This is the talk JT Eberhard’s gave at the University of Arkansas last Friday.
Skip to 1:10 in the video. As you can see, these guys are praying for God to start a war. Isn’t that nice?
How is it that people can claim that faith is a sure path to morality when things like this happen?
At the start of the video, you can see the answer to my question. A Christian protestor is echoing the standard line that Hagee & co. “aren’t true Christians”.
If you see someone makes you look bad, just say they aren’t really Christian after all! That way, you can argue later on that all that bad stuff is just a misuse of religion.
Anyone who believes in being saved through Jesus and follows his teachings should be considered a Christian. It doesn’t matter if they interpret the bible differently than you.
As an atheist, I am often reminded of the diversity of beliefs among Christians. It seems they need reminding themselves from time to time as well.
Last year, I went down to the University of Arkansas and asked an Anthropologist to guide me through the evidence of human evolution. If you have the time to watch, it’s pretty interesting. This information isn’t really easy to find online. That’s one of the reasons people have a hard time believing it.
This first video (in 3 parts) explains the differences between the skulls of our hominid ancestors.
These videos cover the differences in the pelvis and how we know if an ancient hominid would have walked upright.
This video is from Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Can you believe what these morons are saying?? Here are 10,000 reasons why they are wrong.
Just kidding, I completely endorse this message. In my experience, when people are rude to others, they often just don’t understand where the other person is coming from. We should all try to relax a little and dig a little deeper before being angry at other people. You’ll often find a whole other perspective you didn’t get before.
I cover some pretty controversial topics here. It’s not because I’m a huge troll (Ok, I am). It’s because I find these topics fascinating. As a result of the strong opinions, though, discussions can get pretty heated. I’m trying hard to make sure I criticize only beliefs, not people. It’s too easy to blur these together in religious and political discussions. I think people will respect my arguments better if I stick to this philosophy.
Ok, ok, I can’t let this go without one little jab.
Disclaimer: “God Glasses” also come with inability to see hypocrisy or logical fallacies.
Have you murdered someone? Get saved and God will rewrite your DNA!!! If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is.
[via The American Jesus]
I’d just like to address a few bits in this video:
“I mean the other day, the image came to my mind of Romans 9 where God compares me to a piece of clay. And he says, “You’re like a piece of clay and I’m the potter”. And so just that, I thought, wow, that means I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the potter is like. Think about that for a second.”
This metaphor sounds good, but how do we know it’s true? Maybe God’s an alien? Or maybe he’s supernatural, but his ways are completely within our ability to understand? How would we know? Mr. Chan has simply made something up and because it sounds good, people will accept it.
We need to get evidence for this, not look to the bible. No doubt, many theists think they do have evidence. They don’t know about the brain’s defects, though. Confirmation Bias. The Placebo Effect. Our brains are built to see patterns in everything. That’s the basis of intelligence. The downside to this is that we tend to “see” anything we expect to see. Our expectations dominate our perception of reality. This effect is frighteningly powerful. We need to use science to bypass our biases if we’re to determine the truth.
Most theists will accept the clay metaphor into their mind completely unchallenged, however. The conclusion? Don’t question anything about God. Turn your critical thinking off. It’s not relevant.
“I mean, we’ve gotta be careful here. We have to guard ourselves against, first of all, heartlessness. I mean, do you understand what we’re talking about? We’re talking about real people here. We can’t just have these theological discussions about a doctrine when we’re talking about people’s eternal destinies here at the same time.”
“And then I think about the carelessness. We can’t be careless in this discussion. We can’t just argue for our point of view, for what we think is right. And so we present our case, and we neglect all the other evidence? Man, do you understand what we’re dealing with here? We’ve got to lay everything on the table, and go, “Look, it’s your destiny at stake, so I want to just present all of the facts, everything I can think of in this book, and let you decide.”
If this guy knew there wasn’t a hell, he’d be a lot more relaxed. He could discard all that fear, worry, and guilt. I’m glad he’s trying to examine his beliefs, but when you start with the premise that “God is above all forms of questioning”, you don’t have much hope. Turning off your critical thinking skills is the worst thing you can do when trying to find the truth.
“Maybe the thing I’m most concerned about is this arrogance. In Isaiah 55, God says, “Your thoughts are not like my thoughts. And your ways are not as my ways.” He goes, “As high as the heavens are above the Earth, that’s how much higher my ways are than your ways. And that’s how much higher my thoughts are than your thoughts.
“So when we begin an argument with, “Well, I wouldn’t believe in a God who would…”. Who would what? Do something that you wouldn’t do? Or think in a way that’s different from the way that you think? Do you ever even consider the possibility that maybe the creator’s sense of justice is actually more developed than yours? And maybe his love and his mercy are perfect? And that you could be the one that is flawed?
No, I could believe in the God of the bible (if there were good evidence). I just wouldn’t worship him. I judge the slaughter of innocents that God commanded to be immoral. I reject the notion that if God does something, it’s automatically good. I decide what’s good or bad. I will not turn off my internal moral compass. That where the danger of this idea comes in. By turning off your internal moral compass, you put yourself at risk of doing things that are unchecked by your morals.
“You’re in essence saying, “Well, God wouldn’t think that way or act that way because I wouldn’t think that way or act that way. And yet, when I read the scriptures, man, all through this book, I go, God, there are some things you say that I would never say. There are things you do that I wouldn’t think to do. I mean, even from creation, so Adam & Eve sinned and you’re going to put a curse on the Earth? See, I wouldn’t think to do that.”
“And then there are other passages that are even more difficult for me to stomach. Like Exodus 32 where the people sinned, and God tells his priest, “Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to each to grab a sword, strap it to your side, and then I want you to run back and forth, and I want you to just start killing people. Some of them will be your brothers, your friends. Because of this sin. And I’m reading that, and 3,000 people dying, going, “Wow, did you just do that?”
In what moral system is slaughtering innocents a “more developed” sense of justice? What greater good could possibly be served by this? Is your desire for wanting to believe in a god really so strong that you’ll ignore the blaring siren that’s going off in your mind that says, “This is wrong”?
It’s really okay to not believe. The world doesn’t fall apart. You can still do good things. People will still respect you. Really! It’ll be okay. Just…. relax.
The death of a child can cause incredible emotional pain. My deepest sympathies go out to this woman and her husband. My first thought was that I shouldn’t discuss this, because it’s too emotionally painful for the parents. However, I found myself thinking about what the woman said hours later, and that’s usually a good sign that I should post about my thoughts. Also, this is very convincing evidence for a lot of people that God is real and active in our lives. It’s also being used by a church to promote belief in God. So, what the heck.
When doctors keep a baby alive that’s only 25 weeks along, that’s not a miracle. It’s just something really amazing that science did. A miracle would be if Benny Hinn brought Abraham Lincoln back to life. I’m not a doctor, but if this had been a home birth, I doubt the baby would have survived past childbirth. Why? Because doctors wouldn’t have been there to save it. So, here again, we have science doing something and God being credited for it. When will God do something that science or random chance can’t do?
This is made even more strange by the fact that the baby ends up dying. Now, yes, it’s an incredibly horrible thing to happen. It’s possibly the most horrible thing a person can go through. So, why would God perform the “miracle” of saving a baby’s life only to then take its life 4 months later? It doesn’t make any sense. What possible motivation or life lesson could there be from something like this?
The truth is, in a world with no God, really horrible, unthinkable things happen every day. That’s why it’s important to cherish each moment you have alive on this Earth. It’s up to us to make this world a better place. It’s up to us to reduce suffering and raise the level of compassion. There’s no one up there in the skies helping us make it happen. We have to take action to make this world a better place.
If you’d like to take action to help make this world a better place, you could make a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. Help empower doctors to have the tools they need to do their jobs. It’s a lot more effective that prayer.
Thoughts on the rise of atheism from Tim Keller, a pastor and author living in New York, NY.
I think it’s interesting to see again the common theme I’ve been hearing from pastors: If you’re not a totally, 100%, dedicated to God, Jesus-Freak, you’re not even a real Christian. In fact, you’re probably going to hell. In this case, the pastor doesn’t threaten the “mushy middle” with hellfire, he just dismisses them as if he never wanted them in his church to begin with.
I’m not sure what to think about this. I see the constant drumbeat of “be more fundamentalist” in lots of sermons, but I know lots of Christians who aren’t fundamentalists. What’s going on?
This is a detailed walkthrough of a guy’s deconversion from Mormonism.
I can really identify with this. Being religious is like living in a whole different world. There’s a whole different side to everything that most people don’t see. You have characters in your life that you talk on a daily basis that reside “in the spirit realm”. First, you have a little nagging question. Then, it grows and grows, and the realization that your entire life could be a lie brings about total panic.
I sometimes wonder if the people who don’t understand why this subject such a big deal for some of us have never experience the jarring transition of having the reality of your whole life ripped out from under you.