorts28 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I've appreciated this conversation, and you obviously have done quite a bit of thinking about it. Your comments are very sincere, and you've got a great grasp of the issue. As you know, I really have nothing else for you. To date, the autographs have not been discovered, and who knows if we would know they were the autographs even if something was found. It might give us an earlier manuscript, but it wouldn't change the debate much. A man named Jesus most likely (according to Gospel records and the accounts of a few other contemporary historians) existed in a small country in a corner of a large empire. He was spurned by the religious authorities, so there's no likelihood they would write about him, and he was executed as a criminal by Rome, so there's no likelihood they would write about him either. A movement grew up around him (according to Gospel and historical records), and great teaching and miracles were attributed to him by those who supposedly knew him. What he taught and did was allegedly done in public arenas and witnessed by many people, some of whom believed and some of whom didn't. Anonymous written records started showing up a half a century later, and they weren't assembled into a single volume until centuries later. You're right—that's the history, and I can't add to it or change it.

For me, there are a few loose ends that make me give "validity" more weight.

  1. According to tradition (that nasty word again!), all 11 of his disciples were martyred (with the possible exception of John). I know it's always possible to find someone who will die for a cause like this, but that all 11 of them let themselves be killed for a story they knew to be false doesn't make sense. Somebody would-a squealed. During Watergate, the conspiracy held together until there was the real threat of imprisonment. Then the whole thing fell apart like a house of cards, very quickly, with fingers pointing, plea bargaining, and singing a whole different tune. We see the same thing in American politics, such as the current IRS scandal. Cincinnati is quick to say "Washington made us do it!", and Washingtonians are pointing fingers at each other. Yeah, send one to the electric chair and you'll hear a choir of confessions. Nobody wants to die for a lie. That all 11 apostles let themselves be killed is r-e-a-l-l-y odd. There's something much deeper happening.

  2. I don't discard the time significance as much as you do. If we're talking about a 50-year span, that's like, say, the Vietnam war. Lots of people are around who were there. If I'm writing about someone who lived 50 years ago, say, Jimi Hendrix, there are still plenty of people around who knew him, worked with him, gigged with him. And if you want to go 50 more years, it's a like a person now saying, "My grandfather fought in WWI. He told me stories about it." Those stories can be verified by others whose grandfather was in WWI, and by newspaper accounts. Now, we don't have any newspapers from Jesus, but we have the writings of people who said, "Yeah, my dad knew him. He's the one who wrote that." And there's unanimity on it. 2000 years later, many skeptics say, "That's a bunch of baloney." I guess it just comes down to what a person chooses to believe. On both sides people would say the weight of evidence is in their favor.

  3. Well, what about the stone carvings of what a particular Pharaoh did? We know that they trumped themselves up and wrote whatever made them look good. No pharaoh wrote, "Yeah, I was stupid and make a military mistake and lost half my army." Even though it might be true, they would never write it. To me it's interesting that the gospel writers wrote about stupid stuff they said, mistakes they made, misjudgments, misunderstandings, and plenty of rebukes from Jesus. I mean, these guys tell how they doubted that somebody could come back from the dead ( a pretty normal and predictably thought), except that it was the main claim of evidence that Jesus was who he said he was. Instead of writing that Jesus slayed dragons, they wrote "I got hot-headed and chopped off a guy's ear when I was scared out of my wits. Jesus calmly healed him." Who writes like this? Nobody does, unless they think they're telling it the way it was. It's just things like this that make me go "hmmm...."

  4. You know, I've read and heard a bunch of the midrashic stories written by Jewish scholars and storytellers that have been accumulated through the centuries and millennia alongside the Tanakh. The best of the best of the best still don't compare to the stories Jesus told, one after another. There is something unearthly about the answers he gives, his responses to people, and the stories he tells. Good authors can tell a good story or two. Good editors can assemble collections of them. But for them all to come from one guy—in my opinion, nobody could make this stuff up. There's a quality there, in my opinion, that is over the top. Something deeper is happening here.

    Well, thanks for listening. We know the heroes of history and stories that surround them—people like Abraham Lincoln and Alexander the Great. But the stories of Jesus are different from that. And I know fantastic stories are told about a lot of people, but a few stand out: Ulysses, Achilles, and Hercules, for instance. But the story of Jesus is even different from those. It has a whole different character to it. As I started out saying, I don't know what else to say. You know that mountains of work have been done on the historicity of Jesus and grappling with the reliability of the documents about his life (, especially pages 5-11, as one example.) And here's a very informative 10-minute YouTube video if you are truly interested in the topic. (
u/TheFeshy · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Nothing about your claims of "self-evidence" is true in my case.

> These beliefs are ones you cannot help but believe; for example, the belief that you exist.

Descartes? "I think, therefore I am?" That's evidence, not self-evidence (though it is evidence for self.) I find it convincing; but then I have a strong bias. This isn't about sufficiency of evidence though; it's about evidence vs. self-evidence.

But how do you take it beyond that? How do you extend it to observations, to the universe, to reality? There are two choices there:

> Most of us also posses pragmatism as a self-evident belief.

"Most" people don't think about it at all. "Most" people are content to think their smartphones are magic. Scientists aren't most people. I'm no most people. And if you're thinking about this topic enough to have this conversation, you're not most people in this respect either. So let's look beyond the pragmatism of "not thinking about epistemology and empiricism won't get me eaten by a tiger, so why bother" and get on with the conversation.

I do consider the possibility the universe is a simulation, or that I'm a brain in a jar being fed stimulus (Actually it's hard to distinguish that testably from surfing reddit, but I digress.) Why not? But those avenues of thought don't lead very far; I feel I've considered them sufficiently. They haven't lead to useful insights yet (saving perhaps the holographic principle), but I remain open to the possibility. Pragmatism has it's place; you can't philosophies if you don't pay attention to things like not dying, but that's evidence for its necessity, not its sufficiency. Think further.

> Why is the sky blue? Because you see it as blue. How do you know that it actually is blue? You don't, but you [presumably] find it self-evidently more rational to assume that what you see is representative of reality, via pragmatism, or a similar philosophy.

And this is where I differ vastly from your preconceived notions of me. I believe the sky is blue because, when I was nine, I built a crude spectroscope and measured it (It's actually mostly white, by the way, with a small but significant increase in the intensity of blue light over what is expected of black-body radiation. Not counting sunset of course. And neglecting absorption lines - I was in third grade, the thing wasn't precise enough for that!)

So that's evidence the sky is blue (and that I was an unusual kid), not "self-evidence." Although in this case, actually observing the sky with your eyes is still evidence; our eyes may be flawed in many ways, but they are sufficient for distinguishing between at least a few million gradations between 390-700 nm wavelengths. That's quite sufficient for narrowing it down to "blue."

That's exactly what I mean about what people consider "self-evidence" actually being evidence they've seen so often they've forgotten it's evidence. You note the approximate visible wavelength of the sky many times a day; it's actually quite well established by repeated observation that (barring systematic errors in our visual processes) it's blue.

> But, if someone did not share this self-evident belief, they would find it quite irrational to assume that the sky is indeed blue in reality, as opposed to merely in your perception of it.

So let's say this happened - let's say someone said the sky was green. Well, there are two possibilities, and we can distinguish between them by showing them other objects with similar emission or reflection spectra. One is that they see these other purportedly blue objects as green. No problem! They simply use "green" to mean "blue." Half a billion people use azul instead, so this is no big deal.

The other possibility is that every other blue thing we can test looks blue to this person, but they still insist the sky is green. This again leads to two possibilities. One is that the sky really is green just for this individual and most of what we have determined about reality is false. The other is that this person has a psychological condition that makes him believe the sky is green. Do we have to accept that the sky is simply self-evidently green to him? Nope! Science!

Put him in a room, and through one slit allow in natural sunlight, and through another match the spectrum of solar light with artificial light as closely as possible. Vary which slit is which. Can this person regularly identify the "green" sky? (specifically compared to control groups?) If not, we can conclude he sees the sky as green due to a psychological condition, not something indicative of reality. This is surprisingly common - just read up on dowsing for instance. There are people convinced they can detect water with sticks, but every one of them fail in tests to do so at rates above random chance. (Dowsers got away with this in old days because when you dug a well, you'd only have to hit a state-sized aquifer.)

The alternative, if he can regularly identify the sky slit as green, and assuming that other possibilities have been excluded, is that reality really doesn't work the way we think it does. Maybe he's a separate brain in a separate jar. Maybe light waves like certain people better. Maybe what we thought were photons were just faeries and they're screwing with us for fun. Whatever the case, though, we'd now have evidence for it. Not "self-evidence" but actual evidence.

Now, you can argue that maybe reality doesn't matter - maybe that person's psychological condition that makes him see a green sky is just as important as the blue sky. Maybe it makes him happier or donate to charity more or whatever, so we should leave him alone. All fine arguments, but they would be separate discussions.

From your other link:

> I also concluded that by logic, existence itself is uncaused.

That remains to be seen. Well-tested theories still leave open other possibilities; though obviously we haven't yet tested these possibilities. But since your basis for belief, according to the other thread, was on the necessity of an uncaused creation in violation of natural laws, I thought you might be interested to know that there are some hypothesis regarding said creation that fit within those laws.

u/lymn · 1 pointr/DebateReligion


Just because there is no evidence that any religion has it right doesn't mean there is no God.

  1. But it is a least feasible that the universe has a self-sufficient cause in itself, but even then there could still be god. Of course, he's not the kind of God you pray to for a new bike, or even pray to forgiveness for stealing a bike. God would be more like an epiphenomenon of the universe or maybe something that undergirds causation if you think one state of affairs is insufficient to bring about another state of affairs.

  2. Ummm, I study brains and humans are pretty fucking special

  3. Living things are made of the exact same stuff non-living things are. In fact, if you made a non-living thing that could take in chemicals, synthesize molecules, incorporate those molecules into it's own body and excrete waste products, I would call that a living thing.

    I urge you to not completely discard your Christianity. Jesus became a myth creature only later, there was a real jesus who did actually say some profound stuff. So i'd recommend you look at what practices and teachings you had during your Christianity and maintain some of them, but for different reasons than formally. Oh and if you are intellectually curious as to what Jesus actually said and actually believed I'd recommend The Gospel of Jesus, which has an interesting take, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, which is more historically rigorous, and the Five Gospels: What did Jesus really say?, which is a good reference book on the historicity of individual biblical Jesus quotes

    Oh and ---> Christian Deism
u/Honey_Llama · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

Thanks for your nice message.

These arguments made a big difference in my life and if they make a difference in someone else’s life (or at the very least challenged them to give serious consideration to the evidence of natural theology) I am very happy to hear it.

I understand your reservations about the argument from desire. I think I mention in my discussion of it that it has only moderate force but has an important place in the cumulative case.

I would highly recommend some further reading because my posts are all capsule versions of arguments that are presented and defended with much greater rigour in my sources. If you only ever read two books on this subject let them be The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne and The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. If you have an iPad or Kindle both are obtainable in a matter of seconds online.

And regarding your question, I recommend this video: The whole thing or from around 6:00 if you’re short on time. In short: Aquinas suggested that wealth and poverty can each be either a blessing or a curse. Much more would need to be said to give a satisfactory answer but I think that is a good starting point. And of course if third world poverty is something that could be ended if first world countries were totally committed to ending it, then ultimately it is a consequence of moral evil.

All the best :)

u/EcclesiaFidelis · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

This objection you've brought up is not new. For a detailed introduction to Classical Theism, I would recommend Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. Feser also has a post on his blog that talks about this, although the post assumes the reader already knows some fundamentals of Classical Theism that you may not know.

Another good thing to check out is this blog post on the Aristotelian Argument for the Existence of God. In short summary, if we admit that there is an "unmoved mover" or purely actual actualizer that sustains everything in existence at any given moment, then we must also attribute what Scholastics have called the "divine attributes" to it - that is, it is immutable, eternal, immaterial, incorporeal, perfect, fully good, omnipotent, intelligent, and omniscient. The arguments for why this is the case build upon each other and take a lot of reading to understand, so that's why I recommend checking Feser's books out, since he often writes with an atheist crowd in mind.

If we work from the Scholastic conception of God, that rules out many possible religions, such as paganism or Eastern religions like Hinduism. It doesn't, though, prove that there is any divine revelation, however looking at the attributes which we can philosophically discover about God, the only revealed religions that make the most sense are Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Deism could also be an option, although it depends on which variation you're talking about (the clockwork god of the Enlightenment thinkers would not fit make sense in a Scholastic framework). From that point on, I would say only other kinds of evidence, whether historical or experiential or otherwise, can bring one to believe that God has revealed Himself somehow.

u/asianApostate · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Lawrence Krauss has done ground breaking research on what may have initiated the big bang. I don't know what you are calling the "timeless unknown," but there are forms of energy beyond the outskirts of our universe that can cause "Big bangs." There maybe many universes beyond our ability and instruments.

>Science is limited by the human mind and the senses through which the human mind perceives the universe.

Science most definitely is not limited to the human senses as our instruments have allowed us to observe much more. Much of science is actually quite contrary to our senses.

Sure it is limited by the human mind but there are many minds in history that have made amazing discoveries that the ordinary minds did not.

Also not a big fan of the word magical to describe things outside of fiction. It is very non-specific and has implications, whether you mean it or not. Very counterproductive in a debate forum.

>There is another way to explore and discover and this is the inner dimension which is ultimately non physical.

What's an inner dimension and what have you discovered about it? The human mind is quite creative and sees patterns where they don't exist and is quite capable of fabrication of whole worlds of things. How will you prove your so called, "inner dimension?"

u/jez2718 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

First and foremost, I strongly recommend you cross-post this to /r/askphilosophy (and probably also /r/philosophyofreligion) since they'll be much more qualified than here to suggest topics and lesson-plans.

Second, you should probably include the Leibnizian cosmological argument alongside the Kalam, since they are sufficiently different. There's plenty of good material out there on this: Pruss' article for the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (this book is a very good resource, see here for more chapters) is pretty definitive, but both he and Richard Gale have written stuff on this.

Third, I think you should use different atheistic arguments. Drop Russell's teapot: especially given your expected audience you should stick to positive arguments against the existence of God. Russell's teapot you can work in as a side comment that argues that if the negative case (i.e. refuting theistic arguments) succeeds then we should be atheists, but other wise leave it be. Better topics I think would be the Argument from Non-Belief (see also here) and Hume's argument against belief in miracles (I have a bunch of resources on this I can send you, but the original argument in Of Miracles is pretty short and is free online). You might want to read one of Mackie's The Miracle of Theism, Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification or Oppy's Arguing About Gods for a good source of atheistic critiques and arguments.

u/Ibrey · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Almost all of them? It's not a lot of research. Krishna was born when Vishnu implanted himself in a womb. Buddha had 12 disciples. Dionysus died and was resurrected; some writings say it was 3 days. A handful of pagan gods were crucified.

The way you put it at first made it sound like every religion has all of those elements. And these examples don't seem to be very accurate—the Buddha had ten principal disciples, and much more than twelve altogether, and as usual with dying-and-rising gods, Dionysus' death was not a particular event in history but something that happened every year as a symbol of the cycle of the seasons. What is the significance of these superficial and isolated parallels with Christianity in far-flung cultures supposed to be? It seems like the atheist equivalent of seeing the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich.

> You can look into it some more. There's tons of pre dated parallels. I know people like to use Horus and a lot of that is unproven but there's miles of other gods who all had something similar to Jesus and it was before Jesus was supposedly alive. Also, outside of the bible, there's little to no proof that Jesus (of David) was a real person, but bc a book held by a religion that believes he's god, says he's real, then we all are supposed to believe he's real. There's other writings referencing him well after he died. There's also nearly 20 gospels that were rejected, essentially bc the stories didn't jive with M, M, L, & J. It's all awfully suspicious and if that was our understanding of, let's say Washington, we wouldn't be speaking his praises in schools. "Well the book of the U.S. says he was the greatest general ever, but there's 4 times as many other books that were written around the same time that doesn't necessarily agree but we're going with a fifth of the information available to us as opposed to the other 80% of the information bc it fits our needs better."

The sources are really very good, and this conspiracy theory about Jesus not existing isn't accepted by anyone working in the field of ancient history. When you look at these apocryphal gospels, you find that they're really much later in date and don't contain any credible historical information that isn't found in the canonicals—they may help us understand the diversity of Christianity in the Second and Third Centuries, but not the historical Jesus or the early Church. If you want to know how historians approach the subject of who Jesus was, I recommend reading The Historical Figure of Jesus by E. P. Sanders and/or Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart Ehrman (who has also produced an edition and translation of The Apocryphal Gospels).

u/CalvinLawson · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

When you postulate a cause for the universe, you are discussing the "moment" "before" t=0. This is the very "cause" of t, the creation of t itself.

Because of this, when you say "the universe has a cause", you need to define what "cause" means "before" the universe "existed".

But sorry man, this conversation is boring. I mean, you seriously take such weasel worded phrasing as "everything that begins to exist has a cause". You know VERY WELL why it doesn't say "everything has a cause", and you know very well what introducing "that begins to exist" is doing to the argument, what question it's begging. And then you go and use it to support the very conclusion this premise begs, which is that there are non-caused entities causing other things to happen. Way to support you argument with your conclusion.

It's intellectually dishonest, just like a lot of William Lane Craig's arguments. They are meant to appeal to those who don't have a formal or well rounded education, and it's why he has a hell of a time finding respectable intellectuals to debate with. I refuse to enforce your beliefs on this matter any more by continuing to argue with you about it.

But if you feel the need, here's a video just posted on r/atheism:

Maybe it'll get through, but I doubt it.

I highly recommend you pick up a book or two on religion. I really enjoyed this book, it's a nice overview of the various phases and version of monotheism. This is also a great book on the history of Islam; highly recommended.

u/lanemik · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You're right to an extent. My view is that your husband is spouting the typical atheist mumbo jumbo that you find too much in here (and elsewhere). The atheist position does incur the burden of proof despite what the "weak" atheists would like to believe.

But that doesn't mean that one cannot come to a rational reason to accept that God doesn't exist (or most likely doesn't exist). Here is one such method:

  1. There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  3. (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.

    This is called the Evidential Problem of Evil by the atheist philosopher of religion William Rowe. This is not a rock solid proof of God's non-existence and there are other philosophical proofs that come to the same conclusions from different directions. However, you'll note that there are also no rock solid proofs of God's existence (though there are very strong arguments for God's existence). From my point of view, it seems things are at an impasse and one can find perfectly rational reasons to accept that God does exist and perfectly rational reasons to accept that God does not exist (and, further, perfectly rational reasons why we cannot have any rational reason to believe in the existence or non existence of God, to boot!). Confused? I know I am and I suspect a lot of other folks are far more confused than they either know or will admit.

    I'm a bit concerned that your husband has bitten off on the /r/atheism style of thought that are proudly (sadly?) on display in many responses to you in this very post. That would be a shame, but it's very common. I can tell you this if your husband has gone down that rabbit hole, there is no amount of arguing with him about God's existence that is going to change his mind. It'll only make him resent you and it will make him consider you stupid and he'll be able to make your life quite miserable. That's the fact of the matter, the typical internet atheist has a massive superiority complex and considers even the slightest wavering from the atheist dogma to be an indication of mental retardation.

    So how would I approach it? That's a tough one. NOT through anger or guilt trips (a la "you committed to a Christian relationship and are backing out without my consent") or debates. Maybe try a simple discussion. Hear him out with a willingness to really listen and absorb all of his thoughts on the subject. Just hear what he is saying and try to understand where he is coming from. That, at least, is a good start and it generally is worthwhile for any time your marriage gets a bit rocky. If you're lucky and if your husband is truly a good person, he'll come around to being open to listening to why you believe what you believe. So now would be a good time to start brushing up on that. From the sounds of it, your days of lackadaisical acceptance of Christianity are behind you. There are plenty of resources for you to learn about how a belief in God is rationally justified. Here are a few books and websites that you might want to start reading:

u/Aragonjohn7 · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

The best stances on this ( in my mind ) are

Fr. Spitzer, professor Feser, and peter kreeft

u/MJtheProphet · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

>The earliest written records of Jesus were written within 40 years of Jesus's life, which are some of the earliest records when compared with other historical figures.

The dating of Mark to around 70 is contentious; it could easily be an early-2nd-century document. It's also not true that more contemporaneous records are not common; many figures from history we know from things they or their contemporaries wrote. And the stories about Jesus aren't histories, so comparing them with things that are histories, like Arrian's work about Alexander, is disingenuous.

>They are also very consistent, which would seem unlikely if Jesus's life had been exaggerated.

No, they're not. And in almost all the places where the Gospels agree, they're identifiably using an earlier Gospel as a source, often Mark. That doesn't mean that source is any more reliable.

>Somehow, Christianity survived for 300 years while being actively punished and rejected by the Roman Empire.

Not really.

>Since then, Christianity has taken a huge part in western civilization.

This is in no way an indicator that its historical claims are true.

I think Jesus began as a preexistent celestial being, an archangel granted special power by God, crucified in the heavens by Satan and his demons, just as Paul presents him. The stories placing him on Earth were a later invention, probably originally meant as allegories, or to use a familiar Christian term, parables. Taking them literally proved to make them convincing, which proved to be politically advantageous.

u/SabaziosZagreus · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

For the Hebrew Bible, read the NJPS (New Jewish Publication Society) Tanakh (available online for free here). If you want a Jewish point of view accompanying, get the Jewish Study Bible featuring the (New) Jewish Publication Society Tanakh. Do not read the original (1917) JPS Tanakh (it is very outdated and was really a revision of a non-Jewish translation). Also do not read the Complete Jewish Bible or the Orthodox Jewish Bible as these are actually both Christian translations pandering to Jews.

For Christianity, read the NRSV. If you'd like commentary, there's always the NOAB with the NRSV.

For the Qur'an, my Muslim friends default to the Yusuf Ali version. It's a little old and dated though. A friend and I used the version by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. It's easier to read, but he sometimes goes for the figurative meaning over the literal translation. It's also a little stylistically different than some older translations (not a good or bad thing, just saying). I think it's gaining some popularity among some circles.

u/BobbyBobbie · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Huh? Whole chunks of NT are questionable. Even entire chapters of Paul are questionable. The gospels are a complete mess.

Okay, and there's people much smarter than you or I who, after years of research, disagree with you. This shouldn't surprise you. Saying "Gospels are a complete mess" tells me you don't really know the other side very well. Probably still asking questions like "Well then who was at the tomb? One woman or three", yeah?

A great recent addition to this discussion is Bauckman's "Jesus and the Eye Witnesses" -

> They don't call it apologetics because there's a good solid foundation for Christian beliefs.

Lol, they call it apologetics because it's based on the Greek word "apologia". Nice try though.

u/hammiesink · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

Yes, I try to remain pretty neutral. If you get into religious philosophy, you'll be amazed at how the philosophers seem to be really interested in the truth, and not just supporting presupposed dogma. Atheists write books defending cosmological arguments, Christians write papers attacking Christianity, there are atheists that are dualists of the mind, and Christians that are materialists of the mind.

The dispassionate and rational evaluation that is supposed to be happening on sites like is to be found instead in academic philosophy. Honestly, when I look at Dawkins' site now, I can't tell the difference between it and these wackaloons.

u/plissken627 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion This book was a best seller, it came out in 1993, it caused quite the commotion, I don't know how old you were when it came out. It gives a comprehensive guide to how Judaism is derived and inspired by Babylonian and Canaanite religion. It is quintessential to most theology university courses. Here is the video that summarizes the book

We also know about the origins of the Isrealites. They did not come from an enslaved people in Egypt, they were former Canaanites that rebelled.

I highly highly recommend watching this NOVA documentary, it gives mounds of archaeological proof that refutes a lot of what is mentioned in the OT; especially the greatest of all, the exodus.

u/jlew24asu · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion
  1. we dont know yet

    atheists dont know the answer and we are humble enough to accept and admit that. we actively support however, trying to find answers.

    if you really want to dive into this, one of the smartest men on earth (IMO) wrote a whole book on this one topic.
u/UnableFaithlessness · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

> So this hinges on what your definition of “God” is. If God is a collection of attributes (the entire collection being termed his “nature”, or his “God-ness”) and Jesus shares completely in all that particular collection of attributes then we can properly call him “God”. If the Father shares equally in all those attributes of “God-ness” then he is also “God”. These attributes are such things as being creator, uncreated, unlimited, eternal, almighty, lord, etc.

That's impossible. One of those attributes is indivisible unity: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One" (Deut. 6:4). There cannot be a separate person that is also God.

Jesus is very clearly depicted as a separate person in the CNT (e.x. by praying to God, by saying that God has forsaken him, etc.). This means Jesus does not participate in the divine attribute of indivisible unity - and thus cannot be God.

A being that shares in some of the divine attributes but not all of them cannot be called "God."

>Firstly, I argue that there are attributes which the “Persons” of God have which we do not consider part of the core collection of attributes which we understand to constitute “God-ness”. These are separate attributes to that “nature” of God, and therefore, as separate attributes, we ascribe them not to the “nature” of “God”, but to the “nature” of one of the "Persons".

That would be well argued if indivisible unity weren't a core attribute of the "nature" of "God." The whole idea of separate "Persons" that participate in God requires abandoning that core theological claim.

At most charitable to the CNT: Jesus was some kind of angelic being. This is what Bart Ehrman argued the earliest Christians believed (see How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from the Galilee). Ehrman even argues that Paul believed this.

u/Xetev · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>A claim whose veracity can never be tested or verified. Got it.

Do you only believe in what is scientifically verifiable?

>if it occurs, can be measured,

What? how would you measure it? is there some god-o-meter i don't know about?? I mean most theist will say that god instigated the universe which makes the laws of physics essentially the action of god if done with intention. But say, look at a miracle, how can you test it using science which is methodologically naturalist when supernatural miracles are by their nature non-repeatable phenomena. The second science can test or replicate a miracle it is no longer a miracle the question is malformed.

>Which of the thousands, millions or billions of definitions of god are we talking about?

The core claim of all monotheistic traditions today which also lies at the heart of many other traditions: this is of a necessary premise, common to all classical theistic philosophies. That is god as the source and ground and end of all reality. The immaterial transcendent reality of which all things are contingent upon. This can describe Brhama,the Sihk god the Abrahamic gods, it applies to various Mahayana formulations of the Buddha consciousness or nature or even earlier the conception of the unconditioned, or to certain aspects of the tao.

For a more thorough explanation go to David Bentley Hart's work The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss

This, essential belief that all major religious traditions have some premonition of is what I'm concerning.

>What if it was actually an alien? You'd just be fooling yourself into believing something that you wanted to believe, not believing what actually is.

Thats kinda my point... science cannot prove or disprove god, there will never be a way to be certain even if he walked up to you and said hello

The existence of god is and always will be an a priori claim, now you can dispute all a priori knowledge but that is a different question for another time. The fact of the matter is that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of god, it is a category error (at least regarding the vast majority of major world religions)

u/all-up-in-yo-dirt · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

A little historical context goes so far.
If you ever need to get a present for a Christian loved one or someone interested in Religious Studies, get them one of these:
The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version

It really helps break the cycle of dogma and actually gets people thinking about things for themselves.

u/DEEGOBOOSTER · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

>I don't know any physicist who would say we "came from" nothing at all.

Me neither, but there are influential people out there writing books about the topic. I.E. A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (although Krauss is a Theoretical Physicist)

>I should clarify that I mean "something that is self-existent" in the vaguest and most non restrictive way possible: quantum foam or universe generator of a sort of higher order multi verse space, for instance.

Of course :)

u/Veritas-VosLiberabit · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Subsistent being: God is the experience of being itself. Rather than being an object within reality God is reality itself. See:

2+2=4 is also necessarily true. It cannot be any other way than the way in which it is. Is the fact that that is axiomatically true an example of "circular logic"?

u/PlasmaBurnz · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Okay so if you arrived at God's existence, how did you do it, and how can you repeat the experience so I can feel him too?

I already attempted that, but you called it "a list of meaningless words". Since that didn't work, you should probably go to the professionals and maybe it will sink in. Free Reading. Buy a book. Youtube. If you need help with words, you can consult a philosophical dictionary and look back between different writers to get a sense of what they are referring to. Reading Aristotle could help you out too.

It's not an "experience" you feel, it's a logical proof. It convinced Anthony Flew, one of the fathers of modern atheism.

u/creepindacellar · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

this really was a good book, if OP really wanted our best understanding of what "nothing" is, and why it is so hard to come by.

"A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss

u/PrisonerV · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Okay, and there's people much smarter than you or I who, after years of research, disagree with you. This shouldn't surprise you. Saying "Gospels are a complete mess" tells me you don't really know the other side very well. Probably still asking questions like "Well then who was at the tomb? One woman or three", yeah?

And there are a lot of smart people, smarter than you or I who say that the gospels have lots of historical problems for instance...

> A great recent addition to this discussion is Bauckman's "Jesus and the Eye Witnesses" -

There were no eye witnesses to Jesus. The gospels were written at least two generations after his death and the verification for the life of Jesus is pitiful. Meanwhile, some of the verifiable events (earthquake, eclipse, Harod's actions, etc.) are shown to have not occurred.

Anyway, good luck with your appeals to authority.

u/thezoen99 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You didn't even begin to answer the question. Thank you for posting though.

Read some physics, there's a great new book by Laurence Krauss.

There are some very good ideas out there about the question I think you're asking, but it's so poorly phrased that I'm really not sure. Reading books other than the bible is a good start though.

u/arachnophilia · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Also, monolatrism was present in a number of belief systems throughout Europe and the Middle East. Its not a stepping stone to monotheism.

evidently it can be. monotheism is not necessarily the terminal state of religious evolution, and you don't necessarily have to have monotheism come from monolatrism. for instance, in greece, monotheism seems to have come from a philosophical tradition unrelated to the polytheistic/henotheistic/monolatrist cults. in egypt, monotheism very briefly existed rather suddenly when one pharaoh just rejected all the other gods, with no monolatrism in between.

however, in the ancient near east, there was already a tradition of monolatrism across just about every canaanite culture in the bronze age, with similar traditions in babylonia/sumeria/akkad. the israelites were monolatrist because the people they descended from were monolatrists.

> Now how did Judaism become monotheistic? Probably conquest and forced conversion.

that's, uh. i don't even know what you mean here. but it wasn't the answer to the question i was asking. of course there was probably some conquest involved, as one monolatrist cult became monotheist and struggled for power against the other cults. this may have happened under the reign of josiah of judah, shortly prior to the babylonian exile of 586 BCE. it's also possible that something similar happened around the return from exile a few years later, when the more persian influenced jewish aristocracy came back with some new ideas. this is the generally accepted model in academia. it's also possible that the babylonian invasion effectively eliminated the non-yahwist cults in judah. hard to say. but what nobody in academia doubts is that prior to being monotheist, the tradition that led to judaism was monolatrist, with yahweh as the patron god.

we don't doubt this because we have the stuff they wrote down about it.

> The obvious fact that they've directly stolen from their neighboring religions demonstrates the invalidity of their claims.

uh, okay. and? religious traditions borrow from others all the time. the israelites/judeans were canaanites, they have mythology similar to other canaanites, yes. not a surprise here. it's just that instead of worshiping hadad, or melqart, or hammon, whom other canaanite cultures called "baal" (lord), they worship yahweh, whom they call "adonai" (my lords).

> You continue to insinuate deeper meaning, as if the conclusions of monothiests are true and obvious, but if they are... prove it. Support your statement. Don't insinuate false knowledge.

i'm not sure what you think i'm arguing, but i suggest starting at the top again, and re-reading my posts. this time, don't assume i'm defending some particular religious tradition, and note that i say things like "we have no reason to" "take religious traditions at their word", and that i'm arguing for a relatively late shift towards monotheism around the time of persian contact.

> Prove this. Prove that they were yahwists.


>> אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים: לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי.

>> we are yahweh your god, that brought you out of egypt, from the house of slavery. do not have yourself other gods in my presence.

the person who wrote this is a) a yahwist (see the name יְהוָה there?) and b) monolatrist (see how he says not to have other gods, rather than that there are no other gods?) this text was compiled around the time of the babylonian exile, 586 BCE, or shortly after from component sources that antedated the compilation. the components are probably in the range of 800-700 BCE for J and E, 600 BCE for D (probably written specifically for josiah), 500 BCE for P, and all over the place for R.

> You keep citing yahwist monolatrists, but that was never a thing.

they literally left us a book about yahweh and monolatrism. we know they existed.

> You're inventing history to satisfy your need for deeper meaning.

i am not!

> But it's a blatant fabrication, and when directly addressed, you simply refute a semantic misinterpretation as if that's a valid rebuttel instead of supporting your claim with evidence. All red flags.

would you rather i throw the books at you?


    > I genuinely don't understand how people can purport deeper meaning from these belief systems.

    i... really don't care? that's not what i'm trying to do here. i was trying to present a model for how persian zoroastrianism influenced early judaism-proper, but you came in an objected to the fact that used the term "monolatrist yahwist" as if such a thing didn't exist, because... you think i'm looking for some deeper meaning here? defending christianity? what? i don't think you've read my posts to carefully, and i don't think you're at all familiar with iron age ii mythologies or cultic systems...

    > The stories of the Abrahamics are shared by older polytheistc religions.

    no, older monolatrist religions. the enuma elish, for instance, from babylonia, is a monolatrist text heralding marduk above the other gods. it has some things in common with the later israelite creation myth. the canaanite baal cycle is a monolatrist text heralding baal above the other gods. it has some things in common with several later biblical texts. we generally lump "monolatrism" in with "polytheism" in some discussions, so it's unclear why you're objecting to it above as it i meant "monotheism". the ancient greeks, for instance, were generally divided into different monolatrist cults, but we consider greek mythology in general polytheistic.

    > To this day they are filled with numerous historical inaccuracies,

    it's much worse than simple inaccuracies, i assure you. much of it is outright mythology.
u/WastedP0tential · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

I'm pretty sure it's the majority position in academia and very well supported by evidence. Check out

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark S. Smith – The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel

Avigdor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends

Robert N. Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

The idiotic position is "Moses wrote it", which isn't supported by any evidence or reason and almost definitely a lie fabricated in order to fool people.

u/DSchmitt · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You can check out his book on the subject, or one of his lectures.

In brief, no matter or energy, time or space, but we still have a quantum foam. In this quantum foam, time and space, matter and energy can be created without cause. The non-existence of the quantum field can not exist, it always was and always will be. It is not dependent on time and space, matter and energy, and thus doesn't have a beginning or need a cause.

u/scarfinati · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Subsistent being: God is the experience of being itself. Rather than being an object within reality God is reality itself. See:

Violates the law of non contradiction. If god is reality then why do we have two separate labels for those concepts? I’ll tell you why, because they are different concepts. If god is nature then you’re basically a pantheist.

> 2+2=4 is also necessarily true. It cannot be any other way than the way in which it is. Is the fact that that is axiomatically true an example of "circular logic"?

No because mathematical proofs don’t assume the conclusion in the proof. Whereas unproven claims about a god being do.

u/S11008 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>I might have to chat with him sometime.

Chat with the convert in question? You're doing it right now. :)

>I'm not sure how one could get from a "prime mover" to God without some kind of assumption.

Wikipedia is usually skimpy. You can try Feser's beginners book here, but you might want to go to hammie's summaries here first.

edit: Thanks re: cakeday. My first! :D

u/SunAtEight · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Read How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee by Bart Ehrman if you are sincerely curious and not just attempting dawa. Bart Ehrman is a very respected scholar who has written a number of books for non-scholars and since you are from a Muslim background, all of his works in general will address the question of the textual history and development of Christian beliefs and scriptures (its "corruption"). He is now an agnostic atheist, so none of his books for a general audience will be trying to convert you to Christianity or hide uncomfortable facts about Christianity.

u/mhornberger · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Thanks for your response. My understanding and phrasing came from these sources:

  1. Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
  2. Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes
  3. The Inflationary Universe
  4. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
  5. Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
  6. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

    Yes, I read all of those. Several of them more than once. I've been reading about inflationary cosmology for a little less than a decade. Wikipedia's page on eternal inflation is also an interesting read, though brief. Regarding ontology, I'd welcome any argument you'd like to make. I'm not an expert in the scholastics, but I've been reading apologetics on and off for a couple of decades. I was treating ontology as being "the study of what there is," to quote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. If that's too broad for you, please make an argument, or clarify what you're claiming.
u/NDAugustine · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

Faith and reason are not opposed to one another. For a Catholic perspective, read John Paul II's Fides et Ratio. One of the ways that rationality helped me move from being a Nietzschean atheist to being a Catholic is the philosophical incoherence of materialism. I would recommend a recently-published book by the Orthodox Philosopher/Theologian David Bentley Hart titled, The Experience of God, which has one of the best arguments against materialism as a philosophy I've ever seen.

u/JeweledEdge · -1 pointsr/DebateReligion

>It posits that the Torah/Pentateuch/OT/Hebrew Bible... whatever u call it, was written in a fragmented way and compiled by diff sources/writers based on analysis of different writing styles used in the scripture (aka use of Yahweh as the name for God or use of Elohim/El)

Here's a great book that debunks the DH on what you're describing. Just blocking off names by YKVK and Elokim is not a thoughtful argument. Both names connote something different so their context matters, as do the other names of God laced throughout the Torah kEl, kEl Shakkai, and so on.

As for the story about Isaac, there's no inconsistency. He was brought as an offering, (here's a great essay on the lesson/meaning of that story), and since he was not offered, he became what's called "hekdesh," which means he was something set aside for a purpose of holiness (as one sets aside a certain thing for an offering, they are supposed to bring that specific thing and not something different). As a result, Isaac never leaves the land of Israel the rest of his life, unlike his father did and unlike his son Jacob eventually does.

The real issue with all this redactor theory is that no one is willing to claim who the redactor is. Judaism makes claims on who wrote every book contained in our bible, sometimes even specific verses. The proponents of the DH are constantly suggesting and resuggesting theories as every theory they've proposed gets holes poked in it. While people poke holes in Judaism's claims, we don't huddle up and suggest another one as there's no real need to.

u/brojangles · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I don't have a theory of everything, no, but I am referencing books like Laurence Krauss's A Universe from Nothing amd Stephen Hawkings' The Grand Design

Here is a youtube video of Krauss explaining it.

u/Talibanned · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Instead of restating what's been said a million times, I would suggest reading books like A Universe From Nothing. Its a great book which explains things in language people actually understand.

u/TheOboeMan · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I wrote the following reply to a different version of this comment:

Okay, I'm going to encourage you to expand your knowledge about St. Thomas, because some things you said about him and his arguments are not correctly nuanced, and others are flat-out wrong.

Firstly, Aquinas' cosmological arguments, if they work, do show a God in line with classical theism, not deism. The first and second ways are concerned specifically with the causes of things here and now.

Secondly, while it's true that the 5 ways do not demonstrate the God of Catholicism, Aquinas devotes hundreds of pages to demonstrating why that God demonstrated by the arguments is indeed the God of Catholicism.

I disagree that teleological arguments are bad. Palean teleology is bad, sure, but it's barely even teleology. But I want to put this aside for the moment and give you resources to learn more about the causal arguments.

Whether or not you are trained in philosophy, I highly recommend that you begin with Dr. Edward Feser. Feser began his philosophic journey as a Nietzschean Atheist and eventually became Catholic. His book, Aquinas (A beginner's guide) will be good even for you, since you have no medieval philosophy and very little ancient.

The book

Dr. Feser's blog

Dr. Feser also has a book called 5 proof of God, which I haven't read, but I've been told it's quite excellent.

u/spaceghoti · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

The random sampling I read did nothing to convince me, no. Many of them are refuted by other studies, such as the ones on prayer.

If you'd like a good overview on the topic I recommend The Demon-Haunted World.

u/Snarkiep · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

A physicist named Lawrence Krauss wrote a book on this. Its called a universe from nothing. Good read. Also, if youre interested another good book that adresses different attempts to answer the question 'why is there something rather than nothing?' is called "Why does the world exist?" by Jim Holt.

Heres some links:

edit: I just noticed that someone else mentioned Krauss in an above comment. Sorry for redundancy.

u/Leon_Art · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I was wondering if you saw this two part video (Part one and Part 2) and maybe the book (Karen Armstrong's A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) it was based on. I think you might find it interesting.

u/chipfoxx · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

That's your opinion, but it's simply not true. El was indeed a separate Canaanite deity. The name El and the term El are very different.

Archaeologists and Israeli anthropologists have found plenty of evidence showing that they were a tribe of Canaanites worshiping the same gods and goddesses. They eventually evolved from worshiping El to worshiping tribal war god named Yahweh. Their religion was primarily monotheistic. This isn't some conspiracy theory. It's widely known among ancient anthropologists.

Theology does not automatically trump evidence from archaeology and anthropology just because you'd like it to.

It sounds like you are upset because you have some sort of opinion on how the religion developed. I don't really care about opinions. The evidence is there for all to see.

u/IRBMe · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> The big bang could have happened without God.
>> how?

That's for another thread, which would probably be more suited to another subreddit like /r/AskScience. It suffices for this thread that it merely be shown to be possible, which I believe Lawrence Krauss argues well in his book, A Universe from Nothing. You can see Dr Krauss give a short lecture on his ideas in this lecture, from 2009. He provides a plausible mechanism and reasonable arguments in support of his ideas.

If you wish to claim that it is impossible for the universe to have come about by any means other than a deity, you must provide an argument in support of that claim.

u/NilNisiVeritas · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

(Proving that the first term must be intellectual is going to take us too far adrift here. Aquinas gives several proofs for why this must be the case. If you want to debate something related to that please start your own post. For him in his own words, see Ch. 44 of Book 1 of the Summa Contra Gentiles. But you are going to need a background in scholastic philosophy to understand what he's saying. For a good introduction see Aquinas by Ed Feser.)

I'm saying his argument transcends the science on this. If something is changing, then either that thing explains its own motion (change) or something else does. If it explains its own motion, then that thing is the first term in the causal series. If it doesn't explain its own motion, then something else is causing it. And either that something else is the first term, or there is again some other thing. Eventually you must arrive at a first term. That's all he's saying and as you can see there is nothing here that depends on whether Aquinas understood Newton's First Law of Motion. The argument works whether or not Newton's laws are true. That's what I mean by Aquinas' arguments transcending the science on this.

u/0FF_MY_MEDS · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I would say there is more truth to cypherhalo's comment than first appears. Most biblical scholarship and textual criticism (as well as biblical archaeology) unfolds naturally according to the particular scholar's philosophical pre-dispositions. Welhausen's DEJPQ theory is an example, as is Davide Hume's natural history of religion. In other words, I would say there is no such thing as "biased" vs "unbiased" views on a subject this large, one that requires multiple non-empirical judgments and hunches in order to form an opinion on. I would perhaps use an equally blunt contrast of "university press" vs "popular press" publishing – and stick with the former.

If you are interested in a full-throated defense of the resurrection by an Oxbridge academic, give The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright a look. It is 740 pages, so not exactly light reading; but what kind of scholarly investigation into such a subject would be?

u/Losehand · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Here's a great book that debunks the DH on what you're describing. Just blocking off names by YKVK and Elokim is not a thoughtful argument. Both names connote something different so their context matters, as do the other names of God laced throughout the Torah kEl, kEl Shakkai, and so on.

Umberto Cassuto died 1951. With all due respect, his work is quite outdated.

u/maymaytheist · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

Check out the Annotated Oxford NRSV. It has lots of notes, good historic and contextual intros to each book, and doesn't shy away from highlighting controversies in interpretation or inclusion/exclusion.

u/irresolute_essayist · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

The resource I hear most recommended is N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God:

u/Anonymous_Ascendent · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I'm saying that numerous scriptural authors included imagery of the seven headed dragon / Leviathan throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament. This is not an original metaphor, it is directly drawing from Judaism's origins.

The Old Testament was edited and re-written on several occasions by Yahwehists who want to move the Israelites into Monotheism. Deuteronomy, Psalms and Isaiah all have explicit references to the Canaanite pantheon members such as Ba'al and Elyon.

Eventually Elyon (the Father God) was merged with Yahweh (The God of War), and Ba'al (The God of Storms), Yam (Sea/river God) and Lotan (The Seven Headed Serpent) were merged into 'The Devil'.

Edit: if this stuff seems unfamiliar to you, you should familiarize yourself with biblical academics and start by reading this:

u/mynuname · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Here is a good article on the topic. Feyer's book, 'The Last Superstition' goes into a lot of detail on it.

u/ShamanSTK · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

> I can't pretend that what doesn't exist? Specifically?

Arguments for the deity. You can disagree with them, but you can't pretend they don't exist. And you can't pretend they don't follow rules and identifiable premises. They simply do. Objectively.

> I see this claim a lot, but I've never seen support for it. Talking about evidence without actually providing any is hardly convincing.

I'm now shilling this book. Here is the proof they exist. Go investigate.

Now we can end this thread.

u/If_thou_beest_he · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

There isn't a step by step guide, just like there isn't a step by step guide for any other thing we might want to know. If you're waiting for someone to tell you exactly what to do, you'll be waiting till you're dead. Only one thing to do, listen to the people who believe that God exists, try and understand them, read up on the matter: there's loads of philosophy of religion and theology, keep going. Here's a good introduction:

u/HunterIV4 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

I tried arguing this point on r/askanatheist the other day and had a ton of atheists getting pissed at me (one kept accusing me of believing in God even after I'd repeatedly said I was an atheist). They were trying to argue atheism wasn't even a was just true by default.

The annoying part is that there are plenty of good defenses of atheism. You don't have to prove God certainly doesn't exist for atheism to be a reasonable proposition. "God claims are not justified" is a valid atheist position, and the proof involves a reasonable argument as to why the opposite claims are unsound. Mackie wrote a book on this exact subject, well worth the read.

Not all theists are 100% certain God exists and have irrefutable proof for their position, yet they are still considered theists. I don't know why atheists assume any burden of proof requires them to take a 100% position against God existing and have irrefutable proof for it. If anything atheism requires far less justification.

u/mistiklest · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

You probably are looking for something like this.

u/MapleLeafEagle · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Well for starters, it should be obvious to anyone who reads the first two chapters of Genesis. Genesis 1 and 2 present contradictory creation accounts. The only way to reconcile them is to assume at least one (or both) were not meant literally.

I'd check out the New Oxford Annotated Bible as I understand that is the "go to" in secular circles. I'll see what I can dig up on JSTOR in the next couple days and send to you if you really want some in-depth textual analysis.

u/ChewsCarefully · 0 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Its still theoretical mumbo jumbo without a shred of evidence.

Please just read this book..

u/PM_ME_GHOST_PROOF · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Well, you're buying in to a modern atheist myth based on the incorrect application of the historical method. The existence of Jesus is as settled among Bible scholars as the theory of evolution is among biologists. If you're open to having your mind changed by new information (as most atheists claim to be), I'd suggest reading the link I sent. Ehrman also has a whole book on the subject.

u/irondeepbicycle · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

Pet peeve. Citing a scholarly consensus is an argument from expert testimony, not from authority. The argument from authority is a poorly understood fallacy, and is asserted many times when it isn't applicable.

And yes, there's quite a bit of work into the field. I'd recommend Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist for an easy, good overview of the historical arguments (worth mentioning that Ehrman is an agnostic). This Wiki article isn't bad either.

I don't really see the point in going into this in great detail. It gets rehashed in /r/DebateReligion from time to time, and IMO the Sam Harris acolytes around here already have their mind made up.

u/LesRong · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>I'm not jumping to conclusions on zero evidence.

Well then, I look forward to reviewing the evidence on which you are relying. I assume it will come from neutral, reliable sources, not Christian propaganda, right?


> historical facts which no reputable historian denies.

Like Candida Moss, Paul Hertog, Laurie Guy, and Joseph Lynch, all of whom agree that

> Despite mountains of contrary evidence, many myths are so deeply embedded in consciousness that they are almost impossible to dislodge. Such is the case with the mountains of myths surrounding the topic of the persecution of the early church.


> The fact is that Christians were told to recant on penalty of imprisonment, and other not so pleasant forms of punishment.

Do you have a neutral, reliable source to support this "fact"?

> The author of John's gospel was exiled to the island of Patmos.

We don't know who wrote the gospel of John.


So you agree that Christians were not "persecuted" as Christians, but just the same as all the Jews?

u/N8CCRG · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

Recommended reading (though I understand if you don't... it's extremely counter to your point of view and you sound very set in it):

u/encouragethestorm · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

The assumption under which this argument functions is that others are in hell. So "maximal happiness" would be "as much happiness as is possible, even though some other people, not being united to God, are in hell."

Edit: wording. In any case I do hope that there are very few people in hell; indeed it is possible in Catholic theology to speculate that all might be saved.

u/reubencogburn · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Don't take my comment as the view that you have to defend this argument.

If you want to see a full exposition, look at the chapter called The Rationalist Proof in Ed Feser's new Five Proofs book here.

u/cyprinidae · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I suggest you have a look at the book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. There might be a little more evidence of the Resurrection than previously thought.

u/Rrrrrrr777 · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You should read The Documentary Hypothesis by Umberto Cassuto. He rips it apart with nothing more complicated than knowledge of the linguistic conventions of ancient Hebrew.

u/PrescottSheldonBush · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

If I remember correctly, according to this book all the gods crawled out of a "primordial ooze" of some kind. It was polytheism before it was monotheism. That was adopted from another religion that already existed at the time. Here's a video on Youtube that might cover it.

u/blue_roster_cult · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

You should read N.T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God as it changed my mind about whether the resurrection could be established on historical grounds.

u/agnosgnosia · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Maybe they weren't united politically, but that's not the only way people can have a connection. Roman Catholics in Rome answer to a different political leader than Roman Catholics in the U.S., but that doesn't mean there is no connection between those people.

Check this book out if you think there aren't any connections between them.

u/pstryder · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Start here : The Demon Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark by Carl Sagan.

There's no reason for your parents to object to this; it's not about religion at all. It's about what science can tell us about reality, and how to know things.

You are on a quest for truth. This book describes a 'skeptical toolkit' that will help you identify truth.

u/efrique · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> If we have an even amount of positive and negative energy throughout the universe that adds up to zero (if this is wrong, please let me know)

It's not wrong, but it's a hypothesis. (out in about 11 days)

Given that with the science of very small things (quantum mechanics), many things are thought to be acausal, and given the early universe was very very small indeed, there's no reason to think it had to behave causally.

But in any case, such a change of state from a highly symmetric zero-energy condition to a less symmetric one (nothing to something) may be a spontaneous symmetry-breaking event

See also

but then see this:

u/dadtaxi · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

Ok then. Its very simple. if you look here Rowe thinks it is probably false.

So . . . . . argue amongst yourself now. I'm done here

u/thechr0nic · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

This honestly reminds me much of Carl Sagans book Demon Haunted World—Science as a Candle in the Dark
it deals with how to differentiate pseudoscience from science. how to apply skeptical inquiry to be able to distinguish the two.

I suspect (im willing to be wrong) that people who do not apply skepticism to claims are more likely to be convinced by faulty reasoning.

here is a link that has several of his quotes from the book and elsewhere, that describes some of the concept. If you have not read the book, I do highly recommend it.