5 of the Silliest Things Atheists Say.


Widely acclaimed theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking.

1. That Jesus never existed.

This one takes the cake. The simple answer to this claim is that the historical textual evidence for Jesus is convincing. It is convincing in its earliness and abundance… it is really that simple. Professor Paul Maier remarks that “The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus’ existence.”

Agnostic scholar Bart Ehrman compares those who deny Jesus ever existing to six-day creationists: “These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.” The late non-Christian scholar Maurice Casey is most direct:

“This view [that Jesus didn’t exist] is demonstrably false. It is fuelled by a regrettable form of atheist prejudice, which holds all the main primary sources, and Christian people, in contempt. …. Most of its proponents are also extraordinarily incompetent.”

In agreement with Maurice is atheist historian Tim O’Niell who argues that he “can safely claim that most atheists are historically illiterate… [when] atheists comment about history or, worse, try to use history in debates about religion, they are usually doing so with a grasp of the subject that is stunted at about high school level.”

It would appear that many atheists like to drive the point home that many Christians reject, for example, evolutionary theory; something, they correctly claim, runs counter to the overwhelming consensus of scientists. However, out of the other side of his mouth the same atheist gives credence to the idea that Jesus never existed as a historical figure. This claim, it is worth noting, would be laughed out of professional circles everywhere. In other words, this atheist only likes the data that he thinks agrees with him but not that which doesn’t. This is the definition of a double standard.

2. That the Bible is not historical.

Whether one believes the Bible to be God’s inspired word or not, morally repulsive or morally exemplary, cool or weird it remains a historical set (one may argue library) of documents that stretches some 1500 years over history. As a result we have entire disciplines known as Biblical Studies/ Biblical archeology/ New or Old Testament Studies/ Theology etc. that emphasize studying the Bible through an academic lens. In fact, some 8500 members from more than 80 countries represent the Society of Biblical Literature. These people, often professors and experts in the fields, make their living as a result of this line of work. This would not be the case if professional historians would take the same view of fundamentalist atheists who argue the Bible is analogous to a questionable works of the likes of the Life of Apollonius of Tyana.

3. That atheists don’t have faith. 

When an atheist use the word “faith” he usually means belief in the face of evidence. This, argues the atheist, constitutes “religious” belief, as if one can simply define the human phenomenon of religion as a single entity. However, this is blind faith, the atheist is not mistaken by noting that. However, what the atheist does fail to note is that blind faith is not the only definition of the term. Faith can mean “evidence based.” This is to say that I have enough faith to put trust into something for sufficient reasons. I believe the plane will get me to my destination in alive. I come to this conclusion from interacting with flight-crash statistics, passenger testimony, professional opinion, and so forth. However, I cannot prove, in the sense of mathematical certainty, that the plane will get me to my destination. In other words, I have “faith” believing that it will. This is what Christians have argued is the correct application of the term to their beliefs. This is what atheists also have.

How do we know that the atheist has this kind of faith? Simple. He has faith in his naturalism (most atheists are naturalists). Naturalists believe that the physical universe is all that there is. That is a faith position; he cannot prove it, he argues for it and assumes it. Philosophers have persuasively argued that even though we believe we exist in a world as conscious creatures such a belief requires a level of faith. There is no 100% airtight piece of evidence that we can use to show that the external world exists external to our own mind. This is an unprovable metaphysical truth that we all assume is rational to hold, namely that the external world of trees and tables really exist. In fact, there are philosophers who have denied this, they are known as solipsists. Philosophers who believe the external world exists are known as objective realists. Therefore, without even considering atheism, Hinduism, theism, Taoism, or whatever else, we are all exercising faith.

4. You can’t prove that something doesn’t exist.

Yes you can. William Craig explains that “of course you can prove something does not exist. We can prove, for example, that there are no living tyrannosaurus Rex on the face of the Earth, we can prove that there are no Muslims of the United States senate, or as Dr. Shook’s says if you can show that something is a self-contradiction, that there are no married bachelors. So, this is an atheist line that you hear on a popular level all the time, but that the sophisticated atheists don’t take, because it is easy to prove that things don’t exist.”

5. That philosophy is dead.

Famous scientist, and atheist, Stephen Hawking made the claim that “Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead.”

This is a powerful statement… the only problem is that it is entirely self-refuting. To argue that “philosophy is dead” is to make a philosophical statement. It is to argue that life is meaningless and that, as a result, asking big existential questions is a pointless exercise. However, that is a philosophical position, it is a philosophy. It is a viewpoint that, one may argue, parallels the philosophy of nihilism. The point being is that Hawking’s entire view of reality is constructed upon a philosophy of naturalism. In other words, he maintains a framework of beliefs, a philosophy, of reality. We needn’t say much more than Professor John Lennox:

“For any scientist… to disparage philosophy on the one hand, and then at once adopt a self-contradictory philosophical stance on the other, is not the wisest thing to do – especially at the beginning of a book that is designed to be convincing.”

122 responses to “5 of the Silliest Things Atheists Say.

  1. Pingback: 11 Silly Things That Some Atheists Say | A disciple's study·

    • I might have agreed or disagreed with you, but I could not endure your lack of proofreading.
      Or do you know that you are making multiple, skin-crawling errors?
      I have difficulty giving any weight to the repetitious ‘points’ you seem to think you are making when you cannot even use the language appropriately.
      I was also still trying to slog through point 3 expecting you to change the direction of your train of thought, when I realized that you also, apparently, cannot count. I say that because your title indicates that you are going to present 11 silly things…But up until “silly thing” 3 you were actually still harping on thing 1.

    • 12 When all else fails and you can’t debate on the merits turn into a grammar Nazi so that you can clam the person presenting the facts that you don’t like is stupid and therefore all of their points are invalid.
      (See Helene’s comment)

    • Another attempt to square the circle on irrational iron age thought. Yes the Bible is history: but why does that even matter? Assertions like that only show the weakness of religious ideology. I.e. it needs the credibility of being called “history”. Have you watched the History Channel recently?…

      • History Channel? That network that does all those shows that explain how the gods and events described in Hinduism are actually aliens who have visited our world and helped build Machu Picchu?

  2. I am a recovering Christian, and i hate to break this to you publicly…
    but you are vastly incorrect about the majority of things written above.
    I would suggest studying up on the laws of logic, a bit of biology, and that last bit about atheism being a belief.

    • I appreciate the constructive criticism. But could I ask what biology, and the laws of logic have to do with the above points I made above? I know the laws of logic are required for rational discussion, but where did I make such a point above in the first place that is irrational on the part of the atheist?

    • Waverly he’s not wrong about Atheists asserting that Atheism is not a belief. Atheists do this frequently. If you answer the question “Is there a God?” with anything other than “No” you are not an Atheist. In that that “no” is a statement of certainty it is a belief. What many Atheists attempt to do is to self identify as Atheists and then under criticism retreat back to the agnostic position. Usually when cornered on this they simply repeat it the point with a slogan like “Atheism is a belief system like bald is a hair color”. It’s an extremely cowardly tactic that many Atheists use to claim that while they are free to criticize others, they may not be criticized themselves.

      • Semantics seems to be the final frontier for religion. I could ask you “Is there a Santa”. And then (assuming you say no) pronounce that you are a believer in the non-existence of Santa and then request that you prove your belief of his non-existence. But that sounds kind of stupid doesn’t it? I think most people would agree that a belief system refers to a positive assertion that something is real rather than the rejection of it.

      • Craig, the Santa argument is flawed and common. Yes you can disprove Santa by researching the origins of the story. It was never presented as truth.

      • no, the no simply means exactly no. It’s not a belief in no, it’s an assertion of no. Following along now?
        “Will you kiss me?” “No.” Are you fluffy?” “No.”
        No is an assertion, not a belief.

      • “If you answer the question “Is there a God?” with anything other than “No” you are not an Atheist”

        This is incorrect. The point is better illustrated thus: If your answer to the question “Do you believe God exists” is anything other than “Yes”, then you are an atheist.

        It is entirely possible to not accept a proposition, without implicitly accepting the negation thereof.

        “Atheist” applies to all people who do not believe in God. While the label does indeed also apply to people that believe there are in fact no Gods, such a position is not required.

        If you need more:
        The word theós (θεός) when used as an Adjective means “Divine”, as a noun means “A Deity”, “A god”, “God”
        The Greek word “Atheist” (ἄθεο), is technically an adjective (i.e. no plural form), and literally means “Godless”,

      • “Craig, the Santa argument is flawed and common. Yes you can disprove Santa by researching the origins of the story. It was never presented as truth.”

        Common is irrelevant. It is only flawed insofar as the example given. While one could argue that the origins of many facets of Christianity (for example) can likewise be researched, or that many stories in the bible (particularly the old testament) were not originally presented as truth, we needn’t do so. We can simply change the subject of the argument.

        The simplest, but by no means the only, amendment would be to say “do you believe in Zeus?” if not, then kindly proof the non existence of Zeus. Or Osiris, or Baal, etc.

      • W, I take your point. But as Chris Grimes suggested, feel free to swap Santa with any other mythology to your liking.

        Nevertheless, when I was a child Santa was actually presented to me as the truth by my parents (as was God) and I believed them. Why wouldn’t I? I had no reason not to trust them. They loved me and took good care of me. And there was lots of evidence for Santa too. There was Santa in the shopping mall asking me what I wanted for Christmas. Then there were the songs, movies, TV shows, and books all dedicated to Santa. And then on Christmas day, wow, presents from Santa! And also, the plate of cookies was half eaten, the glass of milk was half finished, and the box of hay for the reindeer was half empty too!

        But anyway, in case you didn’t realize, I wasn’t actually looking for proof of the non-existence of Santa. I was just using Santa as an analogy to make a point about who has the burden of proof when someone makes a claim and when someone rejects that claim.

  3. An interesting read but I find it tends misrepresent the atheist arguments, or do an inadequate job of addressing atheist arguments, or sometimes both at the same time. I thought I’d elaborate on my objections:

    1. “That Jesus never existed.” This argument is a lot like the freebie square at the center of a bingo card. It is often brought up in the field of Christian apologetics and argues against a position only a very narrow minority of atheists hold. While there are atheists who subscribe to the Christ myth hypothesis (essentially the idea that Jesus Christ was not a real figure in history), the overwhelming majority accept that Jesus was in all likelihood a real historical figure. I suppose that is why your article uses the phrase “Some Atheists” in the title, but how many or few hold that view is actually irrelevant. The existence of the person is still light years away from proving that the supernatural claims about him are true. Virtually no one doubts that Joseph Smith was a real person, or Sai Baba, or L. Ron Hubbard, or a countless other people at the centers of their respective faiths but their existence alone does nothing to prove their supernatural claims.

    2. “That it doesn’t matter how many independent source we have on Jesus.” I’ve personally never heard of anyone making this argument, which of course doesn’t mean no one else ever has, but there actually aren’t very many independent sources about Jesus from Jesus’ time and none that establish his divinity. As far as I am aware, Josephus comes closest to being an independent source from the time of Jesus but even he was born years after the crucifixion. Additionally, it should be noted that the work of Josephus survives only in later copied versions embellished by Christian scribes. As discussed in #1, proving that the man existed does not goes nowhere to prove supernatural claims.

    3. “That the burden of proof is never on them.” This one also largely deals with the notion that Jesus actually existed; this has already been discussed in #1 and #2, but the last bit refers to God existing which is an entirely separate matter. When dealing with a claim (such as God exists) it is important to be aware that the rejection of a claim is not a claim. In much the same way as being put on trial for a crime, one can be found by the jury to be “not guilty” rather than “innocent.” A defendant need not go so far as to prove innocence (although that certainly helps!), just that the evidence against him or her is insufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s all it takes to be found “not guilty.” Similarly, to reject the claim “God exists” one merely has to weigh the evidence for his existence and determine it is (grossly, in this case) inadequate rather than needing 100% absolute proof that there is no God. However, this is the “easy answer” for atheists and they usually only resort to this argument when atheists attempt to “corner” them with the challenge, “Can you prove God doesn’t exist?” Only the existence of a deist-type god would be challenging to disprove, the God as described in the Bible runs quite contrary to reality and not very difficult to disprove to a reasonable person. More details on that later!

    4. “That the Bible is not historical” This of course depends on the sense in which you are using the word, “historical.” If we mean being of historical or anthropological interest and significance, a sort of testament of the beliefs, values of its place, time, and culture, in much the same way that Greek mythology can teach us something about ancient Greece, then yes the Bible is historical. Does the Bible portray history accurately? Generally not. There are countless examples of historical inaccuracies and impossibilities throughout the bible. The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible (now available for free online) has a fascinating and lengthy section dedicated the historic and scientific errors the Bible. Just a few examples would be a lack of evidence that any major aspect of the Exodus ever occurred, or the non-existent empire-wide census taking place around the time of Jesus’ birth, the fact that Jesus was supposed to be born when Quirinius governed Syria and the reign of Herod the Great, even though the latter died 10 years prior to Quirnius’ reign.

    5. “That atheism is not a belief” This is essentially rehashing the argument from #3 in different words, in fact the quote from William Lane Craig in this section deals specifically with the idea of burden of proof. This of course suggests this may be a padded list. In any case, the argument “atheism is not a belief” used here is something of a distortion of the atheist argument that atheism is not a religion. Belief in the context of this list appears to be used deliberately as a vague term to create an easily-movable goal post for arguing around. It’s purely semantic.

    6. “You can’t prove that something doesn’t exist” Actually, WLC could not prove for 100% certain there is not a living tyrannosaurus living anywhere on the planet, he could just establish that it’s extremely unlikely. Someone could no doubt envision some absurdly improbable (and unfalsifiable) scenario in which one (or more) might remain. Nor could he prove with total certainty that there are no Muslims in the US Senate, sure he could get a list of every current senator and odds are they’ve all publicly declared their respective faiths… but… suppose that some senator somewhere secretly believed in Islam and was merely covering up the fact so as not to jeopardize his or her political career. It’s extremely unlikely but can you prove to everyone for 100% that it is not the case? So it is with God. One can point out how unlikely it is for the God who told Noah to build a boat or visited plagues upon Egypt to be real and theists will typically retreat to deism arguing that the atheist cannot disprove a God exists. It is interesting that WLC points out something contradictory such as a “married bachelor” cannot exist, as Yahweh is according to his attributes is a contradiction as demonstrated by the omnipotence paradox (e.g. can God create a rock so heavy that he cannot move it?). His omnipotence is also contradicted by the fact that he cannot forgive someone who could not believe in him. Likewise his omniscience is also contradicted in the Bible as he is said to express regret for having created people (how can someone who knows everything ever regret anything?), he routinely tests people (why would an all-knowing being need to test people?), he hardens the Pharaoh’s heart and then punishes the Pharaoh and his people for it, and the idea that he had to devise a plan to save people (from himself) for doing what he predestined them to do and for failing at tasks that he knew from before the beginning would be impossible for them.

    7. “That there is no purpose to life, then they contradict themselves” A purpose prescribed by whom or what? All of the cited examples of the purpose of Dan Barker have to do with the purpose he was assigned to himself. This is not the kind of purpose atheists are referring to when they say there is no purpose to life. They are referring to a grand plan that is the reason for which life was supposedly created.

    8. “That science disproves miracles” This is essentially the burden of proof issue again. It’s not whether or not science has disproved miracles, it’s that no one has yet proven a miracle. This article references the fact that there is often (much) testimony to support miracle stories. However, there are endless multitudes of miracle stories from adherents of most every faith; Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, etc all have miracle stories. What makes testimony of Christian miracles plausible but Muslim miracles, for example, easily-discarded?

    9. “That science is the only way to truth” Science may not be the only way to learn truths about anything, but it tends to be the best way. Having quotes from fellow who Christians who agree with you isn’t really evidence to the contrary.

    10. “That science disproves God” Science may not be able to fully disprove some kind of God exists, but if it certainly serves to disprove that the God of the Bible exists. As mentioned above, we know the Genesis account of creation is untrue, same of Noah’s flood, the Exodus, and countless other examples (again, the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible would be a good resource on this matter). This is of course in addition to all of logical impossibilities and problems the Bible is rife with, all suggest that Yahweh is fictional. Science has constantly put God into retreat as people have learned more and more about how the world and the universe works. For example, we now know that various pathogens cause infectious disease, rather than divine punishment, we now know what causes volcanic eruptions (it’s not God’s rage), and on and on. What the theists have left is “the God of the gaps” who is used as a universal answer to all of the questions for which we haven’t yet found an answer.

    11. “Stephen Hawking on the universe” This only shows you don’t fully understand Hawking’s work.


    • Thanks for the great reasonings. I doubt that any apologetics will reply this comment by the same rational arguments.

    • First of all, Atheism is not the position that the God of the Bible does not exist, but that God does not exist. That’s where the burden of proof ultimately lies. Secondly That the God of the Bible may be capricious and unpleasant doesn’t argue for his non-existence in the first place, and in the second a sola-scriptura understanding of God has not been the Abrahamic tradition until it was taken up by a minority of Christian sects post-reformation.

      • This is what I referred to as the “retreat to deism.” Regardless of whether one argues a god exists or whether specifically Yahweh exists, the burden of proof remains with the person making the claim. Should one believe something just because they can’t prove with 100% certainty that it’s not true? For example, if I claimed to be D.B. Cooper, could I argue the burden of proof is on YOU to prove that I am not? But that’s a pretty specific claim and it would be pretty easy to debunk if you knew more about me (such as if you knew I was born long after D.B. Cooper’s disappearance). This would be akin to the claim that the God of the Bible exists. But suppose I had a broader claim, such as, “I know the whereabouts of D.B. Cooper.” This, as a much broader claim, would be far more difficult to debunk, but the burden of proof would still not fall on you as the skeptic to prove for certain that I don’t know the whereabouts of D.B. Cooper, and you wouldn’t just believe me simply because you cannot prove for 100% certain otherwise.

        As to the second point, I did not intend to suggest Yahweh’s apparent capriciousness and unpleasantness was proof against his existence. I was intending to state that many of these key episodes in biblical history (the creation story, the flood, the Exodus, etc) run completely contrary to scientific and historical evidence.

      • I strongly doubt that you could even provide a list of all the Gods that would need to be dis-proven in order to call oneself an atheist. But nonetheless, if your God is actually as unpleasant and capricious (as the Bible and you suggest), then I wouldn’t want anything to do with it/him/her anyway!

    • 10. “That science disproves God” Science may not be able to fully disprove some kind of God exists, but if it certainly serves to disprove that the God of the Bible exists. As mentioned above, we know the Genesis account of creation is untrue, same of Noah’s flood, the Exodus, and countless other examples (again, the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible would be a good resource on this matter).

      The Skeptic’s annotated bible does briefly discuss creation from a Young Earth Creation position and offers good points specific to that position. The problem is that it (as well as YEC advocates) presupposes that the intent of the author was to express 24hour days. Hugh Ross discusses this in the books ‘A Matter of Days’ and ‘Navigating Genesis’ and on the reason.org website. Most biblical apologists, scientists, historians and philosophers (including William Lane Craig) don’t limit their interpretation of the bible to YEC. Many other atheists make the same mistake so I suggest you do some research on Old Earth Creationism, Theistic Evolution and the Regional Flood (as opposed to a global flood).

      • I am adequately familiar with the concepts you’ve suggested that I research and remain unconvinced. In fact I was raised as a YEC, became an OEC, and then realized this was hardly a more rational position and dispensed with Christianity entirely. To adopt this “middle ground” between Young Earth Creationism and naturalism, one has to relatively arbitrarily decide which parts of the Bible to take literally and which to discard as figurative. It is about cherry-picking parts of the Bible and parts of science in attempt to piece together a coherent world view rather than simply following the evidence where it leads. The Bible itself forbids such an approach, for instance 2nd Timothy 3:16 asserts that ALL scripture is God’s truth. Not to mention all of the philosophical and logical problems generated by this perspective, for instance, if a Christian is to hold that creation according to Genesis isn’t literally true and that people really are the result of millions of years of evolution then what does that do the whole idea of original sin?

        • Although there are some Old Earth Creationists that hold to taking much of the bible as allegory that isn’t required. Ancient Hebrew was limited to around 8,000 words so many words such as ‘day’ and ‘world’ had multiple literal meanings. Day can have a literal meaning of sunrise to sunset, from sunset to sunset, or a long indefinite period of time (possibly even millions or billions of years).

          The concept of world in ancient times had to do with civilization rather than planets. We still use similar phrases like ‘Western world’ or ‘Roman world’. It would be ridiculous to say that the Roman world existed on a different planet than the Western world.

          We have to allow context, culture, archaeology and science to help us decide on the best definitions of the words. This isn’t arbitrary. To say that people like Norm Geisler, Hugh Ross and William Lane Craig arbitrarily decide what’s literal and what’s figurative misrepresents the decades each has spent examining the biblical text and comparing it to other fields of research. Also saying that they ‘cherry pick’ verses shows that you don’t understand the effort that they and many other scholars and apologists make in finding the actual intent of the biblical authors. It’s more about discovering the truth than defending a philosophical or religious worldview.

          The problem that many critics have is that they look for the worst possible interpretation and then try to show that as evidence that the bible is false.
          A mathematical example would be 2+2=X. We cannot just say it’s false because we can substitute 5 for X. As long as any number fits the expression it may be true.

          As for 2 Timothy 3:16 let’s look at the context:
          14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

          I don’t see anywhere in there that scripture is intended or required to establish the age of the Earth, explain evolution or support philosophical naturalism.

        • If human evolution is true then isn’t it odd that none or our relatives are shown to be actually related to us? All the hominids are understood to represent side branches rather than actual human ancestry. If we were to draw a tree based on time and morphology instead of fossils we have dots going back millions of years. When we do the same thing with DNA we get a different tree but again no actual ancestors. That’s why I lean more towards OEC than theistic evolution.

      • The day-age interpretation of Genesis is simply not a coherent perspective… for one thing it would suggest that for millions of years there existed day and night before there was a sun, and for millions of years plants flourished before the creation of the sun, etc. That’s hardly more reasonable than the literal interpretation. Noah’s Flood as a regional flood makes no sense either, as towards the end of that fable, God promises not to kill humanity in such a manner again. If we are referring to a regional flood, then God has broken that promise many times over since then. Furthermore, if the Bible described a regional flood, would it not have been easier to simply flee the area than to spend 120 years cobbling together the largest wooden vessel in human history before or since? And what of the Exodus (which Jesus cites in the New Testament, by the way)? All of mainstream archeology agrees that the story is entirely fictional. Even Israeli archaeologists (who one might think would be biased in that this is a story that helps establish the legitimacy of their nation’s claims to disputed territory) have no problem admitting that the Exodus is pure fiction.

        So much of Christianity depends on the Old Testament being literally true that to discard it in the manner you have proposed, one may as well dispense with the New Testament as well. We are to believe an all-knowing, all-powerful being simply wasn’t able to find a way to express himself clearly enough to remove any such ambiguities when looking at his word?

        To call WLC’s, etc decades “research” cherry-picking was an attempt on my part to be charitable, perhaps a more accurate depiction would have been to call it weaseling out of intellectual honesty and consistency. The work of such people is unscientific by definition as it starts with the conclusion and then attempts to find evidence to shoehorn into the already-determined end result and to discard anything else. And I quote:

        “The way in which I know that Christianity is truly is first and foremost on the basis of the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart. This gives me a self-authenticating means of knowing that Christianity is true wholly apart from the evidence. And therefore, if in some historically contingent circumstance the evidence that I have available to me should turn against Christianity, I don’t think that that controverts the witness of the Holy Spirit. In such a situation I should regard that as simply a result of the contingent circumstances that I’m in and if I were to pursue this with due diligence and with time, that the evidence, if I could get the correct picture, would support exactly what the witness of the Holy Spirit tells me.” – William Lane Craig, 2006 interview.

        If we are to apply your 2+2=x analogy with 5 being likened to the YEC perspective, then the OEC, WLC, etc view is that x=4.5, a little closer, but still wrong.

        And no, your erroneous understanding of human evolution is almost certaily NOT the the reason you lean towards OEC.

        • First of all what when we compare YEC and OEC we are comparing 2 literal interpretations. Although I did explain this earlier you don’t seem to understand this.
          “ ..for one thing it would suggest that for millions of years there existed day and night before there was a sun.” – Where? What Old Earth Creationist argues that? Look at the perspective shown early on. ‘The Spirit of God hovered over the waters.’ If this Spirit represents an omnipresent God then there isn’t any need to include a location unless you are establishing a vantage point for the following text. Scientists now understand that the very early Earth had an atmosphere thick enough that light wouldn’t have reached the surface. A Mars sized object collided with the earth at just the right speed and angle to remove most of the atmosphere and water. There was light on the surface yet there weren’t any discernible objects (Sun, Moon and stars) until the settling of dust and ash particles along with the increased oxygenation and the reduction of water vapor.
          When referring to Noah’s flood you again misunderstand the text. God didn’t say that people wouldn’t drown. He didn’t say that there wouldn’t be floods. The impact of the flood was that it included nearly all of humanity. The surface area was irrelevant. According to the text sins of mankind were bad enough that the corruption extended beyond humanity. For someone who doesn’t grasp just how destructive sin can be I would understand the confusion. You claim to have been a Christian so you should be able to grasp the concept.
          “All of mainstream archaeology agrees that the story is entirely fictional.” – I’ve seen similar claims on atheist web sites that just amounted to posturing. Care to support that claim with evidence? Maybe you can use some critical thinking. Were they looking at the evidence based on the biblical narrative or a natural migration?
          “…literally true that to discard it in the manner you have proposed.” – What have I discarded besides your interpretation?
          “We are to believe an all-knowing, all-powerful being simply wasn’t able to find a way to express himself clearly enough to remove any such ambiguities when looking at his word?” – I don’t see the ambiguities that you think are there. The bible is useful in teaching about how to have a relationship with God. If someone isn’t interested enough to seek after God then the bible isn’t going to be relevant to their life. If someone is willing to seek God then they are not going to impose such ambiguities on the text. If you were at one time a Christian then you should know that the bible is primarily about relationship. It also followed the literary styles of the authors rather than 21st century writers.
          “To call WLC’s, etc decades “research” cherry-picking was an attempt on my part to be charitable,” – Obviously you have an unusual interpretation of charitable. Charity (an expression of love) is far from how you came across. Your follow-up name calling just shows that you have chosen to depart from using logic and reason to back up your claims. I see the same sort of slander and name-calling on atheist web sites and all it looks like is the person is being a jerk. If you want to convince thinking people that your position is true then don’t bother with those tactics especially with Christians. WLC often sends his work to the scientists he quotes to make sure that he’s accurately representing them. Norm Geisler taught biblical history and apologetics for many years. Hugh Ross is a scientist and regularly reviews the latest scientific papers.

          As to the quote you use WLC has examined the reasons for his position (I recommend that you do this also). Some evidences such as the testimony of the Holy Spirit are real to the person experiencing them but don’t translate into something that others will find convincing. WLC has been upfront about the nature of this so how is that weaseling out of being intellectually honest? As an apologist that regularly engages with the arguments I’m sure that he’s had plenty of experience with evidence that on the surface looks convincing against Christianity but under close examination doesn’t measure up. I know I’ve had that experience.
          “..then the OEC, WLC, etc view is that x=4.5, a little closer, but still wrong.” – You have yet to back this up with evidence that doesn’t rely on misunderstanding or misrepresentation.
          “And no, your erroneous understanding of human evolution is almost certainly NOT the the reason you lean towards OEC.” – If you think I misunderstand human evolution then you should be able to provide examples of human ancestry.

      • Whoah there, friend, slow down! You’re generating contradictions at rate that’s difficult to keep up with! I’ll try to handle them in order but the angry rant was a bit all over the place. Firstly, the notion that the day-age interpretation of Genesis suggests that for millions of years plants flourished before the sun existed is something that would necessarily be true if you are trying to reconcile the Genesis story with reality in the manner that you have proposed (that is, arguing that in its original language, the word for a 24-hour day is the same as what could refer to a much longer period, such as millions of years). Genesis 1:8 states that there was night and day on the 2nd day (age). On the following day (age) we are told plants are created, and only the day (age) after that we are told the sun and moon come into existence. Short of re-writing the Genesis account in its entirety, this is not a coherent view. Then again, it seems re-writing the entire thing is perfectly acceptable in your view, so long as you call it merely interpreting it differently. Then we have Noah’s flood, which you first stated was a regional flood and in this latest post assert destroyed nearly all of humanity. For both of these things to be true at the same time, such a flood would have to have taken place in southeast Africa over 100,000 years ago, thus completely contradicting the time and place of the Noah story in the Bible (nor do we have any evidence whatsoever that such a flood occurred in southeast Africa when most humans lived there). Current research suggests by around 50,000 years ago, humans had already spread as far as Australia (by which point, it would have taken far more than a “regional” flood, to wipe out nearly all of humanity). Attempts to date Noah’s flood have placed it as occurring a bit over 4,000 years ago, by which point even the Americas had long been populated and the flood would genuinely had to have been global to affect most of humanity.

        In regards to Exodus. The story is so problematic it’s difficult to decide where to begin addressing it. First, I suppose, for any of the attempts to date the events portrayed, we don’t find any evidence in meticulous Egyptian record-keeping to corroborate any aspect of the tale. During these alleged events, Egypt had in fact been flourishing, not losing all of its drinkable water, suffering from widespread disease, or losing all of its first-born children, or anything of the sort. The Bible narrative tells us that over 600,000 men (thus likely over 2,000,000 people in total) vacated the country, apparently leaving no evidence of the fact and no record whatsoever of such a mass departure. Keep in mind Egypt’s population at the time was thought to be around 3,000,000. Such a drastic population decrease would not have gone unnoticed and would have had significant effects on the country (though we find no evidence of that)! Archaeologists’ attempts to find any evidence of settlements from the Hebrews’ wandering the desert have all turned up empty-handed. In fact, there are no Egyptian records that suggest a massive number of Hebrews were ever enslaved in Egypt in the first place. Israel’s top archaeologist Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, for example, has asserted that based on archaeological evidence, and the lack thereof, there simply is no reason to think the Exodus account is at all true.

        Your claim not to see any ambiguities in the Bible is quite stunning. The fact that there exist about 41,000 denominations of Christianity would suggest there is certainly plenty of ambiguity on matters both big and small! Granted not all of these denominations differ significantly but no doubt many do. For instance, the passage in which Peter is called the rock upon whom Christ would build his church means something drastically different to Catholics than to Baptists. Similarly, I’ve heard biblical passages used to argue both for and against the notion of a tri-une God, for and against the practice of speaking in tongues. I’ve heard well-researched theologians argue the Bible condemns homosexuality and other equally-well-researched theologians argue that it does not and on and on and on. What’s more, if there were no ambiguities, then why would there even be both OEC’s and YEC’s? Each of these perspectives (pope vs. no pope, trinity vs. no trinity, tongues vs. no tongues, YEC vs. OEC, etc, etc) has theologians standing behind them with “decades of research,” all claiming that the best translation upholds their view and convinced that their interpretation must be the unambiguously correct one. In your case, I suppose it’s just a fortunate coincidence that of the approximately 41,000 camps, you landed in the correct one?

        In regards to charity, I was using the word figuratively (See? Told ya you have trouble telling the literal from the figurative!).

        • Since my previous comment was long and has been waiting a few days for moderation it may be best to keep on one topic at a time. Your personal attacks of people who have earned PhD’s in their fields and minor theological differences in denominations have nothing to do with science disproving the bible.

          You seem to have been taking the YEC view of biblical interpretation and simply adding millions of years to the time between days. That’s far from the OEC view. If the same God created the universe and inspired the bible then as we better understand both science and theology they will complement rather than refute each other. As Dr Hugh Henry has pointed out there are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. The bible therefore cannot be used to accurately understand the age of humanity. Those gaps fit with an interpretation of ancestor/descendant rather than father/son.

          If you are interested in truth rather than just trying to ‘refute’ what the bible says then read Genesis 1 and follow the perspective that it’s giving. The Sun, moon and stars could have been created in the beginning (verse 1) and not have been viewed as independent sources of light until the oxygenation of the atmosphere from plants (verse 4).

        • Since as I pointed out earlier the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies contain gaps we cannot just add up the ages and determine the time of the flood. Ancient cultures didn’t care about the age of humanity or a complete listing of all ancestors. It makes sense that any list containing thousands of names would be shortened in a culture that relied on memorization rather than a written language. The Out of Africa model is actually one of the things you would expect if Genesis was true. And if the multinational view were true that would be a refutation of the biblical account. We see human civilization staying in Africa 50 to 150 thousand years and then migrating all around the world. If the biblical flood account was true then such a flood would explain the need for migration and the flood stories present in a variety of cultures around the world. Your contradictions are simply interpretations that extend beyond the original intent of Moses and how early readers would have understood the historical account.

      • I don’t feel as though I’ve committed any personal attacks on any of these PhD’s, merely provided an assessment of their work as erroneous, intellectually dishonest, inconsistent, and unscientific. Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, one might point out your dismissal of the existence of 41,000 Christian denominations as irrelevant “minor theological differences” might be another example. Considering that in the eyes of these denominations, many of these “minor theological differences” are sufficient to send people with the “wrong” ideas to hell, this isn’t tomAYto vs tomAHto. I recall many years ago an old woman from another denomination told my sister (who was about 7 at the time) that she was going to hell for wearing a hairstyle with bangs. Minor theological difference, I guess. If someone happens to be a homosexual, whether or not the Bible (the supposed inspired word of GOD HIMSELF) condemns homosexuality is, again, not merely a “minor theological difference.” This isn’t a very scientific matter though… so why is any of that relevant?

        Two reasons. Firstly it shows that you are dead wrong in your claim that there are no ambiguities in the Bible. If there are that many (often fundamentally different) ways in which biblical theology can be interpreted, it becomes extremely unlikely that Biblical science and history are somehow unambiguously clear and closed to interpretation.

        Secondly, it illustrates perfectly the flaw in the nature of your arguments in the following way: You are claiming, largely based on the authority of the aforementioned “experts” that supposedly have the most correct ideas about the best translations of the no-longer-existent original autographs and the most objective assessments of the scientific evidence that your perspective is true. But at the same time, other denominations with equally authoritative experts, their own PhD’s and decades of research, will also claim to have the most accurate translation and the best grasp on the scientific evidence. Yet they will say that your science is dead wrong and your theology will land you in hell. There are, for example, Catholic or Mormon (or YEC, for that matter) analogs to WLC and the like. This is the fundamental problem here, this reason why Craig, etc are unscientific, they start at the conclusion and work from there. In both their science and their theology, it is already considered a foregone conclusion that they are correct. In the same way as you have done, they can twist science and exploit the ambiguities of holy scripture to suit a conclusion already determined “wholly apart from the evidence” as Dr. Craig put it. If, in debating a Mormon scholar, for example, you were to point out scientific and historic errors in his or her holy book, he or she too would just as deftly tap dance out of it all by condescendingly claiming that you simply don’t understand sufficiently. Just as an easy example, the Book of Mormon makes several specific references to pre-Columbian Americans using “swords of steel” even though no evidence exists whatsoever that steel was made/used in North America prior to European colonization nor did these people use anything like what we’d call swords. The response to this point should be strikingly familiar: that the word “steel” simply has a different translation than you might think due to the linguistic circumstances of that historical context and could thus have referred to other metals. The word “sword” could perhaps have referred to a somewhat analogous weapon such as a club. You could do this all day and all day they will find a way to way argue their holy book is not too riddled with factual, scientific, and historical errors to have been the work of an all-knowing, all-capable, perfect god.

        In light of all of that, one could easily argue that Genesis was indeed an attempt to write a narrative that could also have been used to determine the age of humanity. It can certainly be concluded that the ancient Hebrews were apparently rather obsessed with ancestry and genealogy based on how exceedingly important a theme it seems to be throughout the Bible and how much it mattered to both God and various biblical figures. Arguably among the greatest of Old Testament blessings was for one to have many descendants, we also see a great deal of importance placed on the first born son. Furthermore, the book of Numbers tells us that God punishes up to the third or fourth generations for the sins of the parents. Even into the New Testament, in two separate gospels we have (contradictory, by the way) lists of Jesus’ ancestry. It was clearly of great significance to be able to tie oneself without interruption to David or Moses. In a culture to which ancestry and genealogy were so important, the idea that so many generations would have simply been thrown out is extremely unlikely (there is, after all a HUGE discrepancy between how old anthropology tells us the human species is compared with the YEC calculations). If I lived in a culture in which ancestry was that important, and it was important to me to tie myself to say Julius Caesar, for example… would it be acceptable to say I descend directly from George Washington, who descended directly from Charlemagne who comes directly from the line of Julius Caesar. There’d be some major gaps that would need filling!

        • If you don’t feel you unjustly attacked anyone then maybe you can start showing examples that support your claims. Using ambiguities to attack the credibility and character of individuals does nothing to persuade me that any of that is an accurate assessment. I know that William Lane Craig and Hugh Ross put more effort than most people into making sure that they accurately represent the science as put forth by the authors of peer reviewed papers. I recommend that you look at their web sites before criticizing their work.
          I didn’t dismiss denominational differences, they just doesn’t have anything to do with the accuracy of the biblical text that was written prior to the formation of those denominations. How is that being intellectually dishonest? The bible is clear as to why people go to hell. People sin against other people and God. When we sin we have to repent (turn from) of our sins and seek forgiveness. We cannot erase the stain of sin ourselves but Christ died on the cross as the propitiation for our sins. As 1 John 1:9 says ‘if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteous.’ If you were a Christian you should know all this. Unless you can show in the bible that long bangs are sinful we can both agree that the woman was wrong. People often impose their own preferences on others and call things they don’t like sin. A good example would be people that called rock the devil’s music.
          The fact that people disagree on the morality of homosexuality doesn’t refute biblical inspiration. When I talk to people about issues like that their motivations for their position are often more centered on their emotions than what the bible actually says.
          You use the phrase ‘dead wrong’ as if stating a fact. Facts require a high degree of proof that you have yet to present. I think you totally miss my points and just think I’m saying something very different. If I were to say that sunrise was at 6:05 on a particular day I’m not being ambiguous about the earth rotating around the sun. I’m merely making a statement based on perspective. Someone may choose to reinterpret my statement and say that I believe the sun revolves around the earth but they would simply be taking my statement out of context. The same can be true if someone takes a particular verse of the bible that has multiple literal meanings and insists that a particular meaning is true. I often see that in the YEC position. They then may say that light traveled faster in the past based on their position rather than science or the bible. The OEC position accepts that the inspired authors of the bible were not trying to express the age of the earth as shown by the context. It isn’t about forcing science or the bible to fit an interpretation but rather looking at the best representations of both and seeing if there is an area they agree. If they are both true they will tend to complement each other.
          Any ancient document recorded on papyrus is going to be a copy. We don’t invalidate those copies based on speculation that the originals may be different. Instead we work with the best copies we can and interpret them based on the culture described rather than modern culture.
          Who is saying that my theology will land me in hell? As for WLC he will quote Catholic scholars. I see many scholars that have differing opinions working together and it isn’t a problem. It looks like your bias against these scholars distorts your perspective. Many of these scholars disagree on some issues but agree about salvation and the early church creeds. I’ve worked with several denominations and para church ministries for over 30 years. Most Christians don’t even discuss or care about the differences. Every year we have Presbyterian, Foursquare, Methodist and Catholic churches get together for a combined service without any problems.
          If genealogies were that important then why did Genesis 5 use different Hebrew words? The genealogies do show connections between people throughout history but you have yet to make the case that there was a need within their culture to include every name within those genealogies. You seem to assume based on modern culture that they must be complete. We see in the text gaps having to do with Moses lineage. A better explanation would be that it wasn’t that important to include all the names. Another indication the intention wasn’t to establish the age of the earth is that the text doesn’t bother to add all the genealogies to give a combined total. If you look at the genealogies (again there isn’t a need to be complete so you are making my case for me) Luke records Mary’s genealogy while Matthew records Joseph’s. Each was free to include or exclude people in the lists. That should show you that a complete list wasn’t as important as you seem to assume. We can see therefore that although ancestry may have had some importance (often blessings followed family lines) an exact list may not have been. Ancestry was also used in dividing up the Promised Land. It didn’t matter how a Levite descended from Levi.

          These posts are getting long so maybe you can try to focus on one or two topics that are relevant to the original discussion.

      • A direct quote from the most prominent of these experts in which he explicitly discusses disregarding the scientific method when an invisible being tells him to do so is not sufficient in your eyes to discredit him as a scientist? The original article I responded to featured all of the points these fellows like to make (many in fact revolve primarily around direct quotes). I’ve addressed these points and why they are either unsound, unscientific, illogical, or intellectually dishonest, or a combination of any of these things.

        Again, the existence of these denominations goes to prove that biblical text can be interpreted in countless ways and come to very contradictory conclusions. This is as true for the theology of the Bible as it is for its scientific and historical reliability (or lack thereof). Yes the Bible says our reason for going to hell is sin and that we should to repent and turn away from it and yet it is often very unclear as to what constitutes sin! Imagine starting a job where you are told you’ll get fired if you make the boss angry, only to find that there 41,000 different and often contradictory lists as to what makes the boss angry! In regards to long bangs being sinful, I would guess the old woman’s statement was rooted in 1st Timothy 2:9-10 which of course doesn’t specifically reference bangs but she no doubt learned from some theologian that this particular verse, if one looks at the original translation and the author’s original intent, must have meant what she thought it meant.

        Whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality matters in that someone must obviously have the wrong interpretation. “Is it a sin that one needs to repent of and turn away from or not?” could be a question of great consequence to someone. Each “side” is convinced that they have the unambiguously correct interpretation, the clearest vision of the original author’s intended meaning. This is precisely the problem with looking at either the universe or a book that is the end-product of a 6000-year-long game of telephone when you are convinced from the beginning that you already have the right idea about it.

        In regards to whether or not the OT was in part meant to be able to determine the age of the Earth, from the very beginning you have been conflating “could” with “did” in order avoid an unpalatable possibility, that the Bible just plain gets it wrong. For instance, you stated that the word for “day” in the original text does not necessarily mean a 24-hour day, but COULD also have meant a much longer time period. In the same way, referencing Noah’s flood, you argued world COULD perhaps have referred to the known world (a region) rather than the entire globe, and so on and so forth. You don’t actually have any solid evidence that this was the authors’ original intent, your rationale is simply if they did mean a 24-hour day and a global flood, that would have made them wrong, and they can’t be wrong because the Bible cannot be wrong. So they must have meant something else. Without access to the original texts or anything even remotely close to that (the earliest known written-down copies of scriptures all date to thousands of years after they were supposedly originally written) or presumably fluency in any of biblical languages you determine what the original meaning should have been. It is in the exact same way that Mormon debaters avoid the “swords of steel” problem. In their view, the Book of Mormon cannot be wrong so “swords” and “steel” must have meant something else.

        This applies to the genealogy argument as well. We can look at cultural and biblical evidence to suggest the Hebrews did certainly believe biblical genealogies were complete and useful in determining the age of the Earth. The Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, for example, does have biblical roots, marks the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, and serves as the Jewish new year. This the year 5775 from creation according to the Hebrew calendar. But maybe the people who are the least culturally, religiously, and historically removed from the original authors (and spent their entire lives dedicated to the rabbinical studies) know less about it all than the guys who just went to 7 or 8 years of college and run websites.

        As an aside, what would the utility have been of recording Joseph’s ancestry as it relates to Jesus? He was not Jesus’ farther.

        As to who is saying your theology will land you in hell? State your theology, I can guarantee you there will be denominations that will consider it heresy, their occasional ability to play nice in certain contexts notwithstanding.

        • I pointed out earlier that your direct quote doesn’t show that WLC disregards scientific evidence. All it shows is that he’s open to other forms of evidence. In the case of the Holy Spirit being evidence he has even admitted that it’s a personal or internal type of evidence that he doesn’t try to use in debates or to convince others. When quoting experts in their scientific fields he checks to make sure he is accurately representing what they say. This is far from what most people would call intellectually dishonest, unscientific, unsound or illogical. At best it expresses your biased opinion. If that’s the best evidence you have then maybe you should reevaluate why you are against such scholars. It seems to be more emotionally based rather than logically based.
          As to what is sin try reading Matthew 22:36-40. Also look at what Paul says about staying away from sexual immorality 1 Thes 4:3. As a gentile these verses pretty much cover your moral obligations. Keep in mind that these moral obligations are for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus. Without that relationship you cannot even satisfy the first (greatest) commandment.
          Rosh Hashanah didn’t appear in any text until around 200CE. It therefore isn’t in either the Torah or the bible. Jewish holy days are described within their context as symbolic. There isn’t any reason contextually to assume God instantly created the world on a Sunday, Monday or any other day of the week. The Jewish calendar wasn’t established until 300 to 800CE. We don’t even know anything about the person(s) that established it. This is no better than relying on James Ussher.
          The parts of the bible referencing a time before written languages would have been as short as possible and easily memorized. We see that style in the grouping of the genealogies. The earliest texts we have shown very little change over thousands of years. The scribes that made those copies were very careful to be accurate. This is because the Jewish scribes had to say each word as they copied them. They also checked each page both by having another scribe read and counting each word. Comparing this process to a game of telephone only shows that you haven’t researched it and are probably just repeating things from atheist web sites.
          Jesus was legally Joseph’s first son even though Joseph wasn’t involved in the conception. It was therefore a point of Jewish law.
          You accuse me of confusing ‘could’ and ‘did’. At the same time you are asserting that the OEC position cannot represent the biblical text (even though you don’t even seem to understand OEC). You don’t believe that YEC accurately represents science yet you assume that it’s the only way that we can understand the bible. You therefore create the contradiction rather than observe an actual contradiction between the bible and science. Consider 2 circles that partially overlap. You seem to only accept the areas where they don’t overlap as parts of each circle. I am including the entirety of both circles. Where they overlap they agree.
          Rather than making this post much longer than it needs to be I will refer you to the Apostle’s Creed. That has my theology and I tend not to add to it or take anything away. As I stated earlier most every Christian denomination affirms it. If you want to look hard enough maybe you can find one that doesn’t. Chances are if you do it isn’t a Christian denomination but you haven’t shown that you would be able to tell the difference.

      • Firstly, no, you did not “explain” the WLC quote, you merely made a grossly inept attempt at putting a rational-sounding spin on it. The fact of the matter remains that the “first and foremost” reasons for his beliefs and yours have nothing to do with the evidence. As he described it, in the event he is confronted with contrary evidence, he will merely assume that this evidence is wrong and there may eventually come a time when his position is vindicated somehow by other evidence. If he admits that he wouldn’t use the Holy Spirit as proof to convince someone else, then it seems strange (at best) that it’s the first and foremost reason that he himself is convinced. Surely people of all faiths have spiritual/religious experiences akin to “the witness of the Holy Spirit” and so it seems almost comical, looking at it from the outside anyways, to argue, “My spiritual experience is real and theirs is not.” Secondly, he has yet to present to any scientific argument that makes a God, particularly a theistic God the most credible hypothesis.

        The roots of Rosh Hashanah can be found in Leviticus 23:24-25, it simply wasn’t called that at the time and it has evolved to some extent over the centuries. You also don’t find it comically contradictory that you assert that next to nothing is known for certain about the establishment of the Jewish calendar and yet you feel completely at ease speculating as to the motives (i.e. must have been symbolic!) of the people who made it? Incidentally, this assertion you’ve made is either out of complete ignorance or it is a lie. The dating used for this calendar comes from the calculations of Yose ben Halafta; in his Seder Olam Rabbah (Great Order of the World) he established that the creation of Man as dated to the 38th century BCE. Ben Halafta was arguably the leading rabbinical scholar of his day (2nd Century CE) and this specific work has been accepted and considered authoritative by the Jewish people. It’s clear you’re just rationalizing on you go along. Again, this all comes from the work and understanding of people far less removed in every sense from the creators of Jewish holy scriptures, people who dedicated their entire lives to these exact studies. The difference between them and you is that they lived in a context in which they didn’t know that scripture was incompatible with historical and scientific evidence and so they didn’t see any need to concoct novel interpretations of the Bible. It was already consistent with everything they knew about the world and the universe. Only when the original interpretations no longer fit the the evidence (primarily from the late-1700’s onward) does the OEC perspective really start to take shape.

        Lastly, your final statement regarding denominations is little more than ham-fisted “true Scotsman” fallacy.

        • I can see that you hold onto your misrepresentations for as long as you can. Everyone (including you) has experiences that shape their thinking that are not the result of a laboratory experiment. Those experiences are very real to that person but may not be provable to another person. Since you don’t seem to comprehend something that basic to human experience I have to conclude that your atheistic worldview controls the vast majority of your thought process. You seem to have had past experiences with Christianity that has in your mind convinced you that it cannot be true. Rather than use those experiences as evidence for atheism you look for other evidences against Christianity while dismissing anything that supports Christianity. The difference is that in WLC’s case it’s about God (as opposed to it being about himself) and he’s upfront about it. He’s also interested in the truth. He spends a great deal of time going through the arguments of people who don’t agree with him and often expresses respect for those who have good arguments. He would rather interact with the best arguments rather than try to push someone in the direction of weaker arguments (as opposed to you trying to push the argument into YEC).

        • In the 39th chapter the Persian period was shortened to 34 years. Accuracy wasn’t important to either Yose b. Halafta or someone who altered the text later. Since we don’t have the originals we cannot be sure. The Seder Olam wasn’t held as inspired scripture so we have no reason to think it wasn’t altered later.
          Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi points out;
          “The Feast of the Trumpets shares with the Day of Atonement two fundamental differences from the other festivals. First, both feasts were not connected with any special historical or national event. They were seen as universal and most personal celebrations. A time for the individual to stand before the judgment seat of God, seeking for forgiveness and cleansing.”
          “The observance of the first day of the seventh month as Rosh Hashanah, the New Year of the civil and agricultural calendar, may have inspired the rabbinical tradition that Adam also was created on that day. According to this tradition Adam sinned on the very first day of his creation and God forgave him on the same day.”
          Accuracy wasn’t important since the Persian period was shortened to 34 years by Yose b. Halafta or someone who altered the text later. Since we don’t have the originals we cannot be sure. The Seder Olam wasn’t held as inspired scripture so we have no reason to think it wasn’t altered later. What early documentation do you have that actually includes the date of Adam’s creation? The earliest I could find was 8th to 9th century. That’s the problem with many early manuscripts. The copies we have or the references are often centuries after the originals and incomplete. We often have very few copies that appear within 1000 years of the original. In contrast we have an abundance of manuscripts relating to the bible. In your previous post you claimed that the bible was like a game of telephone. How much worse would the Seder Olam be?
          So according to your sources Adam was created, put in the garden, received instructions from God, named all the animals, fell into a deep sleep, had surgery, encountered Eve (and said at long last about her), learned enough about her to see her as compatible (Adam was able to figure out a woman in less than a day?), sinned and was forgiven on the same day. Perhaps you don’t understand the difference between inspired scripture and Jewish tradition. What you don’t seem to have is evidence that Moses and the other biblical authors actually intended to give a complete chronology for the purposes of dating the creation of Adam or the universe. Also why wasn’t the 7th day closed like days 1-6? Why was the same Hebrew word for day used in Genesis 2:4?
          You are confusing parts of my last post so you may need to read it again. In one case I mentioned that we don’t know anything about the originator of the Jewish calendar. As another point not connected to calendars I mentioned that the biblical holy days are contextually (that’s reading them in context) symbolic of events and don’t need to be observed on the same day that the event took place. Sometimes they are reminders of what should be done rather than a past event. So to take the Feast of Trumpets (in Leviticus it didn’t even have a name), connect it to Adam and Eve and then use it to promote YEC (something you only try to prove because you cannot defend your position against OEC) seems a bit of a stretch.

          As to the ‘No true Scotsman’ claim do you understand that the bible actually has theology? That was the basis for the Apostle’s Creed and other early creeds. Yes people have added doctrine and reinterpreted scripture to suit their needs and preferences. Most Christians avoid the doctrinal differences by accepting the similarities and not sweating the small stuff. It’s primarily people from the outside that emphasize the differences.

    • Paul, thank you. As I read through James’ arguments, I am continually struck both by how circular they are and by how strongly he believes himself. For example, believing the bible is an document proving history because it exists and therefore is history? That’s a very silly statement to a scientist and one that makes perfect sense to the religious.

      I do find it fascinating to try to understand a believer’s point of view.

    • Paul, that is an excellent response. You have pretty much summed up whatever I wanted to say, and more.

      James, you have been one of the more logical and consistent Christian debater I’ve seen. I admit that I have been guilty of committing some of the points mentioned. However, you have not fully understood what is meant in some of the atheists statements for eg number 6,7 and especially 11 which Paul has pointed out.

      I am looking forward to your reply to Paul

    • *wild applause*

      Very succinct. I see no reason for any other atheists to add anything else, you have wrapped everything up and put a nice bow on it.

  4. Thanks for your list James. I’ve discussed most of those things with anti-theists (atheists and agnostics that have an axe to grind about religion). I completely agree that if someone is making a claim about God existing or not existing then they should be able to back that up with evidence and reason. Unfortunately many Christians don’t take the time to learn apologetics and cannot answer basic arguments while most atheists I’ve encountered rely on ridicule and misrepresentation. When I ask for evidence to support their claims they most often default to ‘I don’t have to’ type arguments, throw out a red herring or end the conversation.

    • John I think unfortunately many clergy have regarded apologetics as akin to Phariseeism and have discouraged their congregations from pursuing it and created a false dichotomy where energy spent on scholarship is understood as time not spent on Christian charity.

      • I’m sorry to hear that’s been your experience. I’ve actually had support from my pastor in presenting apologetics. That’s one of the benefits of having a teaching pastor rather than a motivational speaker. My issue has been more of how people approach the bible and evangelism. Evangelism (or spreading the good news) and discipleship have lost their emphasis in many churches. Apologetics in the early church was part of both of those. It wasn’t just emotionally affirming but intellectually equipping. Many in the congregation just don’t have enough interest in being equipped. At the same time Christians admit that they don’t spend enough time reading the bible. In my opinion that can set them up for failure when an atheist presents basic arguments and misrepresentations.

        Many of the atheists and agnostics I’ve talked with have expressed strong beliefs that the bible is filled with scientific inaccuracies and logical contradictions. Often they will say that’s why they no longer claim to be a Christian. When I press for specifics they more often than not present very superficial arguments. Perhaps if they learned some critical thinking skills as a Christian and studied apologetics their decision may have been different or maybe not. Once they do decide to reject Christianity it’s much harder to come back. Often there are emotional and intellectual walls they have built that have to come down before they can objectively look at the evidence. In some cases sin and a rebellious attitude has blocked them from trusting God.

    • There is no onus for the atheist to present evidence that there is no God. Atheism is the starting point for theistic claims.

      There are many gods that you don’t believe are real. Have you ever provided any evidence that Allah* doesn’t exist? or Krishna? how about Vishnu, Shiva and Ganeesh? how about Ra, Horus, and Osirus? how about Mars, Saturnus, or Apollo? Have you ever attempted to provide evidence that all those gods don’t exist?

      The only difference between us is I just disbelieve one more god than you do.

      • There have been studies that show that Christians are generally happier, live longer, are more likely to donate to charity and volunteer to help others than atheists. What benefit is there for being an atheist if it doesn’t represents reality? We understand how well something represents reality through reason and evidence. To engage in special pleading shows that you acknowledge your position is weaker than an opposing position. If someone makes a claim about reality then they should defend it. Christianity, Atheism, Islam, Hinduism and many religions make claims that can be tested. I have no problem comparing the truth claims of Christianity against the truth claims of atheism or other religions.

      • John, you have completely ignored what Coyote 6 said. The point was about burden of proof.

        Can you provide us all the proof that every other God (besides your God) does not exist?

        • Coyote 6 first made the claim that atheism is the starting point for theistic claims. At best a soft form of agnosticism may be the starting point for people that cannot yet make any claims that any religions are true or false. From that starting point (lets call that 0) we would have to compare the positive claims against the negative claims. Many religions have contradictory beliefs so positive evidence for one religion can be negative evidence for another. Any religion that claims that the universe is both unchanging and past eternal goes against some of the strongest scientific evidence. We also observe that nature, stars and planets follow the laws of physics and are predictable. Any religion that claims that they are deities that do not follow such predictable laws also go against scientific observations. We know that human pregnancies last about 9 months. A religious claim that says the gestation of a woman is 6 months was obviously written by a man. I think that covers most of the religions you mentioned. Unless you can provide positive evidences for those religions or refutations of the negative claims I made then those religions are likely false.

          The overall point that both of you are making is disingenuous since you don’t actually make any claims that you believe any of those religions are true. I’ve been discussing biblical claims with Paul. What other religion makes testable claims with accuracy even close to the bible?

          How can you test atheism? If you cannot then it doesn’t make any sense to have that as the default view. Atheism also has problems explaining objective morality and consciousness.

      • John Peters, if I claimed there is a river of chocolate on Saturn, a reasonable person would tell me, “No there isn’t”. He doesn’t have the burden of surveying and mapping out in great detail the entire surface of Saturn to show me there is no river of chocolate- I am introducing the idea, I am stating it’s existence as a fact, so it is up to me to point a telescope to Saturn and show you where this chocolate river is.

        If we’re dealing in terms of absolute certainty, then we are forced to be honest and admit there is a specious chance that there could be a river of chocolate on Saturn. In colloquial application, I do not deal in absolute certainty, but maximal certainty. I will not engage in the sort of silliness that a hypothesis of a river of chocolate existing holds equal merit with a hypothesis that there isn’t. It’s not special pleading to dismiss someone who rejects a chocolate river from presenting their evidence of no chocolate river. Whatever is asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.

        The same goes for theistic claims. If we’re going to reject being practical for being absolute, then we are all agnostic polytheists. We can’t disprove every god concept past, present and future and the concept that there is no God or that there is a God and that God derives from a higher God and so forth and we are left with an unending Matroyshka dolls of deities.

        • Do you understand that chocolate is the result of combining ingredients that all involve living organisms? We can therefore conclude with a high degree of certainty that the isn’t a river of chocolate on any planet that doesn’t support life that could produce the ingredients. Using a bad analogy doesn’t support your position. If you were to change it to something that could possibly exist in such an environment then your analogy may be valid but it would have lost all it’s punch.

        • Can you show that atheism is even practical? Believing something that makes people less happy, less charitable and live shorter lives doesn’t seem very practical unless it’s supported by evidence.

      • John, if it is reasonable for theists to demand that atheists disprove all religions, then I think it is reasonable for atheists to demand that theists disprove all religions besides their own religion. However, even if a theist could disprove all other religions, they would still have the burden of proving that their own religion is actually true.

        Atheists are simply asking theists for proof of the existence of their God. But theists seem to think it is reasonable to then say “instead of us proving that our God exists, how about you prove that our God doesn’t exist, and if you can’t prove that our God doesn’t exist then that will prove that our God exists”.

        And you accuse atheists of being disingenuous……

        • All theists are doing is asking that atheists provide evidence for their beliefs to the same degree as they ask theists to provide evidence for theirs. If you have problems providing evidence for your beliefs then maybe you should reconsider those beliefs. Atheism and Christianity are worldviews that influence how we perceive reality. Saying that your word view doesn’t have to play by the same rules IS special pleading.

          If I were to follow your rules when atheists make claims that their word view is true and they make claims that naturalism is true. Those are positive claims that should be defended. My world view says that those claims are untrue. Since you are making the claim and I’m merely presenting the negation then the burden of proof is on you. If you don’t think those rule apply to you but do apply to theists then that IS special pleading. Try looking up the definition of special pleading. BTW I don’t care that you cannot prove all religions untrue. The claim that there is no God presumes knowledge consistent with omniscience. Unless an atheist is God they cannot have any rational certainty that there isn’t a God or gods.

      • John, hypothetically, if I did a study of all religious people in the world, and the study showed that Scientologists were the happiest, longest living, and most charitable people of all religions, would you then believe in Scientology?

        While walking to work, I am occasionally accosted by an evangelist telling me that I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity if I don’t adopt their religious beliefs. But so far, even those horrendous threats have not been able to change what I actually believe to be true.

        Similarly, when we see hostages on TV being forced to read some propaganda under the threat of torture or execution, do you think they actually believe what they are reading?

      • John, I think it is theists who are guilty of special pleading. Theists make extraordinary claims about supernatural beings which they cannot provide any empirical evidence for, and then they demand that atheists must disprove their claims.

        To show how ridiculous that is, atheists then demand that theists must also disprove all of the religions that they don’t believe in too. But theists don’t seem to be very interested in undertaking this challenge that they instigate.

        So it seems theists can demand that atheists must disprove all religions, but then refuse to disprove all of the religions that they don’t believe in. Talk about special pleading – sheesh!

        • I recommend you look up special pleading. You will see it fits with atheistic claims not having to provide evidence for their claims but demanding proof for any religious claims.

          I noticed you avoid taking responsibility for your position. You haven’t engage with the content of my other posts in any way that can be seen as an actual reply. As I said I don’t care that you cannot disprove all religious claims. I’m interested in you supporting the one claim that’s central to your belief; the nonexistence of God or gods. If you cannot provide such evidence then maybe you shouldn’t demand evidence from theists. Maybe you should also change to agnosticism.

          Empirical evidence works for detecting material objects or forces. You cannot put God in a test-tube or confine Him to a laboratory. Theists have been providing indirect evidence for God for thousands of years. The existence of the universe rather than nothing is indirect evidence. The fine tuning of the universe is indirect evidence. The appearance of design is indirect evidence. The necessary functional complexity of organic life is indirect evidence. Human consciousness and morality are both indirect evidence. I could continue but atheists just dismiss indirect evidence if favor of their commitment to a naturalistic worldview.

          I’ve already pointed out problems in many religions that make them unlikely (again you ignored this). At the same time the confirmation of the biblical claims makes Christianity more likely. Neither of us are making claims that all these other religions are true and we both (at least I do anyway) believe they are untrue so why don’t you discard that red herring and focus on the evidences that separate Atheism and Christianity.

      • John Peters, my river of chocolate on Saturn is very much a fictive creation. But you know what, if someone were to demonstrate that there IS a river of chocolate… if they could show video feed from a satellite showing a long, flowing, cascading stretch of a rich brown body of thick, viscous syrup… if they could send an unmanned craft to land on Saturn, collect samples and return to Earth… and if they could examine the samples an confirm they are in fact chocolate… I WOULD CHANGE MY MIND and believe in a river of chocolate on Saturn.

        Change my mind and demonstrate the existence of God.

      • On special pleading:

        If you expect the authorities to prove you are guilty of a crime, is it special pleading to excuse yourself from having to prove you are innocent?

        • In a US court a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution does in that case have to show greater evidence than the defense. Even with that no competent attorney would go into a courtroom without evidence to show their client innocent.

          You are neither the defendant or prosecutor in a courtroom. You are someone with a worldview trying to disprove another worldview. If you are pleading that your worldview doesn’t have to provide evidence for its claims but other worldviews do then that IS special pleading.

      • And touching your idea that comparing competing religions and atheism will tell us which religion or nonreligion is true:

        If the authorities do a better job of providing evidence that someone is guilty of a crime than the accused does at providing evidence that he is innocent, is a jury justified to declare him guilty?

        Does the prosecution simply have to make a better case that the accused is guilty than the defense’s case that he is not? Or does the prosecution have the burden of proving the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

        • In your analogy you seem to presume that you are the defense, given the aggressive nature of many atheists that wouldn’t necessarily be the case. On balance the rules in a courtroom favor the accused.

          Since we are comparing perspectives on reality the scientific approach makes a better analogy than a courtroom. If we have multiple competing theories then proponents of those theories provide evidence for their theories. The theories that best explain the relevant evidence are accepted over those that don’t. If an advocate of one theory only presents negative arguments against competing theories and then claims that they don’t have to provide any evidence for their theory then that is again special pleading.

      • John, all that separates atheism from Christianity is that atheists are unconvinced by Christian religious claims. An atheist is simply a person who is not a theist, that is all.

        I think the real red herring here, is that you are trying to redefine the meaning of the word
        atheist in an attempt to shift the burden of proof. You want to redefine atheism as being a
        world view, purely as a distraction to alleviate your burden of proof. A person’s position regarding a religious claim is not a world view. For example many Christians believe the theory evolution is true, while many other Christians reject it. Many Christians are against the sexual practices of gays and lesbians, while there are plenty of gays and lesbians who identify themselves as Christians. There are Christians that are pro-choice and there are also Christians that are pro-life. Some Christians support the death penalty, while other Christians don’t. A world view is much more than simply identifying oneself as an atheist or a theist.

        John, I wasn’t literally suggesting we try and put God in a test-tube, but I think it is reasonable to expect to be able to detect a God that supposedly interacts with our world don’t you? For example if God answers prayers, then we can look for evidence of that happening can’t we? As a matter of fact the efficacy of prayer was studied in the 2006 STEP project. I’ll let you judge the results for yourself. All I will say is that I was not convinced by the results.

        With regards to your list of indirect evidence, I am again left unconvinced that your God is real. I can easily substitute some other ‘alleged’ God to take the credit, such as Zeus or many others. For example:
        – The existence of the universe rather than nothing is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The fine tuning of the universe is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The appearance of design is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The necessary functional complexity of organic life is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – Human consciousness and morality are both indirect evidence for Zeus

        How do you determine whether your God is real and the other God(s) are false? Well ironically, it is the Bible that tells us how. Instead of repeatedly making underhanded claims about special pleading, all you need to do is follow the example provided in the Bible. Just lookup ‘1 Kings 18’, it is very detailed on what to do. The prophet Elijah gives us a textbook example (or perhaps I should say ‘holy-book’ example) on how to disprove a false God and also how to prove that your own God real.

      • John, I tried to reply, but I accidentally put a different name that I sometimes use which is ‘lerabac’. So my post is awaiting moderation, and if it is actually let through (as well as this one I suppose) well then you’ll know it was from me.. I hope you get my post, I enjoyed our discussion, but this comments section is quite horrendous. For some reason I haven’t been able to reply to any of your posts directly this whole time. In order to reply to you I have had to reply to an old post by Coyote 6 made at 06:53 12/03/2015.

        The last straw for me tonight, is that my post from a couple of days ago has been deleted without any explanation. Not even given the chance to edit out the supposedly offending comment. So essentially you have been responding to a non-existent comment from me.

        All the best John, it was nice talking with you.

        • One comment that I made to Paul is still awaiting moderation from several days ago so I know what you are saying there. I’ve found that shorter comments without any links seem to get posted easily enough. I also cannot reply to a particular posts past a few layers so I just reply from my email account.

      • John, all that separates atheism from Christianity is that atheists are unconvinced by Christian religious claims. An atheist is simply a person who is not a theist, that is all.

        I think the real red herring here, is that you are trying to redefine the meaning of the word
        atheist in an attempt to shift the burden of proof. You want to redefine atheism as being a
        world view, purely as a distraction to alleviate your burden of proof. A person’s position regarding a religious claim is not a world view. For example many Christians believe the theory evolution is true, while many other Christians reject it. Many Christians are against the sexual practices of gays and lesbians, while there are plenty of gays and lesbians who identify themselves as Christians. There are Christians that are pro-choice and there are also Christians that are pro-life. Some Christians support the death penalty, while other Christians don’t. A world view is much more than simply identifying oneself as an atheist or a theist.

        John, I wasn’t literally suggesting we try and put God in a test-tube, but I think it is reasonable to expect to be able to detect a God that supposedly interacts with our world don’t you? For example if God answers prayers, then we can look for evidence of that happening can’t we? As a matter of fact the efficacy of prayer was studied in the 2006 STEP project. I’ll let you judge the results for yourself. All I will say is that I was not convinced by the results.

        With regards to your list of indirect evidence, I am again left unconvinced that your God is real. I can easily substitute some other ‘alleged’ God to take the credit, such as Zeus or many others. For example:
        – The existence of the universe rather than nothing is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The fine tuning of the universe is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The appearance of design is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – The necessary functional complexity of organic life is indirect evidence for Zeus
        – Human consciousness and morality are both indirect evidence for Zeus

        How do you determine whether your God is real and the other God(s) are false? Well ironically, it is the Bible that tells us how. Instead of repeatedly making underhanded claims about special pleading, all you need to do is follow the example provided in the Bible. Just lookup ‘1 Kings 18’, it is very detailed on what to do. The prophet Elijah gives us a textbook example (or perhaps I should say ‘holy-book’ example) on how to disprove a false God and also how to prove that your own God real.

        *** Looks like my last post went through ok, so I will quickly take the opportunity to try again and forward this to you before I’m am again deleted from the board. I strongly doubt I will revisit here considering the harsh censorship and the very poor functioning of this site. But thanks very much for your comments – I guess you will get to have the last say now – hahaha. All the best John. ***

        • The free dictionary defines worldview as: 1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
          And 2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
          And a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.
          Rather than call atheism a lack or belief or a religion worldview seem to be a better description. That’s not to say that all atheists or all Christians have the same exact worldview. Atheism is so closely connected to philosophical naturalism that it shares the same general presuppositions that define its view of reality. Maybe you just haven’t examined your own worldview enough to identify how it relates to your perceptions. Since a worldview can often determine how someone perceives evidence and arguments simply saying “I’m not convinced” can be the result of your worldview rather than an objective reading of the evidence.
          As to the Templeton Foundation Prayer Study it looks like they were still trying to distill prayer to a formula. That may work if the actual power to help the coronary patients was just an effect of the prayers themselves. Christians understand prayer as a conversation with God. God has His own motives for answering or not answering prayers. An attempt to put God into the proverbial box may even be a reason for Him not to answer prayer.
          I don’t use prayer or miracles as evidence for God since God’s intervention can often be of a personal nature. Larger miracles (as in the creation events) can be detectable. That’s often where our worldviews come into play. What should we expect the universe to be if Atheism (naturalism) or Christianity is true? Should we expect a universe at all? Should we expect that a universe would be fine-tuned to support life? Should we expect that universe to be explorable and understandable? Should we expect complex life (or any life) to be present? Should we expect life to have the capacity for complex reasoning and emotions?
          As to 1 Kings 18 the same thing I said earlier about the prayer study applies; prayer isn’t a formula. God works for His purposes not just our own. Often He works in ways we don’t expect. Also look at Luke 16:27-31. Many prophets contributed to the bible. Deuteronomy 18:22 applies to their words. We see in the bible predictions that came to pass. We also see descriptions about the origin and operation of the universe. Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler and many others believed the God of the bible to have created testable fixed laws. That’s why we see the scientific method emerging out of the Christian worldview rather than the atheist worldview.
          Where in Greek mythology is Zeus credited with creating the universe? In Greek mythology he didn’t come into being until after the world. The world expressed in Greek mythology is far different than the one we see in the bible. In many cases the Greeks thought natural events were caused by unpredictable deities. We now know how water cycles work. Instead of it working the way it’s described in Greek mythology it works the way it’s described in the book of Job. We can explore Norse mythology with the same result; it doesn’t represent the world as we know it through science.
          If your posts don’t go through then maybe removing something objectionable or external links may help. Hopefully they do go through since I think this discussion has value. Thanks for not giving up!

      • John, I take your point about Zeus not creating the universe. I seem to really suck at providing examples. But I think the point I was trying to make is still valid. That is, how can you be certain about your Christian religion when other religions make very similar claims? How would you convince someone that Islam or Judaism are false and Christianity is true?

        • I don’t think I can convince someone who isn’t open to examine their own worldview. Monotheistic religions have some things in common but there are differences. In those areas they differ I try to explore what one more accurately represents what we know to be true from science and history. The evidences against Islam can push people away so mostly I talk with Muslims about Jesus. Since attacking the Koran or Mohammed directly is insulting to most Muslims I try approach things indirectly. The Koran misrepresents what Christians believed about Jesus at the time of Mohammed so if they understand what Christians actually believe they may eventually begin to question the authority of the Koran. Both the bible and the Koran were assembled from smaller texts. If they can agree to examine the Koran by the same standards of reliability as the bible then we can compare the process.

          As for Judaism I try to ask questions about why they don’t practice the same way as we find in the Old Testament law. Often they will agree that the 1st century was a turning point for Judaism with the destruction of the temple. There are over 300 prophesies about the messiah in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Jesus. Many of those prophesies Jews try to apply figuratively to Israel or reject as prophesies. If they are open to looking at each one then it becomes harder to dismiss them. It’s something like looking through the hundreds of fine tuning parameters. You can dismiss a few as just chance but someone who is open to the evidence finds it hard to dismiss all of them.

          For both Islam and Judaism it mostly depends on how they respond.

      • John Peters: “The prosecution does in that case have to show greater evidence than the defense. Even with that no competent attorney would go into a courtroom without evidence to show their client innocent.”

        Actually, that is factually incorrect. You are just plain wrong. That is a glaring misapprehension of how the legal system works and I find this misapprehension really illuminating as to why we are having such a tough time finding common ground.

        The defense (like atheism) does not have to provide ANY evidence that their client is innocent (or evidence proving no god). Now it is very helpful to their case if they can, but it is not the burden of the defense to prove innocence. Their job is to make the case that the prosecution hasn’t met their burden of evidence to prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Until guilt meets strong standards of evidence, “not guilty” remains the null hypothesis. US law has come a long way since the Salem witch trials in which it was up to the accused to prove they weren’t witches.

        It is not a question if the prosecution made a better case than the defense but did the prosecution make a case that meets sufficient standards for proving guilt.

        Feel free to email ANY criminal defense attorney, and they will corroborate what I have explained about how criminal law works.

        The same is the case with religion: there are many hypotheses about god concepts (theism) and then there is a null hypothesis (atheism). There is nothing you can point to that fits any of our god concepts. No god concept has been demonstrated. Until such a time comes were someone can, we’re not justified in believing in any and we stick to the null hypothesis.

        You have this model for testing which hypothesis is right by having them all enter the ring in a battle royale and whichever one is left standing is declared the right one. I for one will put aside my idea of there being a default position we accept until a hypothesis meets strong standards of evidence and accept your method for truth claims:

        We can operate under the assumption that Christianity is the truest of all religions once we compare it to all others. With that said, I can refute the Bible as total rubbish, not to be taken as authoritive, and not to be taken as God’s word. It can’t even agree if Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod or the consulship of Quirinius. It can’t agree on what Jesus’s last words were. How plant life was created before the sun flies completely in the face of what we know to be true about photosynthesis. The Bible has a laughable cure for leprosy. There are passages saying the Earth has four corners and rests on pillars. How there are trees older than how old the Bible claims the universe is and much older when the Bible claims we had a global flood. How is God all-seeing and all knowing yet uses angels to go on scouting missions for him? How is God all-powerful yet can’t defeat chariots of iron?

        So this is quite a conundrum: Your religion is head and shoulders above all the others and it’s holy book can’t even be taken for toilet paper. Where does this leave us?

        • Coyote 6
          We can easily put Atheism in the seat of the prosecution and Christianity in the seat of the defense since BOTH make claims about the nature or reality. A prosecutor cannot simply tell the judge that he wants his position to be regarded as the defense and therefore doesn’t have to present evidence. As you pointed out the defense has special rights. As I pointed out before this is special pleading on your part. It also prevents atheists from critically examining their own worldviews.
          If the defense chooses not to provide evidence then there is the assumption that there isn’t any relevant evidence that they feel is worth presenting. That was my point. As I’ve pointed out in my discussion with Craig the distinction between Christianity and Atheism is about theology based on conflicting worldviews not a courtroom case with a prosecutor and a defendant. Those worldviews have presuppositions that invalidate them from simply being a lack of faith. You also cannot simply use the null hypothesis to try to invalidate evidence for one worldview to cover the lack of evidence for another and that seems like what you are trying to do with your analogy.
          The relevant question is ‘What worldview better represents observable reality?’ If you cannot or will not present evidence in favor of your worldview then there’s no reason anyone should accept it as valid.
          As for your superficial arguments;
          You confuse my OEC position with a YEC position.
          You also confuse global and regional flood.
          None of the Gospels claim that they include all of Jesus’ last words.
          What natural cure is given in the bible for what we call leprosy?
          When we compare the Gospels with the census’ taken there really isn’t a discrepancy between Herod the Great dying in 4BCE and a census under Quirinius in 7/8 BCE. Where do you see the conflict?
          The four corners of the earth was simply a figure of speech indicating the entire earth. A similar thing can be said about the pillar of the earth, the circle of the earth and that the earth. Each phrase has a context that you should look at before assuming that it reflected a scientific statement on the part of the author.
          I’m not impressed with your derogatory references about the bible, it only reflects your character and doesn’t actually have anything to do with the bible or this discussion.
          Now can you actually support your worldview without relying on special pleading, misrepresentation, name calling and red herrings? Can you support it with evidence and reason? If not then I’ve already shown that my worldview is more rational than yours.

      • Jon Peters: “You also cannot simply use the null hypothesis to try to invalidate evidence for one worldview”

        NO! NO! NO! NO! The null hypothesis doesn’t invalidate ANYTHING. It’s job isn’t to be a goalie. The null hypothesis is the premise we are forced to operate under until acceptable evidence validates another hypothesis. When you present evidence for Christianity’s god concept, atheism isn’t there to say, “sorry, you’re not the null hypothesis”. The null hypothesis (atheism) is what we have to stand on until the evidence you present is determined to be strong enough to validate your god concept. In which case it DOES, we discard having a null hypothesis, because we have a working model of the Christian god concept.

        I subscribe to what I think is a reliable methodology for believing in as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible: I reject it until it can be demonstrated true. We should reject the existence of radio waves until they are demonstrated true. Alas, despite not being able to see them, we have devices that demonstrate we can receive and transmit these radio waves, so with that criteria met, I believe in radio waves. We should reject the existence of centaurs and ice giants until they can be demonstrated to exist/have existed. There is no acceptable evidence for them. I will not believe in centaurs and ice giants until such as day acceptable evidence comes forward. The same applies with God. There’s no acceptable evidence for God, so I don’t believe (making me atheist). When acceptable evidence comes forward, I will no longer be an atheist.

        This is not special pleading. But when you demand there be evidence for the non-existence of God, yet not for the non-existence of centaurs and ice giants and all the other mythological and supernatural concepts you don’t believe in, THAT is special pleading.

        But I will suspend this methodology and conform to yours for evaluating truth claims, because I want to see where it’ll take us. As I said, we will start with the premise that Christianity is already head and shoulders above all religions and atheism. It is plagued with ludicrous baggage and baggage that we know contradicts what we know to be true about history and reality.

        It doesn’t matter if you interpret Genesis as a young or old model of creation. You still have the serious problem of the Bible listing plant life being created before the Sun.

        The Bible does not give any wiggle room for interpreting Noah’s flood as regional. Genesis 7:19-20 states that the waters rose over all the mountains under heaven and topped the highest peak by 15 cubits. That’s global.

        In the four canonical gospels, there are three different versions of Jesus’s last words: he says “x” and the immediate verse following clarifies that he then dies. This rescue attempt claiming that no gospel claims they completely capture all his final words, inferring his final words could be a combination of all of versions, just, absolutely, STINKS of desperation.

        Their cure for leprosy is detailed in Leviticus 14:1-9. It revolves largely around splattering bird’s blood on the afflicted, shaving their head, taking a bath, and a seven day quarantine.

        Herod the Great died in 4 BC. His son, Herod Archelaus succeeded him and reigned over Judea until 6 AD, when the Roman Empire dismissed him as their client ruler of Judea and placed a Roman governor over the province, Quirinius. The reign of King Herod and the census of Quirinius miss each other by about a decade. The Bible simply doesn’t have their historic timeframe straight.

        Why does an all-knowing, all seeing God use angels for scouting? The Lord works in mysterious ways? And why can’t an all-powerful God defeat chariots of iron?

        It is disingenuous when certain Christians crow about the Bible containing certain passages that can be interpreted to chart out with today’s understanding of science while dismissing passages of the Earth having four corners and resting on pillars as poetic, figurative, taken out of context and not to be taken literally. There’s simply no context where the Earth figuratively rests on pillars. Knowing today that the Earth’s shape has been confirmed to be spherical, you say a four cornered Earth is figurative, but I am telling you, the people who wrote the Bible meant it literally. They wrote it from the perspective of a primitive, geocentric model that made sense to them, didn’t think the sun was just another star, didn’t realize the Morning Star was just another planet like ours, didn’t understand photosynthesis evidenced by their creation story, and thought the Sun revolved around the Earth.

        A round Earth is not a hard concept to explain to ancient people, and not terribly difficult to demonstrate even without the luxury of taking photos from space or going through the hassle of circumnavigating the Earth. It’s been demonstrated since 4th century BC by Aristotle noting there were celestial bodies observable in Egypt that could not be observed in Greece. When we call the Bible the word of God and he does nothing to correct these glaring falsehoods, we have to ask, how is an all-powerful, all-knowing god allow this VERY important message to humanity he has for us to be underminded like this?

        Is this the best he can do?

        And we’re back to Christianity being the best contender in religions and its holy book is a smoking heap of failure. Where do we go from here?

        • Coyote 6
          So first of all you either cannot or will not provide evidence for your worldview. According to your method you should have never become an atheist or abandon it now. You have yet to show that atheism follows evidence or logical reasoning. Instead you just throw out red herrings about Christianity. One of the most important things to examine critically is your own worldview. You don’t even seem to acknowledge your own worldview. Atheism isn’t a null hypothesis. Atheism is a theological belief based on a naturalistic worldview. For that reason atheism shouldn’t be the worldview that someone stands on just because they decide they are unconvinced by the evidence for religious belief. Some evidence is better than no evidence. When you accept a worldview without evidence then how can you say that you try to subscribe to as many true things as possible? How can you demonstrate atheism is true WITHOUT evidence? I don’t think you are being honest with yourself.
          You seem to have the same misunderstandings about OEC that Paul demonstrated. OEC doesn’t just add years to the days. The Sun was created on day 1. As we see the perspective was just above the waters. From that perspective the Sun wasn’t visible as a distinct object until enough water vapor and carbon was removed from the atmosphere. This actually fits both the biblical account and our understanding of the early Earth.
          As I just pointed out, perspective accounts for the language used in Genesis. A reference to ‘The highest mountain under the heavens’ doesn’t require that we think globally. All it requires is that we understand the human perspective being described. Human perspective would be horizon to horizon within the limits of the transparency of the atmosphere.
          The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last words fit what we would expect from different eyewitnesses. Most witnesses will pick up on different things depending on location and other factors. If they all said the same then we would have had evidence for collusion. This has nothing to do with desperation.
          Leviticus 14:1-9 doesn’t have anything to do with healing a person of leprosy. It has to do with them becoming ceremonially clean after they have been healed. Read verse 3.
          The Res Gestae shows 3 census ordered by Augustus. There was also an enrollment to swear an oath in 2BCE that may have functioned as a census. Luke doesn’t identify Quirinius as governor but as a ruling official in charge of the census. The Res Gestae identifies Quirinius as a co-console at around 12BCE. The only problem is that we don’t have a complete record to fill in the blanks so you are trying to create a conflict. If you were half as critical of your own worldview as you are of mine you would abandon it.
          The use of angels or other messengers to interact with people isn’t a problem. That God chooses when where and how to fight also isn’t a problem. This has more to do with our own sinful nature making us unworthy to stand in God’s presence. This is a common theme in the bible.

          Since you didn’t specify a verse I will assume that you are talking about Judges 1:19. God (possibly through angels) did the fighting at Jericho and didn’t have any problem. When God helped Judah then we have a human factor introduced. If I use a flawed drill bit in my drill and it fails to cut through some materials or breaks then it isn’t the fault of the drill. I may even use that bit in that way to demonstrate its flaws to others (UL often does this).
          I will let you quote the verse that you think should be taken literally in reference to pillars and corners. Then we can look at the context.

      • “Now can you actually support your worldview without relying on special pleading, misrepresentation, name calling and red herrings?”

        John, I don’t deny you sincerely believe in my use of epistemology that I do engage in special pleading and red herrings. But name calling? I consider myself above that for the most part, but I am human, and sometimes these discussions can bring out the child us.

        I’ve combed my words and I don’t see anywhere that any reasonable person could say crosses the line of passion into name calling.

        I am tasking you to point exactly where in any of my posts I engage in namecalling or admit you are mistaken.

      • John Peters: “So first of all you either cannot or will not provide evidence for your worldview”

        Well, we’re going to stop this setting up the dominos to fall how you want them, John. You’re saying, you have a worldview and I have a worldview and I am providing no evidence for my worldview. Atheism is not what is considered a worldview. It can make up PART of one’s worldview.

        Atheism is a single position on a single question. The question as to the existence of any deities, and that position is: I don’t believe.

        That’s it.

        There’s no teachings attached, no philosophy, no dogma, no tenets, no commandments, no mythology, no folklore, no baggage, just “I don’t believe in any god” and that’s it. Being an atheist doesn’t even have to mean you have no spirituality as many Buddhists are also atheists; much of Buddhism has no god concept. Being atheist has nothing to do with science literacy. You can be atheist and not accept the big bang theory or the theory of evolution; atheism has existed for thousands of years before these ideas.

        So far, I am introducing no idea beyond “belief in god is not justified”, and that requires no evidence. It stands on the merit that no god concept has met any acceptable standards of evidence, and in which case it one day does, atheism will no longer be a justified position.

        There is no such thing as evidence for non-existence. Show me one example of a non-existent thing that you can provide evidence doesn’t exist.

        John Peters: “Atheism is a theological belief based on a naturalistic worldview.”

        1.) Atheism is a NON-theological belief


        2.) If by naturalistic worldview, you mean a worldview giving the best explanation of our origins through naturalistic causes such as the big bang theory and theory of evolution, then evidence is actually a reasonable request in this case.

        I can tell you I think I have a ‘blue belt level’ understanding of the theory of evolution, a passing highschool explanation of why the big bang theory is an accepted model for the astrophysical history of our universe, and I understand abiogenesis enough to know while we have promising leads we don’t yet have a working model for how life on Earth originated.

        That is something I can give a satisfying presentation to which a reasonable layman would agree these are justifiable models.

        However, the big bang theory, the theory of evolution, and our hypothesis on abiogenesis have absolutely nothing to do with the question whether or not there is a god. Proving evolution is true does not mean gods don’t exist as there are many people who believe in evolution that also believe in god. And the opposite of this is true; proving evolution false does not prove god true.

        If this is what you are asking me to provide evidence for then we are wasting our time because Theism vs atheism and our scientific models for explaining the universe are two different rodeos.

        John Peters: “You seem to have the same misunderstandings about OEC that Paul demonstrated. OEC doesn’t just add years to the days. The Sun was created on day 1.”

        John, Genesis does not say the sun was created on the first day, but on the fourth (Genesis1:14-19), the day after God creates plants (Genesis1:11-13). This is getting infuriating. You apparently don’t know what your Bible says, and I’m having to teach you. You know what, shame on you for not knowing your own holy book. I know it’s a lot to read but if you can’t get your facts straight about it’s very first chapter, then it’s time to admit you lack the comprehension of this book to be the one defending it.

        The rest of your desperate excuses are just so utterly pathetic a referee would have already called the fight “no contest” by now. This represents a fraction about what is factually wrong with the book and it doesn’t matter what else I introduce is absurd about the Bible: you will perform any tap-dance, do any backflip, and defend the indefensible. If the Bible said the sky is red, you would argue the sky was red or tell me I’m taking it out of context.

        And we’re not touching what is morally wrong about the Bible. I won’t go there because I could not bear to watch you make a fool out of yourself to defend a tribal god, a vengeful, cruel, immoral, genocidal monster that puts entire cities to the sword and take it’s prepubescent girls as slaves in a fashion like Genghis Khan, who tortures people for all eternity and a god who loves the smell of blood. I don’t want to watch you sacrifice your humanity and excuse the inexcusable and defend the indefensible all the while being too scared to admit that you might be more moral than the god you worship

        Sweeping that aside, it’s just far too plagued with factual inaccuracies and contradictions and I am SO MUCH HAPPIER that it is no longer my problem. As for a perfect drill using an imperfect drill bit, you are just allowing yourself to be duped that your expectations of an all-knowing, all-powerful god are so low that this sloppiness is good for delivering an important message to humanity. I say again, you have such low expectations for an all-powerful god that this is the best he could do, it crosses guilibility.

        John Peters: “Although your name calling wasn’t directed at a person your comparison of the bible to rubbish and toilet paper does qualify as name calling.”

        Then your concept of what qualifies as name calling is as misguided as what you consider is special pleading.

        • Coyote 6
          I can understand your confusion about Genesis. Unfortunately many YEC advocates are so insistent on their belief that they don’t make any room for any other interpretations of the creation accounts in the bible. To many of them it’s either YEC or God lied. English translators favored readability rather than word for word translations. In Genesis 1 we have several verbs that are translated as created.
          Bara (the vowels may be different since early Hebrew didn’t include vowels) in perfect usage is the shaping or creating out of nothing. It’s the equivalent to the Greek ex nihilo. This is only used for God’s acts of creation. This is what’s used in Genesis 1:1. This didn’t fit pre Big Bang cosmology but it does fit modern cosmology. In this respect accepted scientific theories had it wrong and the bible had it right.
          The Hebrew verb for create in Genesis 1:14 hayah meaning ‘let there be’ or ‘let it appear’. So we have 2 literal meanings. The first doesn’t fit modern cosmology and the second does. I see no reason to select the first just because it doesn’t fit and then use that as evidence that the bible was wrong.
          The Hebrew verb in verse Genesis 1:12 yatsa meaning ‘brought forth, to go or to come out.’ This can in context have the meaning of God bringing plants from the ground or allowing the ground to create the plants.
          The Hebrew for Genesis 1:27 bara is again used but in the imperfect usage it implies that the shaping or creating was out of existing material. This is confirmed by the usage of yatsar in 2:7. Yatsar is the same verb used in shaping clay into pots.
          I’ve studied Genesis 1 in all the modern English translations and examined the Hebrew. I don’t think your assertion that I don’t know it is valid.
          “So far, I am introducing no idea beyond “belief in god is not justified””. In that case you are only expressing an opinion that is no more relevant than saying vanilla is better than chocolate.
          If theology is the study of God then you are saying that you base your belief on the lack of studying God? That may fit many atheists but you claim to have been a Christian so I assume your belief has something to do with studying about God. I also noticed that your arguments are the same as those found on atheist web sites. That implies that you put some effort into focusing on the problems others think are in the bible.
          As for Naturalism it’s often acknowledged as the philosophy that only natural processes are at work in the universe or that the universe is a closed system. In many ways it’s the opposite of theism. Theistic evolution views God working through evolution while naturalistic evolution rejects any involvement from God.
          Any of those things that you believe are desperate on my part we can examine more closely. I am trying to present the biblical text well within the limits of interpretation. I understand that may not offset the emotional bias you have built up.
          I’m not opposed to examining the moral arguments but if we do then we should wrap up the arguments that we have only started to examine.
          If as a Christian you had a clear understanding of the gospel then at some point you understood that you and all the rest of humanity are sinners. That sin separates us from being in a relationship with God. God doesn’t enjoy human suffering but He understands that if He gives people the freedom to love Him that they also have the freedom to reject Him. That rejection is the cause of the vast majority of suffering including hell. You should have also understood that the bible is primarily relational and not intended as a scientific textbook. It shows what’s involved in being in a right relationship with God and the consequences of being in a wrong relationship with God.

      • John Peters: “One of the most important things to examine critically is your own worldview.”

        Let’s be clear about something: I was a Christian for most my life until my mid to late twenties. I was on fire for Jesus. I was an evangelist and wanted to bring others to the Lord: I passed out tracts, talked to strangers, preached on discussion boards. I helped a ministry that was an open air, public outreach on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica with Ray Comfort. I was sold out to this. I believed this and believed this so purely.

        It was incredibly painful and difficult for me to give up Christianity. And it was because I wanted to reach people for the Lord that I was exposed to atheist and skeptic discourse and because I actually cared if what I believed was true or not, I discovered and begrudgingly accepted that not only was the book I idolized too broke to resuscitate, but even if that weren’t the case, I still never had any good reason to believe a single word of it in the first place.

        So the delicious irony of your notion that I lack introspection is that my atheism is my proof that I am capable of being critical of my own worldview. And if there is a god, then he should respect the hell out of the fact that I didn’t blindly cling to the first option I was presented.

        • Coyote 6
          I agree that atheism itself isn’t a worldview. As I said earlier atheism is a theological view that presupposes or is dependent on the philosophical naturalistic worldview. At best what you have described with your ‘I don’t believe’ is a weak form of agnosticism. The degree that you insist that the bible is wrong shows that it’s more than a simple lack of belief. The emotional nature of your last 2 posts shows that you have a strong belief that the God of the bible cannot be real.

          Before I accepted Christ as my savior I was an agnostic. I didn’t have any beliefs about God since I didn’t have enough evidence either for or against Him. My agnosticism was based on ignorance. My first evidence for God wasn’t scientific or philosophical. It was the inner working of the Holy Spirit and that was confirmed through how I was seeing God work in my life and the lives of those around me. I also had a passion for God and went door to door witnessing. I also met atheists along with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Buddhists agnostics and many others. I would listen to their arguments and respond as best as I could. Even though I didn’t know all the answers I took it as a challenge and researched their arguments. More often than not what was convincing on the surface failed under examination. My trust was in God rather than the immediate evidence and in time the evidence kept pointing to Him rather than away. I didn’t only see God as my friend and Savior but also my sovereign Creator. I rejected the shallow ‘God is my buddy’ theology that many Christians fall into. I can tell you that although I wasn’t dependent on my happiness I was happier and more fulfilled than at any other time in my life. That deeper joy continues to this day in spite of circumstances.

          I’ve never thought of the bible as being a problem even after reading it for over 30 years. I continue to see positive transformations in people who surrender their lives to Christ. I continue to see Christians reach out to others in amazing and sacrificial ways. I continue to see God work in my life and the lives of others.

      • The problem is the Bible lists plant life being created before the sun. Introducing Old Earth Creationism as an alternative to Young Earth Creationism is an actual example of a red herring tactic because it simply doesn’t address the problem. AT ALL. And if you know what Genesis chapter one says, then you’re just being stupid on purpose (it’s not my intention to name-call, I’m just trying to be accurate) and lying for Jesus for saying the sun was created on the first day.

        Me: “So far, I am introducing no idea beyond “belief in god is not justified”. ”
        John Peters: “In that case you are only expressing an opinion that is no more relevant than saying vanilla is better than chocolate.”

        It’s more like expressing an opinion that the email you just got probably isn’t from a Nigerian prince that wants to give you millions of dollars if you share your personal and financial information with him.

        • Actually the bible lists plant life before the Sun was visible from the perspective given in verse 2. Anything beyond that is either an inference or selecting one out of multiple literal definitions. Do you have good reasons to hold that strongly to your definition? Why didn’t they use a verb that would better express an act of immediate creation like bara? Lets be clear you are the one claiming to have special revelation that allows you to know that the intent of the author was to show an act of creating something that wasn’t or couldn’t have been there. I’m not being stupid (and yes you are engaging in unwarranted name calling). Look up the Hebrew words if you don’t believe me. Look at the perspective. Look at the context. If the Hebrew allows an interpretation that the Sun was created earlier then how is that a red herring? If there are 2 possible ways of interpreting the verse and one fits cosmology while the other doesn’t you cannot say that it automatically doesn’t fit cosmology. At best you can say it may or may not depending on the intent or inspiration.

  5. The evidence for Jesus’ existence as a 1st century person is very convincing,

    No it isn’t. In fact the ‘evidence’ is crap.
    There is not a single piece of contemporary evidence for the character Jesus of Nazareth.
    In fact, it all points to a narrative construct.

  6. This article MASSIVELY misrepresents the views held by Professor Erhman. All most to the point of straight out lying.

  7. I so enjoyed reading this article. I have often thought of all the stupid excuses and lies I come across. Thank you for putting a nail in the coffin of stupid statements and theology of atheists.

  8. 2) That it doesn’t matter how many independent source we have on Jesus:

    You only have hearsay. Not a single contemporary account or witness. Not one.

    That there may have been a 1srt century Rabbi, eschatological preacher running around who may hve been crucified for sedition is eminently possible.
    No question of a doubt.

    The biblical character; the miracle-performing, walking on water , rising from the dead character Christians claim is a god is a pure narrative construct and has no place whatsoever in history. Period.

    • Which historians acknowledge Jesus was a miracle worker?
      Name one!
      There is no contemporary evidence for Jesus of Nazareth. None.
      You are either frightfully ignorant or simply lying through your teeth.

    • I could name you many, i have many more.:

      • “For these miracles the historical evidence is excellent.”
      (A.M. Hunter, Jesus: Lord and Saviour)

      • “When we apply the same criteria of authenticity to both, the biblical miracles simply enjoy more evidential support.”
      -Craig Blomberg (‘The credibility of Jesus’ miracles’)

      • “Whatever you think about the philosophical possibility of miracles of healing, it’s clear that Jesus was widely reputed to have done them”
      -Bart Ehrman (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings)

      ‘It is sufficient for the historian to know that Jesus performed deeds that many people, both friends and foes [and probably Jesus himself], considered miracles.’
      -Ben Witherington III (Paul Meier quoted in The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth)

      • “I think it’s strongly probable that Jesus was regarded as an exorcist”
      -E.P Sanders (The Historical Figure of Jesus)

      • “Even the most critical historian can confidently assert that a Jew named Jesus worked as a teacher and wonder-worker..”
      -Luke Timothy Johnson (New Testament scholar at Emory University, The Real Jesus)

      • “Jesus was both an exorcist and a healer”
      -John Crossan (The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant)

      • “It is no longer seriously contested that miracles played a role in Jesus’ ministry.”

      -Craig Evans (World leading New Testament historian, and Jesus scholar)

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  10. I’ve said this in other places but it bears repeating here: unbelievers who say there is no evidence for God are like Hamlet saying there is no evidence for Shakespeare.

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  14. I think I will end up responding to each point one by one. I am an atheist myself, but I do not offend a religion unless someone tries to force it on me. However, in this comment, if I come off as offensive, I apologize. It’s simply because several of your points are based on your religion and God.
    1. I, for one, believe that Jesus may have existed. Just like the characters in Ramayana or Mahabharata may have existed. However, I do not believe that he literally turned stone to bread and what not. I think that Jesus is just a highly spiritual person who did good things and gathered followers. No magic. I also do not believe that Jesus is God’s son born on Earth to a virgin woman. Simply because of one question: Which God? And I will take this moment to inform you that my religion(the one I was born with) has 33 crore Gods.
    (2,3 clubbed with above point)
    4. You know. Years later. The future generation might find ancient torn pieces of text from the Game of Throne and really believe that it happened. I could for instance start a diary of my life. In future, if found, it would be something that provides that generation info on the present. Imagine if I added a lot of extra stuff. The future generation has no way of proving if it is true or not. But that does not make it true. Since there hasn’t really been any substantiable instances of miracles and such outside of these texts, several of the community would have difficulty in blindly believing that it is true.
    6. You really can’t prove that something does not exist. Prove to me that mermaids do not exist. Would you be able to? So we can’t prove that God does not exist and we do not believe that the proof that God does exist is substantial.
    8. Science could disprove the Creation Theorem if it progresses at this exponential rate. And the Creation theorem is a miracle all right. Science tries to prove anything that happens out of ordinary. It comes up with explanation for it. According to Hindu Mythology, the God Agni gives us flames. Science broke it down to combustion and what not. Humans have a tendency to call anything they find hard to believe a miracle or magic.
    9. I wouldn’t say science is the only way to truth. But using religion to explain things is unreasonable. There was a time when people believed that Earth is at the centre of the universe. Anyone who tried to prove otherwise had to face severe punishments from the religious, because they believed it so. But now, we ended up needing science to find the real thing. The theories of religion were hence disproved in that matter.
    11. Something from nothing.
    The said nothing is huge masses of energy. I think we both agree there unless I misunderstood it. However, you would believe this huge energy is God or God’s power while I’d believe it’s just energy and nothing more. That is simply opinion.
    Things like ‘god works in mysterious ways’ ‘it cannot be explained, so it must be god’s work’ ‘something like that is not possible, so it must be god’ These are just excuses and not explanations imo.

    Just some points I think you were wrong with.

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  19. There doesn’t seem to be the presentation of any evidence to support your claims here; just statements that boil down to “other people say that they are wrong, so that proves that.” Unfortunately those types of statements prove nothing and don’t even advance the conversation anywhere. (by the way, I believe what Professor Hawking meant was that philosophy has died because people have stopped asking questions; because they believe they have found all of the answers, namely in religion.)

  20. You can’t prove something doesn’t exist?
    Hmm, every single example listed in this wilted word salad has tangible empirical evidence that establishes what a T-Rex was, what a bachelor is and what makes a Muslim in the Senate…the same principle cannot be applied to god because there is no standard of measurement that can establish what constitutes as evidence for the idea of god. Sure the idea exists, that doesn’t mean god does. Young children are really the only group of ppl who can get away with this mentality.
    This is atrociously dishonest, it’s actually disturbing

  21. 1. excluding the bible there is more historical documentation that shows Horus and Thor as gods than there is for your own god or Jesus. In fact, many of the items that happened in the bible are not even recorded in historical documents.
    2. Of course the bible is historic, the same as the poems of Beowulf or the documents on Zeus, king of the gods. Atheists won’t disagree, but will point out that they are all as believable as each other.
    3. Atheism is a belief as barefoot is a shoe. I can’t understand why theists need to try and say that not believing in something is a faith or belief. If you don’t believe in faeries is that a faith to you?
    4. You can’t prove that something doesn’t exist. You do know there is a $1 Million reward in “Intelligently Designed currency” payable to any individual who can produce empirical evidence proving that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    5 One persons view is one persons view. Philosophy is just the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc and is not an answer to any of those questions, just a study of them.

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