Convince Me There’s A God: The New Testament Part 1

We started our special series, Convince Me There’s A God, almost six years ago. The purpose was simply to answer the question atheists have asked me for almost 50 years – why did I leave atheism for Christianity since (in their opinion) there is no evidence for it? I thought it might be helpful to present the evidence that convinced me of God’s existence and the truth claims of Christianity, so the Convince Me There’s A God series was born.

So far we’ve looked at some of the scientific, philosophical, historical and textual evidence that was available for me to investigate in 1971. Let’s continue!

We most recently looked at the Intertestamental Period that ran from the end of the 5th century BC to the early part of the 1st century AD. That time is also known as the “Silent Period” because God did not speak to His people through prophets as He had done for centuries before.

The final Old Testament prophet was a man named Malachi. His name means “messenger” and that was the purpose of his letter. God gave a clear message to Malachi that included a prophecy about another “messenger” who would “prepare the way before” God. Who would that messenger be and when would he come?

“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

We see several important things in this one verse of the Old Testament written toward the end of the 5th century BC:

  1. God would “send” His messenger to Israel.
  2. That messenger who would “prepare the way” before God the Lord.
  3. The Lord, whom the people Israel sought after, would suddenly come to His temple.
  4. God further identified the “Lord” who would come to His temple as “the Messenger of the covenant” in which the people delighted.
  5. God emphasized the fact of the coming of the Lord, the Messenger, by saying – “Behold, He is coming,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”

Malachi, who was God’s messenger to the people of Israel at the end of the 5th century BC, prophesied that God would send two future messengers. One would “prepare the way” before God. The other is identified as “Lord” and “Messenger of the covenant.”

Malachi doesn’t begin or end with chapter 3 verse 1. There is more detail about the Messenger who would come:

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2

God spoke powerfully, clearly and fiercely through Malachi. In the chapters leading up to chapter 3 verse 1, God chastised the Israelites for their polluted offerings (chapter 1) and corrupt spiritual leaders (chapter 2). God offered Israel a time of future hope by promising a messenger and the Messenger, but it would not be without difficulties for some –

“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 4:1-3

Notice also that God promised to those who feared His name “The Sun of Righteousness” who would arise “with healing in His wings.” This prophecy was in the context of God judging the wicked while also protecting those who feared His name. The wicked would be burned up, while the righteous would be healed. They would grow in size and trample the wicked. The wicked would be “ashes” under the soles of the feet of those who feared God “On the day that I do this.”

God also promised to send “Elijah” to Israel. That’s interesting since Elijah lived during the 9th century BC and Malachi wrote at the end of the 5th century BC.

[We should also note that the Bible reports Elijah did not die – he was taken to Heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2).]

Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LordAnd he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:4-6

Remember these words from Malachi because they will be important to our study in the near future.

The “Messenger” After Malachi

Where do we find these “messengers” of God? Where is the “Lord” who would “suddenly” come to His temple? Did they come to Israel during the Intertestamental Period? At a later time? Is the coming of the “messengers” still future?

The Jewish writings of the Intertestamental Period do not demonstrate that Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled during the time of those writers. In fact, Jews who lived during the rule of  ancient Persia, Greece and Rome continued to look for the deliverance promised to them in the prophetic writings (Nevi’im).

It is in the writings of the New Testament of the Bible that claims are made that God sent both of His messengers to Israel during the early part of the 1st century AD.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LordMake His paths straight.’ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:1-8

You might notice that Mark’s quote is from Isaiah 40:3 –

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LordMake straight in the desert A highway for our God.” 

Malachi was the last of God’s prophets to prophesy to Israel about God sending a special “messenger,” but he was not the first. Isaiah prophesied centuries before Malachi.

The King James and New King James versions of Mark 1:2-3 do not mention the name of Isaiah because his name is not included in the 1550 Stephanus Greek New Testament (Textus Receptus). Instead, the word προφήταις (prophets) was used without mentioning Isaiah.

Ὡς γέγραπται ἐν τοῖς προφήταις, Ἰδού, ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου

Many other versions of Mark 1:2-3 do include Isaiah’s name because they use other Greek texts (e.g. 1904 Nestle, 1881 Westcott and Hort). They used the words Ἠσαίᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ (Isaiah the prophet).

Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαίᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ Ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου·

There is no question about which prophet is referred to in Mark 1:2 because the quote comes directly from Isaiah 40:3.

Mark is not the only Gospel to mention this –

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LordMake His paths straight.’” Matthew 3:3

“… as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LordMake His paths straight.” Luke 3:4

He said: ‘I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:23

[The Textus Receptus does include Isaiah’s name in similar references in Matthew, Luke and John. It’s only excluded in Mark’s Gospel.]

Comparing Old and New

Here is the full context of Isaiah 40:3:

Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ Says your God. ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.’ The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:1-5

Here is the larger context of the Gospel accounts –

“… the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LordMake His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:2-6

“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’ He said: ‘I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23

Keep in mind that the nation of Israel had not heard a “new Word” (prophecy) from God for more than 400 years. Jews knew the prophecies about God sending a “messenger” and a “voice” that would cry out in the wilderness, but generations had come and gone with no fulfillment of those prophecies. In light of that it’s interesting to see how the Jews of the early 1st century AD responded to the preaching of John the son of Zacharias.

We just read in John’s Gospel account that “the Jews” (Jewish leaders in Jerusalem) sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John about his identity. Was he the Christ (Messiah)? Was he Elijah? Was he the Prophet (possibly the promised prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15)? John’s answer was that he was not. He was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.” John claimed to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Next Time

In the next part of our study, we will look at John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, the two “messengers” prophesied in Malachi.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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25 thoughts on “Convince Me There’s A God: The New Testament Part 1

  1. in that the Jews don’t agree with you, why should we believe that Christians, who had a vested interest in making up a story to fit (poorly) the prophecies, have the right interpretation?

    1. Hi, Clubs. Thank you for writing. I visited your blog and saw that you’re an atheist. Am I correct that you don’t believe in the God of the Jews or Christians? Curious why you are interested in Jewish prophecies if you don’t believe in the Prophesier? I look forward to our discussion.

    2. Hello, FASD. You can call me Vel, if you’d like, and find my “why I’m an atheist” story on the “boss’s office” page on my blog. I was raised Christian, was a Presbyterian, and have read the entire bible as a believer and as not.

      No, I do not believe in any gods, including the god of the Jews and the Christians. I’m interested in what theists claim since they often have no evidence for their claims and their beliefs often cause much harm. I’m interested in all religions and their stories and claims. The idea that I once believed such things fascinates me and I am curious on why people believe in the things they do. I’m also interested in the idea of morality and culture.

      Per your blog, you seem to think you have evidence for your beliefs. One thing I noticed when I was losing my faith was that theists all make very similar claims, that their god was the creator of the universe, that belief in their god is the only way to be saved from some type of eternal torture, etc. I also noted that Christians do not agree, and was exposed to a fair amount of anti-Catholicism.

      What type of Christian are you?

    3. Hi, Vel. I read your atheist testimony and it sounds similar to mine in some ways. I grew up in a Christian home and church (Baptist), but got away from it as soon as I could in high school. I studied martial arts as a teenager and got interested in Buddhism (one of my teachers said he was a Buddhist monk). I found Buddhist philosophy worked well with atheism and became an atheist during college.

      You asked what “type” of Christian I am. The only type of Christian I find in the New Testament is a follower of Jesus Christ (disciple). I am a disciple (follower) of Jesus Christ type.

      I did follow a trail of evidence to eventually become a theist and Christian. That’s what I’m writing about in the series “Convince Me There’s A God.” Thanks for writing! Mark

    4. Well, since atheism is nothing more than no belief in god/s, it works with most any philosophy.

      Christians disagree on what a Christian is, and they all cite the bible to show that they and only they are the True Christians. Do you accept only what Jesus supposedly said or do you add Paul, etc, into that too?

      I’ve been looking at your evidence. Most of it has been claimed by other religions or it is based on pure presupposition. Is there any evidence you think shows that your version of your religion and only your religion is the correct one?

    5. You wrote that atheism is “no belief” in god/s. Do you mean that you have “no belief” in god/s or that you do “not believe god/s exist”?

      What do you mean by “most any philosophy”? I’ll respond to your comment about how atheism “works with most any philosophy” after understanding what you mean by that.

      You wrote that “Christians disagree on what a Christian is.” Examples of that disagreement?

      What is a “true” Christian? How do think that a person who is a true Christian would disagree about what a true Christian is?

      What does it mean to “cite” the Bible? How do Christians “cite” the Bible?

      I “accept” what Jesus said. I “accept” what His disciples said and wrote. Is that not what a Christian should do?

      What of my “evidence” do you think is claimed by other religions? What religions claim similar evidence to Christians?

      What do you mean by “pure presupposition”? How is “evidence” based on pure “presupposition”?

      What do you mean by “version of your religion”? I am a Christian, so what “version” of Christianity do you have in mind?

      The fact that I was an atheist and am now a theist is because of evidence for theism and Christianity.

      Thanks! Mark

    6. Hi Mark,

      Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Merriam-webster, my seventh grade teacher’s favorite dictionary says this: 1A: a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods I as an atheist have no belief in god/s. A Christian can be said to be an atheist in regards to other gods: 1B: a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods. This is despite their god mentioning other gods in the bible.

      How much do you know about philosophies, Mark? There are many of them, ways of thinking, and they often have nothing to do with any form of religion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_philosophies One doesn’t need a god to have certain beliefs. I am an atheist and I find that Epicureanism to be the philosophy that I find most appealing. Does that help?

      I find your request for examples of Christians not agreeing with Christians to be rather disingenuous. However, I’ll provide them by asking you some questions: Is baptism required to be a Christian? How should one be baptized? Is there an eternal hell? Is heaven just for a few or for all? Will all people one day all accept Christ? What was the nature of Christ, human, spirit, etc? Did Jesus have another gospel about his adventures in the western hemisphere? Should people be allowed to be divorced? When is the sabbath? Which of the commandments should be followed? Should everyone listen to the Pope? Are there saints and do they intervene? Is there free will or predestination? Those are all differences in what Christians believe. Now, most Christians I have chatted with have tried to claim that these differences aren’t “important” and do their best to ignore them. They also often claim that the people who disagree with their version of Christians aren’t really Christians and try to avoid the disagreement that way.

      Indeed, what is a true Christian? As you can see above, there is no agreement. Then we can add what Paul supposedly said, which disagrees with what Jesus said. One of the glaring examples of that is:

      Luke 21: 7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.”

      Romans 13: 11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near.

      Another is

      Matthew 12: 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

      Romans 3: 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

      In these instances, we have disagreement to the point where I find it hard to believe that Paul knew of the gospels at all considering the diametrically opposite claims. And it’s not me who dug these up, it is Christians http://www.voiceofjesus.org/paulvsjesus.html

      The term cite means this: 1 to call upon officially or authoritatively to appear (as before a court) 2 : to quote by way of example, authority, or proof” Christians call upon verses of the bible to claim that their version is the only correct one. As you see above, they often end up either citing Jesus or Paul or some part of the Old Testament depending on what they want to claim. For example, Christians disagree on what the bible has to say about homosexuality. Some will cite the commandments and Paul, some will cite Jesus with loving everyone.

      In that there are contradictions in what Jesus and the authors of the bible have written, there is a problem in saying you “accept” this. As above for instance, which do you accept when it comes to homosexuality? Or as another example, should we treat people equally or are women to be considered second class citizens as Paul would claim?

      Other religions claim that their prophecies were fulfilled e.g. Islam, Hinduism, Hopi, Mohawk, etc. Other religions claim that the universe is evidence that *their* god was the creator e.g. any religion with a creation myth. Other religions claim that miracles happen and that is evidence for their god e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc . Other religions claim real places and people in their stories, and that suposedly is evidence for their god e.g. the greco-roman religion, the Egytpian religion, etc.

      What I mean by “pure presupposition” is you assuming that the bible is true with no evidence. You refer to stories from the OT, which cannot be shown as true, as evidence for stories in the NT, which cannot be shown as true. Presupposition is not evidence which is why when you make your claims they aren’t based on evidence.

      As you may note above, Christians do not agree and each has their version of their religion, so this is exactly what I meant when I said “versions of your religion”. As for versions of Chrisitanity, some big ones are Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Mormonism, Unitarianism, the various Orthodox Christianities, Coptic Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, etc. All claim that they are the only right ones and that everyone else at best has only a partial truth and at worst is damned to eternal torture. I got to watch a lot of anti-catholicism when I was young.

      Hope this all clarifies things.

      Now, I have a question, what evidence do you have that is not what another theist would cite as evidence for they follow their particular religion? What is unique about the evidence you claim?

    7. Hi, Vel. I didn’t mean to upset you with my questions. I like to be sure that all parties in a conversation understand how words are being defined so we have the best communication possible.

      I like Merriam-Webster as well – “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods : one who subscribes to or advocates atheism”

      Atheism, I believe, is a belief system. When I was an atheist, I did not believe in the existence of God or gods. A lack of belief in something means you don’t have a belief about it. You wrote “Atheism is the lack of belief in god.” So, do you lack a belief about it (as in you don’t have any belief about the subject one way or the other) or do you believe that God/gods do not exist? It seems from what you’ve written that you believe God does not exist. Am I correct that that is your belief?

      Pagans called Christians atheists centuries ago because they didn’t believe in the “gods.” I understand your point. The Bible does refer to many ancient pagan “gods” as “gods.” Jews were told not to worship “other gods.” The Bible further describes these gods as man-made images from wood and stone.

      I know a little something about philosophy. That’s why I asked what you meant by it. Not everyone defines or understands some terms the same. I’m familiar with Epicureanism. Am I correct that Epicureanists did not deny the existence of gods? I believe they denied that the gods were involved in this world. Are you that type of Epicureanist? You don’t deny the gods exist, but believe they are not involved in this world?

      I don’t know why you think my request for examples of Christians disagreeing about what a Christian is would be “disingenuous.” We’re getting to know each other and I don’t want to make assumptions about what you think or believe. Thus the questions.

      I’m all too familiar with disagreements that Christians have – as in the examples you mentioned. Followers of Jesus Christ were first known as “disciples.” The name “Christian” began years later in Antioch, Syria. Both names have been used for centuries to describe followers of Jesus Christ. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not hard to understand, but people have muddied the water through the centuries for a variety of bad reasons. Some people do it because they want people to follow them. Some do it because they want money, popularity, power, control, etc. Jesus and the apostles warned that would happen and it has.

      A good rule for understanding the Bible, and other texts for that matter, is “text and context.” What does each word mean in its original language and setting? What is the context of the text? I’ll respond to your examples:

      “Indeed, what is a true Christian? As you can see above, there is no agreement. Then we can add what Paul supposedly said, which disagrees with what Jesus said. One of the glaring examples of that is:

      Luke 21: 7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.”

      Romans 13: 11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near.

      Another is

      Matthew 12: 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

      Romans 3: 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.”

      The context of Luke 11 is Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Then Jesus said something very interesting in the context of the Jews being led into captivity – “And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Then Jesus said –

      “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28

      Since we haven’t seen the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory, that appears to be a future event. Jesus said that the “times of the Gentiles” have apparently not been fulfilled yet.

      That’s the same thing Paul wrote years later –

      ” For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” Romans 11:25-28

      It would seem that Paul is on the same page as Jesus, but let’s look at your reference to Romans 13: 11 to see if there’s a disagreement there. The context of the text is Paul’s admonition to Christians in Rome to love their neighbor and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill their lusts. The fact was that the Romans were closer to their ultimate salvation than when they first believed in Christ. Paul was talking about their behavior as followers of Christ on earth not the future return of Christ to earth.

      The context of Matthew 12 is Jesus answering the charges of his enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was telling the religious bigots of His day that on the future “day of judgment whey would have to give an account for every careless word they uttered and that they would be justified or condemned by their words. That squares with other Scriptures concerning the future judgment of people.

      The context of Romans 3 is that Jews and Gentiles are all guilty before God and will be judged by Him. However, Paul wrote – “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22). Paul placed the timing as “present” rather than future – “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) That’s the context of Romans 3:28 -“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

      Jesus said the same thing when He spoke to Nicodemus – “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:14-18)

      You wrote – “In these instances, we have disagreement to the point where I find it hard to believe that Paul knew of the gospels at all considering the diametrically opposite claims.”

      I don’t see the disagreements that you see. Paul certainly knew what the other apostles were teaching. He met with them individually and then in a large group where they agreed that Paul would take the Gospel to Gentiles and Peter, James, John and the other Jews would take the Gospel to the Jews.

      You wrote – “What I mean by “pure presupposition” is you assuming that the bible is true with no evidence. You refer to stories from the OT, which cannot be shown as true, as evidence for stories in the NT, which cannot be shown as true. Presupposition is not evidence which is why when you make your claims they aren’t based on evidence.”

      I have never assumed the Bible is true. In fact, I assumed the Bible was false until I investigated the evidence. From what you’ve written I think you know that much of the information in the Bible can be verified. I agree that presupposition is not evidence, which is why I asked you the question. Presupposition and evidence are on different sides of the scale. The truth claims of the Bible are based on evidence, not presuppositions.

      You wrote – As you may note above, Christians do not agree and each has their version of their religion, so this is exactly what I meant when I said “versions of your religion”. As for versions of Chrisitanity, some big ones are Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Mormonism, Unitarianism, the various Orthodox Christianities, Coptic Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, etc. All claim that they are the only right ones and that everyone else at best has only a partial truth and at worst is damned to eternal torture. I got to watch a lot of anti-catholicism when I was young.”

      I don’t agree that all the members of those groups are Christians. Christianity is not a denomination. It is a worldwide movement of people who follow Jesus Christ. They are people who have done what Paul describes in Romans 10 – “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Membership in an earthly group that calls itself “Christian” does not mean that it is in fact Christian and that the people who belong to it are Christians. The only people who are Christians are those who have confessed the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. They are “saved,” which is to say they are true Christians.

      You asked me a question – “Now, I have a question, what evidence do you have that is not what another theist would cite as evidence for they follow their particular religion? What is unique about the evidence you claim?”

      I’m assuming that when you say “another theist” you mean another “monotheist.” Is that correct? Theists have little in common with polytheists, pantheists, or panentheists.

      The three Abrahamic religions do have some things in common, but a correct understanding of Jesus Christ is not one of them. Jews do not believe Jesus is the Messiah of Israel or the eternal Son of God. Many Jews believe Jesus was a false prophet and sorcerer. Muslims believe Jesus was the Messiah of Israel and a prophet and messenger sent from God, but they do not believe that Jesus died for the sins of humanity, was buried and rose from the dead. They also do not believe that Jesus is eternal. Neither Jews nor Muslims believe about Jesus similarly to how Christians believe about Jesus.

      While Christianity shares a history with Judaism and Islam borrows some of its beliefs from Christianity and Judaism, Christianity stands alone in its beliefs concerning Jesus Christ.

      Hope that helps! Mark

    8. As I indicated, I’m not upset at all. I’m wondering why you would think so.

      Atheism, no matter what you would like to believe, is not a belief system. It’s a lack of belief, and claiming it is a belief system is akin to saying not playing baseball is a sport. I’m fascinated why many Christians try to claim a lack of a belief is somehow a belief system like theirs. What seems to be the case, in my opinion, is that theists want to claim an equivalency that is not there, to excuse their beliefs and actions e.g “well you guys do the same thing”, when atheists don’t.

      I have come to the conclusion that there are no gods because there is no evidence for such entities. That’s what “lack of belief in god” means. I have no belief in your god or any other. You are correct that members of other religions called Christians atheists because they didn’t believe in their gods. You still do that now, and you are an atheist when it comes to Allah, Vishnu, Tezcatlipoca, Sekhmet, etc. If one is to believe your bible, there are other gods, and your god is jealous of them, per that first of the exodus commandments. Now, if they are of just images, why would this god be jealous?

      It’s good you know about philosophy. It can be a morass to slog through all of the various ones. And I try to use the dictionary definition to eliminate any question, so that’s why I gave you what I meant. Unfortunately, I’ve run into many many Christians who want to alter standard definitions of words so their religion might stay intact. I find that very deceitful. I’m glad you are interested in clarifying what we both mean.

      Epicureanism is one of the places we get the classic problem of evil question: “God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak – and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful – which is equally foreign to god’s nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?”

      So, it seems that the existence of gods is an open question for Epicureanists and with the problem of evil, not one that gods come out very well in. Gods may not exist or may be malevolent, or may be lacking power, definitely not the omnipotent god of Christianity. Since I see no evidence for gods of either description, powerful but not omnipotent entities, or omnipotent entities, I conclude that they do not exist. Could some powerful being exist and not bother with humans, not have created the universe, or created the universe and just walked away, essentially the Deist position? There is some terribly small probability, but that entity is not the gods that humans claim exist, and definitely not the god you are trying to claim is real.

      The reason I would think that your question about Christians disagreeing with each other is disingenuous is that many Christians deny that this happens. I am on a forum called Why God Won’t Heal Amputees http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php and we currently have a Christian making that exact claim. I’m glad you are aware of the many disagreements between Christians on the very basics of their religion.

      However, Mark, you seem to be using the typical excuses of a Christian, that those Christians you don’t agree with have less than stellar motives, to make them an “other”. Those Christians you don’t agree with can make the same claims about you. This is why I question why any of you should be believed since none of you have any better evidence for your version than the rest. They also claim that I should use “text and context” to understand the bible and I should agree with them.

      I do use text and context to understand the bible. And I can note when Christians make up nonsense about their bible to fit their own beliefs; using what amount to personal magic decoder rings to insist that their personal interpretation is the right one and no one else’s is. This also applies to what parts they want to consider literal vs metaphor, hyperbole vs really meaning what is written (we have another Christian on that same forum who claims that he can figure out what bits are which, a Jehovah’s Witness), and which are written by this god and which are written by man and can be ignored.

      Your claims that your interpretations of the verses I mentioned are typical of what Christians claim, that they and only they have the right context and text. I’m not sure why you are mentioning Luke 11 when I didn’t. I’m guessing you meant Luke 21. Other Christians insist that these words are about the end times, not the destruction of the temple. There is also the problem that none of what Jesus claimed would happen, earthquakes, signs in the skies, the “son of man” in a cloud, etc. happened during the known destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Since the prophecy failed, some Christians put the events forward in time because they couldn’t handle a failed messiah. You want to claim context for the first part but you want to ignore the context for the second part to excuse the failure of the prophecy. It is also curious what Jesus meant about the Gentiles since he said his religion was not for them, another part of the context.

      In that Paul took the word to the Gentiles and JC said not to, Paul doesn’t seem to be on the page with Jesus at all. You seem to assume so because you take the prophecy out of its context; assuming that since the events didn’t happen when predicted, they must mean a future time, not that the prophecy was nonsense. Each generation of Christians is sure that the predictions will come true in a short time, often in their lifetimes, and the predictions always fail, just like Paul’s did. This is another place where Christians often try to change the standard meaning of words, trying to claim that “soon” doesn’t mean “in a prompt manner; speedily “ but somehow it means thousands of years. You appear to be trying that too. And I do understand why this is done, but it doesn’t make it accurate; it is yet one more baseless interpretation.

      Words are also not faith and deeds are not faith. JC and Paul are not saying the same thing. Trying to claim that they do, when the words do not mean anything similar, is again an attempt to redefine words to suit your needs. The verses from John also do not support the claim that somehow words equal faith. It states that those who believe in Jesus are saved and in context, one must follow the laws when one believes in Jesus, that the laws have not ended since heaven and earth are still here. This is the differences between Christians in the whole “sole fide” and grace argument. If one’s faith is all that gets one in, and that faith is only given to certain peole by this god, there is no free will. If free belief is what get one’s saved, and one’s actions/words, then there may be free will, but that contradicts what the bible claims.

      I can understand that you don’t see the disagreements that I see and that other Christians see. You have your version of what you want to believe and you do your best to resolve things based on that presupposition. It’s like when fans of something like Star Wars don’t like a story but create stories on why the character did what they did, a context that did not exist in the original. In my version of Christianity, there was no way to allow for free will, predestination was the “truth”. And of course, I would be one of the chosen. Convenient, eh?

      We don’t know what Paul knew. What we have are claims, and those claims are not supported by evidence. What a lot of Christians forget is that the books of the bible are the claims, not the evidence. Paul can’t even keep his origin story straight so he appears to be a untrustworthy narrator. And Paul was a Jew.

      Mark, when you make claims about the bible and its prophecies, you have assumed it is true; one builds on the other necessarily being true. I know that much of the bible cannot be verified, including every unique occurrence important to the religion. There is no evidence of a divine creation, no evidence of a world-wide mountain-deep flood, no evidence of an exodus, no evidence of a tower of babel, no evidence of battles between hundreds of thousands, no evidence of any vast temples or palaces with tons upon tons of precious metals, no evidence of Solomon or David as claimed in the bible, no evidence of Jesus Christ, son of God, and so many more. The only things can be found is that there was some war with Babylon, that some of the cities did exist, some of the personages did exist, but nothing different than the claims of other mythos. Please let me know what evidence you think there is for your religion.

      It is no surprise at all that you would claim that other people who claim that they are Christians aren’t Christians at all. This happens all of the time, and again, none of you have any better evidence or claim to the title than the next. Why should anyone believe that you have the only right answer? Those others you are sure aren’t Christians are equally sure you aren’t.

      I meant what I said when I asked you this: ““Now, I have a question, what evidence do you have that is not what another theist would cite as evidence for they follow their particular religion? What is unique about the evidence you claim?” It doesn’t matter if someone is a monotheist or pantheist or polytheist or panentheists. You have plenty in common with all, in that you make claims that are often unsupported. One of the big things is that you all claim (except for maybe the panentheists) that some entity created the universe and the universe is “evidence” of that god’s existence.

      You claim that only Christianity has the “right” understanding, and evidently only your version because you have taken the stances that those Christians who do not agree with you aren’t Christians. How do you know this? Other theists will make the same claim, and again, none of you have any evidence to support your claims. In that we can’t find that Jesus Christ, Son of God, existed, or did anything that was claimed, is no reason to think that Christians have any truth about this character. No one noticed this person gathering a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) outside a occupied city twice, no one noticed that there was a major earthquake, the dead walking and the sun going dark on one day. The gospels can’t even keep their stories straight e.g. what did the “thieves” do? Did the event in Gesthemane happen? Who went to the tomb? And what happened there?.

      Jesus was a Jew, and said to keep the Jewish laws. It seems that Christianity has much more to do with Judaism than most Christians would want. Christians might have a unique view of Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean that any of this ever happened. We need evidence that the version of the story is true.

      Later!

    9. Hi, Vel. You’ve given me a lot to cover! 🙂

      I thought that when you wrote that I was disingenuous that you were upset. So glad you are not. You may think I’m being dishonest and insincere (disingenuous), but I’m not. I think we’re having an honest discussion about sincere beliefs.

      You wrote – “The reason I would think that your question about Christians disagreeing with each other is disingenuous is that many Christians deny that this happens.”

      I don’t deny that Christians disagree with each other. I wanted to make sure what you meant before answering you on that point.

      You wrote – “Atheism, no matter what you would like to believe, is not a belief system. It’s a lack of belief, and claiming it is a belief system is akin to saying not playing baseball is a sport.”

      I was an atheist and strongly believed that God did not exist. I mocked theists for their beliefs and let them know that I did not believe in any gods or supernatural anythings. That was my belief until I believed God did exist. I changed my beliefs. If someone has no belief in something, they have no belief about it. If you have no belief about God (lack of belief), then we don’t have much more to discuss about that. You have no belief one way or the other about God? If you do not have a belief about the existence of a God or gods, then we can change the subject of our discussion to something else.

      Concerning my views about the millions of gods in other religions, I do not have a “lack of belief” concerning those gods. I “do not believe” they exist. I do believe something about other gods. That’s not a lack of belief.

      You wrote – “If one is to believe your bible, there are other gods, and your god is jealous of them, per that first of the exodus commandments. Now, if they are of just images, why would this god be jealous?”

      God called the Jews out of Egypt so they would know the truth and worship and serve Him alone. God’s jealousy concerns His people worshipping false gods instead of Him. God loves and desires love in return. He called Israel to be His people and did not want them worshipping other gods like the rest of the nations around them. God called Israel to be His special people.

      You wrote – “I have come to the conclusion that there are no gods because there is no evidence for such entities.” You wrote the words “no evidence” many times in this response, so it appears you really believe there is “no evidence” for theism.

      Many atheists have become theists because of “evidence” for theism, myself included, so we know that evidence for God exists. I think it would be better for you to say that you are “not convinced” by the evidence theists present that God exists rather than say there is “no evidence” for theism. Here’s why I say that.

      I became an atheist more than 50 years ago and believed that theists had “no evidence” for their beliefs. When I met theists who presented evidence to me about the existence of God, I investigated the evidence and changed my view from they “have no evidence” to “convince me” about their evidence. We can disagree about how convincing the evidence is, but the evidence does exist. Would you agree?

      You wrote – “Mark, you seem to be using the typical excuses of a Christian, that those Christians you don’t agree with have less than stellar motives, to make them an “other”. Those Christians you don’t agree with can make the same claims about you. This is why I question why any of you should be believed since none of you have any better evidence for your version than the rest.”

      I could respond that you are using the typical excuses of an atheist, but that doesn’t help develop a good dialog about such an important topic. Coming from an atheist background into Christianity through the process of investigating evidence, I don’t think I am a “typical” Christian and I certainly don’t view discussing evidence as “using excuses.”

      I don’t think that Christians who don’t agree with me have “less than stellar motives.” Many of the Christians who don’t agree with me have good motives. I don’t think of Christians who disagree with me as “other.” All Christians are members of the Body of Christ – the same spiritual family. We discuss our differences and work them out as best as we can.

      You wrote – “I can understand that you don’t see the disagreements that I see and that other Christians see. You have your version of what you want to believe and you do your best to resolve things based on that presupposition.”

      I’ve been both an atheist and theist, so I do see the disagreements that you see and other Christians see. Atheists don’t believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God. Some Christians don’t believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God. Other Christians do believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God. Atheists don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. Some Christians don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. Other Christians do believe Jesus rose from the dead. That’s not a “version of what you want to believe.” That goes to the core of Christianity. The idea that I do my best to “resolve things based on that presupposition” is to misunderstand my history as an atheist and a theist.

      My presuppositions as an atheist were that God did not exist, Jesus did not exist, the supernatural did not exist, the Bible was a bunch of myths and legends, and there was no evidence for any of it. I went through my life with those presuppositions until I looked carefully at the evidence for theism and Christianity.

      You wrote – “We don’t know what Paul knew. What we have are claims, and those claims are not supported by evidence. What a lot of Christians forget is that the books of the bible are the claims, not the evidence. Paul can’t even keep his origin story straight so he appears to be a untrustworthy narrator. And Paul was a Jew.”

      We know a lot about what Paul knew because he wrote many of his thoughts and beliefs in letters that have been available to scholars and students to study for centuries. What a lot of atheists forget is that the Books of the Bible are evidence – like thousands of other ancient writings. I’ve heard many attacks on the Apostle Paul through the decades, so please tell me why you think his “origin story” is not straight and why he is an “untrustworthy narrator.” And what does Paul’s being a Jew have to do with that?

      You wrote – “Mark, when you make claims about the bible and its prophecies, you have assumed it is true; one builds on the other necessarily being true.”

      I don’t “assume” the Bible and prophecies are true. I believe they are true because of the process of verifying the evidence.

      You wrote – “I know that much of the bible cannot be verified, including every unique occurrence important to the religion. There is no evidence of a divine creation, no evidence of a world-wide mountain-deep flood, no evidence of an exodus, no evidence of a tower of babel, no evidence of battles between hundreds of thousands, no evidence of any vast temples or palaces with tons upon tons of precious metals, no evidence of Solomon or David as claimed in the bible, no evidence of Jesus Christ, son of God, and so many more. The only things can be found is that there was some war with Babylon, that some of the cities did exist, some of the personages did exist, but nothing different than the claims of other mythos. Please let me know what evidence you think there is for your religion.”

      I’ll refer you back to my earlier comment about your belief that evidence does not exist for “every unique occurrence important to religion.” I also refer you to hundreds of articles on this website and thousands of other websites that address the evidence for these “unique” occurrences important to Christianity.

      You wrote – “It is no surprise at all that you would claim that other people who claim that they are Christians aren’t Christians at all. This happens all of the time, and again, none of you have any better evidence or claim to the title than the next. Why should anyone believe that you have the only right answer? Those others you are sure aren’t Christians are equally sure you aren’t.”

      Here is what I wrote in my last response about being a Christian –

      “Christianity is not a denomination. It is a worldwide movement of people who follow Jesus Christ. They are people who have done what Paul describes in Romans 10 – “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Membership in an earthly group that calls itself “Christian” does not mean that it is in fact Christian and that the people who belong to it are Christians. The only people who are Christians are those who have confessed the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. They are “saved,” which is to say they are true Christians.”

      I know many people who call themselves Christian who disagree with what the Bible says about being a Christian. Why wouldn’t I think they are wrong if they believe the textbook of Christianity is wrong? People who believe the Bible is correct and are careful in their study of it should come to many similar conclusions – the most important being how someone becomes a Christian.

      You wrote – “It doesn’t matter if someone is a monotheist or pantheist or polytheist or panentheists. You have plenty in common with all, in that you make claims that are often unsupported. One of the big things is that you all claim (except for maybe the panentheists) that some entity created the universe and the universe is “evidence” of that god’s existence.”

      I see very little in common between monotheism and polytheism, pantheism and panentheism. Monotheism presents the belief that one God created the heavens and the earth. Many polytheists I’ve spoken with believe that multiple gods were involved in creation at different levels of involvement and influence. Many pantheists I’ve spoken with believe the universe is uncaused, uncreated, and is god. The panentheists I’ve spoken to have varying views of how the universe came into existence. Some say that God turned into the universe while creating it. Others say that all things are physically part of god. Each seems quite different to me as a theist, but I understand how you view it as an atheist. You don’t believe in the existence of God or gods or anything supernatural. However, lumping everyone from these very different worldviews as being alike doesn’t work.

      You wrote – “You claim that only Christianity has the “right” understanding, and evidently only your version because you have taken the stances that those Christians who do not agree with you aren’t Christians. How do you know this? Other theists will make the same claim, and again, none of you have any evidence to support your claims. In that we can’t find that Jesus Christ, Son of God, existed, or did anything that was claimed, is no reason to think that Christians have any truth about this character. No one noticed this person gathering a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) outside a occupied city twice, no one noticed that there was a major earthquake, the dead walking and the sun going dark on one day. The gospels can’t even keep their stories straight e.g. what did the “thieves” do? Did the event in Gesthemane happen? Who went to the tomb? And what happened there?”

      I don’t claim that Christians who do not agree with me are not Christians. I hope I made that clear in my response above. As to your claim that “none of you have any evidence to support your claims,” I refer you to my earlier responses about evidence. There is evidence that Jesus Christ existed and did what is claimed about Him. The issues you raised have been addressed many times by many people over a period of hundreds of years. I’m assuming you are familiar with those responses but are not convinced.

      You wrote – “Jesus was a Jew, and said to keep the Jewish laws. It seems that Christianity has much more to do with Judaism than most Christians would want. Christians might have a unique view of Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean that any of this ever happened. We need evidence that the version of the story is true.”

      Jesus was a Jew, which in itself is verification of Old Testament prophecies. He kept the Jewish laws, again verification of OT prophecies. Christianity is rooted in Judaism and the mystery that God was going to bring Jew and Gentile together through the Lord Jesus Christ. I am convinced that the evidence for Christianity supports that it is true.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    10. Hi Mark,

      Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back.

      Did you grow up atheist or did you come to that later? Most people in the US don’t grow up atheist so I’m wondering. I’m also wondering what you think mocking is. Is it just telling someone they are wrong, or does it involve something else?

      I know that the god described by Christians and in the bible doesn’t exist. There is no evidence for any of the events in the bible that are required to be a Christian. I don’t believe in your version of the Christian god as much as I don’t believe in Allah, in Quetzalcoatl, or a Christian Scientist’s version of the Christian god. I also don’t believe that Darth Vader exists, but I can have an opinion about the character being a weenie, as much as I can have the same opinion about Thor or Loki. You seem to be trying to twist my words and I find that odd. I have a lack of belief in your god as a real entity. I have knowledge that your god doesn’t exist. Does that make it clearer?

      Now, I’m assuming you feel the same way about Allah, etc, that there is no evidence, so you don’t believe in them. From what you have said “I “do not believe” they exist.” This is a lack of belief in those gods are real. You may believe e.g. a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing, that those gods don’t exist, but you have no more or less evidence than those people who do believe that those gods exist.

      Well, since there is no evidence of the Exodus, your point is moot. However, one has to be jealous of something that poses a threat. If this god knows that other gods aren’t real, then jealousy doesn’t mean anything in this context. As for your version of your god loving anything, it can’t even come up to the definition of love in the bible, so I find that claim incorrect. The question of why this being needs love is also a big question

      I know that there is no evidence for any gods, including your version of the Christian one. From my experience, many atheists have not become theists because of the evidence for a god. In that you seem to be one, what was this evidence that you found irresistible? And what of atheists who became theists worshipping other gods? What convinced them that would not convince you?

      I’ll get to the rest in the next day or two.

    11. Hi, Vel. I was a first generation atheist. My parents were Christians, but the hypocrisy I saw in church as a child led me to look at other belief systems. I studied Buddhism and Taoism in high school and became an atheist in college.

      I view mocking as ridiculing, deriding someone for what they believe, how they look, etc. Telling someone you don’t agree with them is not mocking if you aren’t ridiculing them for what they believe.

      You wrote – “I know that the god described by Christians and in the bible doesn’t exist … I have a lack of belief in your god as a real entity. I have knowledge that your god doesn’t exist.”

      I’m interested in knowing more about the “knowledge” you have that God doesn’t exist. Are you using the term “knowledge” is the sense of – “the range of one’s information or understanding: answered to the best of my knowledge” or “the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind” (Merriam Webster).

      You wrote – “Now, I’m assuming you feel the same way about Allah, etc, that there is no evidence, so you don’t believe in them.”

      Muslims do have evidence for their beliefs, but I am not convinced by their evidence. Not being convinced by evidence is different that saying there is no evidence.

      You wrote – “I know that there is no evidence for any gods, including your version of the Christian one.”

      Are you saying you have absolute and total knowledge that evidence for God or gods does not exist or that you are not convinced by the evidence for God or gods?

      You wrote – “You may believe e.g. a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing, that those gods don’t exist, but you have no more or less evidence than those people who do believe that those gods exist.”

      I believe there is more and better evidence for Christianity than for other religions.

      You wrote – “Well, since there is no evidence of the Exodus, your point is moot.”

      Are you saying that evidence for the Exodus of Jews from Egypt does not exist or that you are not convinced by the evidence that exists?

      You wrote – “From my experience, many atheists have not become theists because of the evidence for a god.”

      I have also met many atheists who have not become theists because of the evidence for God or gods. I have met many atheists who have become theists because of the evidence for God. People look at the evidence and are convinced or not. I think the quality/quantity of the evidence and quality of the investigation play a role in being convinced.

      You wrote – “And what of atheists who became theists worshipping other gods? What convinced them that would not convince you?”

      I have investigated the available evidence for many other religions and found their evidence unconvincing. I could evaluate the evidence that convinced an atheist to worship a god or gods from another religion once I knew what evidence they used and how they investigated it.

      Until next time!

      Mark

    12. The following is the second part of my response to your other post. It doesn’t surprise me at all that your parents were Christians. People often return to what they know. I’ll respond to this post in a few days. Or you can responde here and I’ll catch up with both.

      I’m not sure how you define evidence. Would you care to do so? For me, evidence is that which support a claim. For example a Christian may claim that the bible is their evidence for their god. However, the bible is the claim that this god exists, not the evidence for it. Evidence in this case would be that which shows that the flood happened, the genesis story happened, etc. It would be the same for any religion or any claim, say like, UFOs, reptiloids, gov’t conspiracies about the moon landing, etc.

      If something is cited as evidence for some entity or event, it has to support that event. Since, for instance, the geologic record does not support a world-wide mountain-deep flood, it is not evidence of that flood. This is why I don’t say “I’m not convince by the evidence” but that there is no evidence. In a similar vein, I find that there is no evidence for a cruxifiction and resurrection or an exodus from egypt. There is no evidence to support these events and there is evidence that supports entirely different things happening. I have discussed what Christians claim to be evidence with them, and I’ve found that it is not evidence at all. As I indicated before, I’m curious what evidence convinced you.

      You could indeed say that I was using typical excuses of an atheist, but then you would need to show that I have. I have pointed out that you want to claim that Christians who disagree with you aren’t really Christians, despite that they are sure that they are Christians and, in some cases, think you are not. This is why I wonder why I should believe any of you since you can’t convince each other.

      You don’t need to be a typical Christian to do what other Christians do, and as for discussing evidence, I’m not aware of where I compared this with making excuses. If this is reference to determining who is a real Christian and who is not, there has to be some way other than each Christian being sure that the rest are wrong but having no better evidence than the rest.

      What you said about other Christians was “I don’t agree that all the members of those groups are Christians. Christianity is not a denomination. It is a worldwide movement of people who follow Jesus Christ. They are people who have done what Paul describes in Romans 10 – “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Membership in an earthly group that calls itself “Christian” does not mean that it is in fact Christian and that the people who belong to it are Christians. The only people who are Christians are those who have confessed the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. They are “saved,” which is to say they are true Christians. ”. This does seem to indicate you find them not to be Christians and therefore the “other”, and having less than stellar motives. Perhaps you can explain what you meant.

      As for differences and working out, those differences are huge and the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands of differing sects shows that the differences aren’t being worked out. Indeed, the Catholics and Orthodox sects have been trying to agree for more than a thousand years and they are still sure that the other is wrong. In my family, it was anathema to consider marrying a Catholic. Finally, one did it and unsurprisingly the world didn’t end. This is why I don’t buy the claim that all Christians are considered members of the body of Christ when protestants consider Catholics pagans, etc, and Catholics are sure that they and only they have the truth, with at best others having only part of it, and the rest damned to eternal torture.

      Your next words confuse me a bit. So, do Christians need to accept Jesus as the eternal son of god or not? That he raised from the dead? And that Christians may have entirely contradictory claims, you seem to want to claim that this is “not a version of what you want to believe”. How is it not? Yes, it may go to the core of Christianity, and that is also debated on what is that core and what is the “truth”, but all of these versions are what someone has gotten out of the bible and the religion. Comparing what you say now and what you said before has me wondering exactly what you mean. Your core may be different than another Christians, and this presupposition of what it means to be a christian does influence what you see in the disagreements.

      In regards to what Paul wrote, do you believe he wrote all of the letters attributed to him in the bible or do you hold with bible scholars who say he didn’t write a good deal of them?

      Again, the books of the bible are not evidence, unless you wish to claim it is evidence that people did indeed believe these things. Please compare these two versions of Paul’s story, acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26. Why do they differ? As for him being a Jew, your words here “Paul certainly knew what the other apostles were teaching. He met with them individually and then in a large group where they agreed that Paul would take the Gospel to Gentiles and Peter, James, John and the other Jews would take the Gospel to the Jews.” Don’t make a whole lot of sense if Paul was a Jew too. It appears that he had issues with Peter et al and who was taught what. JC never said go teach the Gentiles, he said not to. And then Paul comes up with a story that he was told to do so. Again, we don’t know what Paul knew and all we have are claims. We also have the strangeness that Paul never mentions JC, contradicts him directly on more than one occasion, etc.

      You say that you don’t assume the prophecies are true, and you claim to have verified the evidence. What evidence? We have Jewish prophecies that have been coopted by Christians, one of the more notorious is the mistranslation of young woman into “virgin”. We also have John inventing a spear wound to try to make his myth more like the Jewish myth that the messiah would be pierced, something no one else mentions. Now, one could say that the prophecy was fulfilled because JC was pierced because John said so, or one can say “John had the first story and a need to validate his beliefs by refering to Jewish myths. The piercing never happened, and the prophecy was said to have been fulfilled but it never was.” Another claim of a prophecy being fulfilled is the flight into Egypt, but some of the gospels never mention this. It appears to have been added to again appeal to another myth to validate this one. Prophecies can be mangled because they are so vague many things can be claimed as the right “translation”. Now, if we had a prophecy in some ancient book, that on 9/11/01, a group of one religion would fly into a building on a continent that no one in Palestine knew of, killing thousands, we could point to that as a real prophecy. But when we have vague things like “wars and rumors of wars”, claims of earthquakes, well, those prophecies could be anytime or never happen. We also have completely failed predictions/claims by JC himself, that he would return with the kingdom of god before the people watching him would die. The second coming apparently was added to excuse that.

      I’ve seen the claims of evidence for the unique occurences important to the religion. They are little different from the claims of evidence for other religions. If one can only point to stories, and have no physical artifacts, no notice of such events by contemporary sources, etc, then they fail the test for historical events. I know that there are thousands of websites and apologetic books out there. I’ve read a good deal of them. I’m asking *you* for what evidence you consider valid because I know not all Christians accept all claims of evidence. I would also ask you why you would not consider similar claims of evidence valid for other religions.

      I know what you wrote when it comes to whom is a Christian. This is what I find to be the important sentence in your statement “The only people who are Christians are those who have confessed the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. They are “saved,” which is to say they are true Christians.” You’ve defined Christians the way you want to, to exclude anyone who disagrees with you. Christians disagree on what their bible means, so you may indeed think that they are wrong and not Christian, but again, they think the same of you, and none of you have a lock on the title. The sentence “People who believe the Bible is correct and are careful in their study of it should come to many similar conclusions – the most important being how someone becomes a Christian.” is what all Christians claim, that only *they* are careful in their study, and only *their* conclusions are correct. I get told a similar thing when I say I’ve read the bible and understand it. Many, if not all, Christians claim that I haven’t read the bible correctly since I didn’t come to their personal conclusions. I can’t possibly be right unless I agree with them. Do you see the problem here with believing any Christian? There is no way to tell which of you are correct. And when you claim you haven’t said that Christians who don’t believe what you do aren’t Christians, I have cause to not believe that.

      You may not choose to accept that your religion has things in common with others. I can understand that since all religions want to be the only one, with believers who known the truth to the universe. There are indeed different ideas within the religions, but in the big picture, you all make unsupported claims, that you wish others to not question, but you will not accept such claims from others using the methods you use. This is where I find quite a pile of hypocrisy.

      You are right that JC was a jew, which is not in itself a verification of old testament prophecies. If this were true, then Jews would agree with you; they do not. The messiah was to impress the worldly leaders when he was around, and he did not. I am not aware of a prophecy that says that keeping the OT laws is a thing to note about the messiah, other than he was to be Jewish and he would keep the laws by definition. JC said to keep his father’s laws, with no exceptions. The author of Acts and Paul contradict this. And a very large number of christians want nothing to do with the OT laws, at most only wanting to pretend the first ten count.

      There is nothing in JC’s words that say that Jew and Gentile were to be brought together, though some Christians wish to interpret certain verses that way, much as they try with jewish prophecies. In that JC wasn’t keen on even being nice to Samaritans supports my conclusions. You may be convinced but that doesn’t mean it is true either.

    13. Hi, Vel. You wrote – “It doesn’t surprise me at all that your parents were Christians. People often return to what they know.”

      That’s what most atheists tell me. They think I returned to Christianity because I was raised among Christians. I rebelled against Christianity because of what I viewed as the hypocrisy and stupidity of Christians. That doesn’t sound like something I’d want to return to without sufficient evidence that it was true, but it’s what atheists like to believe about me.

      You wrote – “I’m not sure how you define evidence. Would you care to do so?”

      Evidence is “The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.” (Oxford Dictionary)

      You wrote – “For me, evidence is that which support a claim.”

      In a legal matter multiple sides present evidence they believe supports a claim. A judge, jury, panel, etc. decides what evidence they believe supports a truth claim.

      You wrote – “For example a Christian may claim that the bible is their evidence for their god. However, the bible is the claim that this god exists, not the evidence for it.”

      Historical documents, like the many documents that make up what is called the “Bible,” are part of the evidence which I looked at during my investigation into claims about the existence of God. I looked at many other things as well, but it would not be a complete investigation without looking at the totality of available evidence. The biblical texts and supporting evidence for them are part of the totality of available evidence.

      You wrote – “Evidence in this case would be that which shows that the flood happened, the genesis story happened, etc.”

      Why would you not accept scientific evidence used to support the claims of a worldwide flood as evidence? You mentioned that you have read a lot of apologetics books, so I’m thinking you must have read about some of the evidence presented for that. I’m assuming that by “the genesis story” you mean the first several chapters of Genesis. Again, since you’ve read apologetics books that include evidence for those claims, what have you found that you don’t believe is evidential in nature? Maybe we could begin with the first verse in the Bible – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Do you believe the heavens and earth exist? Do you believe they had a beginning? Many ancient people up until even recent history thought the universe was eternal – had always existed. The words of Genesis, written thousands of years before modern science, said that the universe had a beginning. What do you think?

      You wrote – “If something is cited as evidence for some entity or event, it has to support that event. Since, for instance, the geologic record does not support a world-wide mountain-deep flood, it is not evidence of that flood.”

      One of the Christians who got me started on an investigation into the truth claims of theism and Christianity was a scientist who researched the geology of the earth concerning the biblical claims of a world-wide flood. He and other scientists presented scientific evidence they believed did support a world-wide, mountain-deep flood. What about their scientific evidence do you believe does not support a world-wide flood?

      You wrote – “This is why I don’t say “I’m not convince by the evidence” but that there is no evidence.”

      On this we will have to disagree. Because you or I are not convinced by evidence does not mean that the evidence does not exist. Many atheists have been convinced by this evidence, so they would certainly disagree with you.

      You wrote – “In a similar vein, I find that there is no evidence for a cruxifiction and resurrection or an exodus from egypt. There is no evidence to support these events and there is evidence that supports entirely different things happening.”

      Since you have read the Bible through and also read many apologetics books, I have to wonder how you can continue to say that there is “no evidence” for such basics as the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. I disagree with your statement. You may not be convinced by the evidence, but that does not mean the evidence does not exist and that it is not support truth. Those atheists who have been convinced by the evidence would disagree with you as well. What evidence do you have that supports “entirely different things happening”?

      You wrote – “I have discussed what Christians claim to be evidence with them, and I’ve found that it is not evidence at all. As I indicated before, I’m curious what evidence convinced you.”

      What evidence that Christians have claimed to be evidence to you were “not evidence at all”?

      Since you have read many apologetics books, you should know what types of evidence convinced me. I became a Christian in 1971 and don’t remember there being any apologetics books in print at that time. I learned later that there were some older books available, but I didn’t know about them at the time. Many apologetics books have been published since I became a Christian and the evidence the authors included is similar to the evidence that convinced me. Because of the sheer amount of evidence supporting theism and Christianity, I began writing a series about that evidence many years ago to help answer atheists’ questions about why I became a Christian.

      You wrote – “You could indeed say that I was using typical excuses of an atheist, but then you would need to show that I have.

      Based on my years as an atheist actively involved in talking with theists about their beliefs and almost 50 years as a theist talking with atheists about their beliefs, I have heard the same responses and rarely hear one that I haven’t heard many times before.

      You wrote – “I have pointed out that you want to claim that Christians who disagree with you aren’t really Christians, despite that they are sure that they are Christians and, in some cases, think you are not. This is why I wonder why I should believe any of you since you can’t convince each other.”

      I base what I believe about Christianity from Jesus Christ and His apostles. Whether someone is really a Christian, as in someone who has received the Lord’s gift of eternal life and their name is written in the Book of Life, is known to God. I don’t think that someone who disagrees with me isn’t a Christian just because they don’t agree with me on some issues. However, if someone who says they are a Christian doesn’t agree with what Jesus and His apostles said about the gift of eternal life, then there is a question about whether they have received the gift of eternal life. Only God can give that gift, so final judgment belongs to Him. However, Jesus and his apostles gave Christians some insights into how to tell if someone is a true Christian or not.

      You wrote – “As for differences and working out, those differences are huge and the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands of differing sects shows that the differences aren’t being worked out. Indeed, the Catholics and Orthodox sects have been trying to agree for more than a thousand years and they are still sure that the other is wrong.”

      I find the differences unfortunate and even harmful at times. I know enough about the history of Christianity to understand how and why there are differences, but as a member of God’s family I find it sad that we don’t have unity. The differences go back much further than a thousand years. The apostles wrote about some of those differences in the 1st century and Christian leaders wrote about them in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries. It’s been a challenge for two thousand years. That, by the way, comes as no surprise. Jesus and the apostles warned about people claiming to be followers of Christ who would disrupt churches and lead people away to follow them.

      You wrote – “Your next words confuse me a bit. So, do Christians need to accept Jesus as the eternal son of god or not? That he raised from the dead?”

      Christians have been debating those two points, among others, for centuries. I believe that people who say Jesus is not the eternal Son of God are in disagreement with the plain claims of Scripture. The same with Christ’s resurrection from the dead. If they don’t believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God, what do they believe about Him? How do their beliefs about Christ compare to the teachings of Christ and His apostles. If they don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead, then they must believe He is still dead. That doesn’t bode well for them if they believe that because they have no eternal future without a risen Savior. As Paul wrote – “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have [c]fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

      The New Testament is quite plain in presenting both Christ’s resurrection from the dead and His eternality and deity.

      You wrote – “In regards to what Paul wrote, do you believe he wrote all of the letters attributed to him in the bible or do you hold with bible scholars who say he didn’t write a good deal of them?”

      I believe Paul wrote the letters attributed to him in the New Testament. I disagree with Bible scholars who say he didn’t write some or many of them. I agree with Bible scholars who say he did write the letters attributed to him.

      You wrote – “Please compare these two versions of Paul’s story, acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26. Why do they differ?”

      How do they “differ”? They appear to be the same basic story with additional information in different presentations. People share different aspects of a story with different groups of people. That is nothing strange or concerning unless important facts contradict. What about Paul’s story contradicts?

      You wrote – “As for him being a Jew, your words here “Paul certainly knew what the other apostles were teaching. He met with them individually and then in a large group where they agreed that Paul would take the Gospel to Gentiles and Peter, James, John and the other Jews would take the Gospel to the Jews.” Don’t make a whole lot of sense if Paul was a Jew too. It appears that he had issues with Peter et al and who was taught what. JC never said go teach the Gentiles, he said not to. And then Paul comes up with a story that he was told to do so. Again, we don’t know what Paul knew and all we have are claims.”

      The information about Paul’s interaction with other apostles as related in Acts and Galatians is so clear that I am surprised you don’t see it. I addressed questions about Paul and the other apostles in this ebook – https://gracelifethoughts.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/paul-e28093-apostle-orc2a0fraud.pdf. The Jerusalem apostles questioned what Paul and Barnabas were doing preaching the Gospel to Gentiles in Antioch. Peter reminded them what God did through him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his household, which opened the apostles to listen to Paul and Barnabas explain how God was working in the lives of Gentiles. The Jerusalem apostles gave their approval to what Paul and Barnabas were doing after hearing their evidence.

      You wrote – “We also have the strangeness that Paul never mentions JC, contradicts him directly on more than one occasion, etc.”

      The strangeness is your statement that Paul never mentioned Jesus Christ. You said you read through the entire Bible, so you must have seen that Paul mentioned Jesus Christ by name dozens of times in his letters. Why would you say Paul never mentioned Jesus when he plainly did? Where did Paul contradict Jesus directly on more than one occasion? Paul became a believer based on Jesus calling him to belief and received directions from Christ about what he would do for Christ in preaching the Gospel of Christ.

      You wrote – “You say that you don’t assume the prophecies are true, and you claim to have verified the evidence. What evidence?”

      You have read the Bible along with many apologetics books, so you know which prophecies and what evidence.

      You wrote – We have Jewish prophecies that have been coopted by Christians, one of the more notorious is the mistranslation of young woman into “virgin”.

      Please explain why you see παρθένο as a mistranslation of עַלְמָה.

      You wrote – “We also have John inventing a spear wound to try to make his myth more like the Jewish myth that the messiah would be pierced, something no one else mentions. Now, one could say that the prophecy was fulfilled because JC was pierced because John said so, or one can say “John had the first story and a need to validate his beliefs by refering to Jewish myths. The piercing never happened, and the prophecy was said to have been fulfilled but it never was.”

      What evidence do you have that John invented the spear wound? How do you know that the piercing never happened? How do you use the term “myth” when referring to ancient writings?

      You wrote – “Another claim of a prophecy being fulfilled is the flight into Egypt, but some of the gospels never mention this. It appears to have been added to again appeal to another myth to validate this one.”

      What evidence do you have that the flight into Egypt was “added to again appeal to another myth”? Why would you think that something mentioned in one Gospel account and not in others would be a problem with its authenticity? Do you expect every Gospel account to be identical in information? If so, why and wouldn’t you be suspicious of identical accounts?

      You wrote – “Prophecies can be mangled because they are so vague many things can be claimed as the right “translation”.

      What Messianic prophecies do you believe are so vague that they are mangled? Do you find any of the prophecies clear enough to be understood when they occur?

      You wrote – “We also have completely failed predictions/claims by JC himself, that he would return with the kingdom of god before the people watching him would die. The second coming apparently was added to excuse that.”

      Why do you think that the prophecy of Christ concerning His return was a failed prediction? Why do you think the “second coming” was something added to excuse “failed predictions”?

      You wrote – I’ve seen the claims of evidence for the unique occurences important to the religion. They are little different from the claims of evidence for other religions. If one can only point to stories, and have no physical artifacts, no notice of such events by contemporary sources, etc, then they fail the test for historical events.”

      What other religions have claims similar to Christianity? How is their evidence similar to Christianity? Keeping in mind what we know about the history of the region of Judea from the 1st century, what physical artifacts do you expect Christians to have that we don’t have? What events from contemporary sources would you expect to find in their “notices”? How do you think the evidence for Christian claims compares with the evidence for other public or religious claims of the same time period and region?

      You wrote – “I know that there are thousands of websites and apologetic books out there. I’ve read a good deal of them. I’m asking *you* for what evidence you consider valid because I know not all Christians accept all claims of evidence.”

      I have written hundreds of posts on this blog and the GraceLife Blog that detail what evidence I consider valid. Please read through the posts and let me know what questions you have.

      You wrote – “I would also ask you why you would not consider similar claims of evidence valid for other religions.”

      I have considered the evidence other religions present. I wrote a book about that entitled “A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality” – http://fifthestatepub.com/2007/immortal/ – and invite you to read it for more information about the evidence I found for other religions.

      You wrote – “I know what you wrote when it comes to whom is a Christian. This is what I find to be the important sentence in your statement “The only people who are Christians are those who have confessed the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. They are “saved,” which is to say they are true Christians.” You’ve defined Christians the way you want to, to exclude anyone who disagrees with you. Christians disagree on what their bible means, so you may indeed think that they are wrong and not Christian, but again, they think the same of you, and none of you have a lock on the title. The sentence “People who believe the Bible is correct and are careful in their study of it should come to many similar conclusions – the most important being how someone becomes a Christian.” is what all Christians claim, that only *they* are careful in their study, and only *their* conclusions are correct. I get told a similar thing when I say I’ve read the bible and understand it. Many, if not all, Christians claim that I haven’t read the bible correctly since I didn’t come to their personal conclusions. I can’t possibly be right unless I agree with them. Do you see the problem here with believing any Christian? There is no way to tell which of you are correct. And when you claim you haven’t said that Christians who don’t believe what you do aren’t Christians, I have cause to not believe that.”

      I do believe you can know which person is correct based on following the process someone uses for determining what is true and not true. I have not “defined Christians” the way I want to. The Bible defines Christians and Christianity. I follow the Bible’s definition.

      You wrote – “You may not choose to accept that your religion has things in common with others. I can understand that since all religions want to be the only one, with believers who known the truth to the universe. There are indeed different ideas within the religions, but in the big picture, you all make unsupported claims, that you wish others to not question, but you will not accept such claims from others using the methods you use. This is where I find quite a pile of hypocrisy.”

      I don’t agree that Christianity makes unsupported claims. I welcome people to test the claims of Christianity. One of the great things about Christianity is that it is testable. Religions that have beliefs that can be tested should be tested. Religions that have beliefs that can’t be tested should be viewed with caution. Is atheism a belief/worldview that can be tested? If so, how do you test it? Is it falsifiable?

      You wrote – “You are right that JC was a jew, which is not in itself a verification of old testament prophecies. If this were true, then Jews would agree with you; they do not. The messiah was to impress the worldly leaders when he was around, and he did not. I am not aware of a prophecy that says that keeping the OT laws is a thing to note about the messiah, other than he was to be Jewish and he would keep the laws by definition.”

      How is the Messiah being a Jew not in line with Messianic prophecies? Could Messiah be a Gentile? Could Messiah be disobedient to the Law and be favored by God? Why would you think that Messiah would impress worldly leaders rather than challenge and defeat them? What did you read about Messiah in Isaiah? Many Jews have believed that Jesus is their Messiah after reading Isaiah and other prophetic writings.

      You wrote – JC said to keep his father’s laws, with no exceptions. The author of Acts and Paul contradict this. And a very large number of christians want nothing to do with the OT laws, at most only wanting to pretend the first ten count.”

      Please send the references to what Jesus said and where Acts and Paul contradict Him so I can look at the text and context. The Law leads us to an understanding of our inability to meet God’s standards (the Law). Jesus met those standards for us.

      “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a [h]propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

      You wrote – “There is nothing in JC’s words that say that Jew and Gentile were to be brought together, though some Christians wish to interpret certain verses that way, much as they try with jewish prophecies. In that JC wasn’t keen on even being nice to Samaritans supports my conclusions. You may be convinced but that doesn’t mean it is true either.”

      Jesus came to offer the Kingdom of Heaven to Jews and they rejected Him. They killed Him. Jesus rose from the dead and explained to His disciples how the Old Testament spoke about Him. He told His disciples to take makes disciples in every nation. He later called Saul of Tarsus and told him to take the Gospel to Gentiles, their kings and Jews. Paul (Saul) learned about God’s mysteries through a series of visions and explained what he was doing with Peter, James, John and other Jewish disciples. They gave their approval to Paul’s special mission to Gentiles. The Holy Spirit later called Paul and Barnabas (a close friend of the apostles in Jerusalem) to embark on a mission to the Gentiles. Paul continued to do that until the end of his life. Jesus’ intention was to reach Jews and Gentiles. How He presented the process is what we see in the Gospels, Acts and the letters of Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude.

      About the Samaritans .. Jesus was very kind to them, especially in light of how 1st century Jews viewed Samaritans. Read the story again. It does not support your conclusions.

      Thanks! Mark

    14. this is very long. if there is anything yuo want to focus on, let me know. hopefully, it will fit

      Going back to one’s intial religion is pretty typical. I’ve known people who were Christian, then became one of a variety of neo-pagan religions and then when back to Christianity. It always seemed to happen when they were getting middle aged and wanted a foot inside those pearly gates. I remember reading Siddhartha in 7th or 8th grade. Quite an eye opener for a barely teenaged Presbyterian. After investigating a variety of religions, I became an atheist in my late twenties/early thirties.

      I’m glad you don’t think someone is mocking a religion by telling them that they are wrong. A lot of Christians I have discussed things with have made false claims that I was mocking their religion as an excuse to end the discussion, when they couldn’t defend their position. That gets very frustrating, and it doesn’t reflect very well on them.

      I’m using the term knowledge in this sense: “the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind “ and “the fact or condition of being aware of something”. I can also say I have facts that show that your god doesn’t exist. The god of the bible, and the acts attributed to it cannot be shown to exist or have happened. However, other events and their cause can be for the same periods of time. Religion falls out side the realm of knowledge and exists in the realm of belief/opinion. Now, I know you’ll disagree with that. Another common theist claim is that religion is a “different way of knowing”, but since they all claim this and have no facts to back their claims up, there is reason to doubt that they have any knowledge; they have a lot of conjecture. A theist will claim that they know their god exists, just like the next one.

      You say that you think Muslims have evidence for their beliefs but that evidence doesn’t convince you. What would some of that evidence be? I know a fair amount of the evidence that Muslims claim and it is little different from the evidence you claim; the universe was created by their god, Mohammed met with an angel and rode a magical steed, there is supernatural stone in a box, the qu’ran couldn’t have been written by a human, etc. We again have claims, but nothing to support them. Again, this is why I say there is no evidence since what we have are only claims, not evidence.

      I am saying that I have seen no evidence for your god existing or the events claimed in the bible happening. I have seen evidence for entirely different things happening during the same time periods claimed by Judeo/Christo/Islamic believers (times they cannot agree on). I know that there are claims, but again claims are not evidence. The usual Christian response to this is that “you can’t know everything so you can’t know that my god doesn’t exist”. That might work if your religion wasn’t so specific. I might not know one way or the other that there is some vague worm on Ceti Alpha 6, but I can know that the noah flood didn’t happen, and that at any time claimed for this flood, there were civilizations that didn’t notice 28,000+ feet of water over them.

      I’m curious on what evidence you think there is and why you think is it better than that claimed for other religions. I know that there are many books, websites, etc claiming various things. What I want to know is your favorites. How about the top 5? The top 1?

      As for Exodus, there is no evidence. We have the claim in the bible of 600,000 men, plus women, children and animals. No records of 600,000 men plus women, children and animals traveling for 40 years in an area the size of half of Pennsylvania. No latrines, no piles of quail bones. No encampments where animal dung would be found and the earth disturbed. No closed chasm that contains hundreds of dead Israelites when this god killed them. I did a calculation of how many quails the bible claims were sent by this god and how much poop this number of animals and people would make and it’s completely ridiculous. One could claim that this god cleaned up after them but that’s a “last Tuesday” argument. And considering that this god doesn’t want to step in poo, I rather doubt it would play janitor. Archaeologists have been searching for decades for evidence of this and even rabbis admit https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/kadesh-barnea-gaza-the-exodus/ that the story is nonsense, a nation building myth. If the bible is accurate, they should be able to find evidence; it gives enough clues. They haven’t.

      I have had Christians insist that the exodus happened but the bible is wrong. It was only a couple of hundred people, and well, you could miss that many. So we’re left with either the bible being wrong, and how do you tell which parts, or the bible story being what the author meant but reality showing it to be completely untrue.
      The quality and quantity of claims for every religion appears to be very much the same to me. However, I await your reply on what you think is good evidence for your religion being true. As for the evidence that got atheists or theists to convert to a religion or another religion, they believe that there is a god, they believe that a god could become a man, or some variant of god/man, they stop believing that the trinity is true, etc, and most of this is just reading more stories in a holy book that they find they like better than the one they had before. Some stories: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/i-used-to-be-a-christian-but-converted-to-islam/39001.htm https://religionnews.com/2017/09/18/nabeel-qureshi-who-shared-conversion-from-islam-to-christianity-dies-at-34/
      There’s a reason that most atheists tell you that it is no surprise that you just returned to what you accepted before; it happens very often, and it’s rare that someone who was a Christian, loses their faith and then gets faith in another religion that they were sure was wrong before. As you say, you rebelled against the hypocrisy and stupidity of Christians, not necessarily of the religion itself. Atheists often get told by Christians not to judge Christianity by the actions of its believers, and, at least for me, this why I don’t find it at all strange that you returned to your religion. .

      That’s a good definition for evidence. So, now we need to find facts and information indicating whether Christianity is true or valid. You’ll note that the definition doesn’t say anything about personal interpretation. You are correct in a legal matter multiple sides present what they claim as evidence to support their position and then people have to decide why or why not the evidence presented supports the claim made. They do this with as much rationality as possible, not with what they feel, which makes comparing religious belief and a legal case fraught with problems (see the conversion stories above). A juror or judge that said that they and only they have the right answer because some supernatural being told them so wouldn’t last long.

      The bible is a historical document only to the extent it documents the beliefs of the followers of a religion, Judaism as it morphed into Christianity and then into Paulianity. The essential events of the bible have nothing to support that they happened, which makes it as historical as a Spider-man comic book, which also mentions real people and places. The stories in the bible are the claims, not the evidence, just as the stories in the Qu’ran are the claims, not the evidence. The qu’ran tells of a magical 800 mile journey. There is nothing to show that this happened. The myths of ancient Greece claim that Poseidon and Athena contested to have the honor of naming the city we know call Athens. By your position, this is evidence that cannot be denied that Poseidon and Athena are true gods and exist. Do you agree that Poseidon and Athena are as real as your god? I’m going to suspect not. In a similar vein, to refer to the judge/jury concept. The story “Vel murdered Neil Armstrong at 2 AM in the morning on the moon.” Is a claim, not the evidence that I indeed did murder the astronaut.

      That’s why the bible is not evidence that your god and your supernatural beliefs are true.

      There is no scientific evidence that a world-wide mountain deep flood that lasted for months happened. There are lies made by apologists that ignore the processes of the world, e.g. physics and chemistry. These often consist of silly things like claiming that the fossilized sealife at the top of the Himalayans is evidence that the water was that deep. They intentionally remain ignorant on the facts of plate tectonics, that the Indian sub-continent is in the process of colliding with the continent of Asia and has closed a sea between it and Asia, pushing up the sediments into the Himalayas and is continuing to do so, with the Himalayas rising every year. What’s more, apologists don’t agree on the supposed “evidence” they have, contradicting each other with one after the other of baseless hypotheses. Which apologist should I believe when even Christians don’t believe them? Again, Mark, it seems you are loath to admit what evidence *you* find important, and I still wonder why.

      Yep, many ancient cultures believed that the universe was eternal. And it may be, since the “big bang” may not be singular event. Many Christians attempt to remain ignorant of how science has progressed so their beliefs are unchallenged, and then get caught when they argue against theories that have changed or been disproven. Their apologetic dogma gets lost in the dust. It was hard for me to acknowledge that Christian apologists lie to Christians.

      In any case, with the BBT, we have evidence that it happened, e.g. background radiation, the movement of the stars and galaxies, etc, and that evidence was found using the same principles that allow your computer, radio and GPS to work. It is hypocrisy to accept the comforts science gives and then falsely claim it is wrong when the answers it gives don’t agree with your religious opinions.

      The words of Genesis are a myth, the universe existing, the “formless void” a space that this god was in, so the universe didn’t have a beginning, even in the bible. God had to be somewhere. WE also have the problem that many books make accurate prediction, by nothing more than luck or human observation. The chinese had that the universe came from a giant egg, which can be just as valid as your god creating the universe as being the beginning of the universe. Why not believe them, especially knowing that they invented a heck of a lot more things and influenced cultures for thousands of years. The evidence shows that the Israelites did nothing, no inventions, no great civilization at all. A broken clock is technically right twice a day, and the bible’s stories are so wrong again and again with claims of hail stored in warehouses, that pigeon blood can cure leprosy, that goats can have their color changed by showing them sticks, etc.

      I find it curious that you cite a “christian scientist” but you don’t give his name, and you claim he researched the geology of the earth. Creationists have a lot of scientists they trot out to make pronouncements like this, and funny how their claims are never published in peer-reviewed journals about geology or whatever subject that they are making claims about. Creationists keep claiming that they’ll publish real soon now, but it’s been decades since they started that claim and still nothing. Would you trust a doctor who made such claims and failed to ever be willing to put his claims to the test? Since you did not mention what evidence these scientists presented, I have no idea what you are talking about and cannot render my opinion until you do. Pick one piece of evidence and I’ll be happy to tell you what I thought when I read it.

      I’ll throw out the worst claim I’ve read; that the magic flood could have created the layers found in the geologic column. Physics doesn’t work that way and creationists lie. A flood caused like the bible claims, “on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” would make a mass of mixed debris and water, both fresh and salt. This would settle according to gravity and hydraulic sorting, and only a part of it would have time to settle in the supposed 150 -371 days that the flood supposedly lasted (apologists can’t agree). However, let’s assume that for some reason the debris and sediment drop out strangely fast. Then we have one massive layer that is sorted by shape and weight, the heaviest at the bottom, the lightest at the top and similarly shaped things together thanks to how fluid works on them. So, by this, modern humans and dinosaurs in the 2 meter range should be found together with euryterids, and guinea pigs should be found with phacops rana, the trilobite that is found here in PA. We should find worked word and tools mixed in. However, that never happens in fossils beds. They all are found where they should be found in the timeline of earliest to most recent.

      There is also the problem that mud doesn’t fold. Here in the Appalachian Mountains, the rocks are folded in all sorts of crazy ways. Mud doesn’t do that, but rock under heat and pressure does. I ask you to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5ElhX38w3Q Do the experiment yourself. Now, do you feel you must invoke magic to have it happen? If so, then all you have is what amounts to “last thursdayism”, which is the claim that we may only think we existed last Thursday since magic can always be invoked. It doesn’t make much sense.

      As for “many atheists have been convinced by this evidence”, there is no evidence of that either, but it is a common claim by Christians to try to make believe that people do agree with their baseless claims. Being an atheist doesn’t automatically make one rational. Some atheists can also be misogynistic ignorant twits, so I don’t hold to atheists opinions as evidence.

      It seems you cannot believe that I do not agree with you. I know it may be hard for a Christian to accept, but not all people find that you have the truth or evidence for your claims. However, consider that there are many apologists for other religions and holy books and you don’t believe them either or that their claims of evidence are true. I’ll ask you again, what evidence do you consider valid for the cruxifiction, the exodus, etc? Again, who are these atheists you insist are convinced? Which atheists say that there was an exodus as described in the bible? Which atheists agree that a man was cruxified on a certain day where there was a major earthquake, the sky doing dark in the afternoon, and the dead walking the streets of Jerusalem? As it stands, all it appears you are doing is making empty claims to try to make me believe that I am an outlier. Please provide evidence of your claims.

      As for what evidence I have that entirely different things happened, well, no one invaded the kingdom of Egypt when they supposedly lost their entire army, food supply and a large percentage of their population. No one can show when this exodus supposedly happened but in all of the various disagreeing claims by theists, there is no evidence of a massive decline in Egypt. We also have no record of a massive earthquake in the eastern Med for any of these times, including any earthquake faults, and no one noticed the sky going dark on the same day (the common claim of an eclipse fails dramatically since eclipses can’t happen on full moon which the Passover always falls on and no eclipses happen on the various claimed dates). No one in Jerusalem noticed the dead patriarchs wandering around, and can you just imagine what a scene that would have caused with the Jews? The Romans were already nervous about a Jewish uprising their holy days, and you think that Abraham et all wandering around wouldn’t have started this? But they recorded nothing, just the regular business of a Roman occupied city for any of the claimed dates.

      I believe, at this date, and after thousands of years of Christians and Jews despertely trying to find evidence to support their beliefs, it does mean that there is no evidence for the claims of the bible. People have been looking for artifacts to convince themselves since the Byzantines, and have nothing but what people sold them, and of course they won’t allow these supposed relics to be examined. The Shroud of Turin was examined and found to be at best questionable and at worst a complete fraud, since it doesn’t follow what we do know about 1 century burial rites, and what a Jewish man would look like. There are no sites discovered where at least 600,000 men plus women, children and animals were encamped despite knowing the supposed route. Not one latrine. Now, again, what do you find to be this valid evidence you claim exists? Pick one and tell me why. That you consistently refuse to do this makes me wonder if you think you’ll be caught by not picking the “right” one. Mere Christianity by Lewis was in print in 1971. McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict was published in 1972. They both make rather silly claims, but let me look at McDowell’s big one: there are books that mention Christians so that means that Christianity is true. Well, if that was a valid answer, then the presence of any believer of any religion means that religion is just as valid as Christianity.

      Often, I have found Christian apologists are writing for the choir, because they don’t think through their arguments. They need someone who will accept their claims without thought. Your claims are the same. You claim one thing but don’t think it through on how it can be applied to other religions, and I think this is because you have the prespposition that only you can possibly be right and have remained ignorant of the arguments against such claims. How many books showing religious claims to be wrong have you read?

      I’ve had about 25 years talking with theists and atheists and yep, most of the responses are the same. Creationists still are claiming to have evidence for their various versions of creation “real soon now”, and still haven’t. Christians claim that real soon now archaeologists will find evidence for the essential events of the bible. And it hasn’t happened. Now, you need to show that what you call atheists excuses are indeed that. Can you? I can show that the theists claims fail.

      Every Christian says that they base what they believe about Christianity from Jesus Christ and his apostles. Every Christian insist that they must be in the Book of Life and all Christiansn say that they know what JC said to know who are truly Christians and who are not. Every Christian claims that if their version isn’t followed, that people will be damned. Do you think Jehovah’s Witnesses will be in the Book of Life? Mormons? Catholics? Liberal Christians who have no problem with homosexuals and ignoring the parts of the bible that say those people deserve death and should be murdered? Christians don’t agree on what JC said or meant, so by saying “However, if someone who says they are a Christian doesn’t agree with what Jesus and His apostles said about the gift of eternal life, then there is a question about whether they have received the gift of eternal life. Only God can give that gift, so final judgment belongs to Him. However, Jesus and his apostles gave Christians some insights into how to tell if someone is a true Christian or not.” You do seem to be saying you know and that others do not. Unfortunately, to me, when a Christian says that it’s not their decision but their god’s reminds me of “it isn’t my fault what I believe, I was only following orders.”. This, again, is why I have no reason to believe any of you. I like the more liberal versions of Christianity, but they can’t be shown to be any more true than the Christianity that people like Westboro Baptist have invented. You are correct that there have been differences since year 1, so why should I think that any of you have the right answer? Why would a god that wants the truth known, not do anything about this? And if you say free will, you need to explain how free will works with a god that supposedly interferes constantly with “miracles”.

      You mention this “That, by the way, comes as no surprise. Jesus and the apostles warned about people claiming to be followers of Christ who would disrupt churches and lead people away to follow them.” Now consider this, Paul did exactly this, disagreeing with Jesus and the apostles. Paul insisted that his followers ignore the other Christians and tried to curse those other Christians. They, I’m sure, said the same thing about them. This is no prophecy but human nature observed and warned about. It’s like the claims of prophecy about “wars and rumors of wars”. When hasn’t humanity had those? Easy prophecy if you simply pay attention to humanity, no god needed. And no reason to believe claims of risen saviors or eternal life. Yep, Paul was entirely correct, if you can’t believe in one claim, then the rest falls apart, and since there is no evidence for that claim, then there is no reason to believe.

      As for the New Testament being “quite plain in presenting” both the resurrection and deity, that is untrue. We have differing claims by JC on exactly how is related to deity, the Gospel of John is pretty insistent that Jesus is god and the rest, not so much. This was the reason for much of the fractiousness of the various councils. Most scholars, both Christian and not, are sure that all of the letters claimed to be by Paul are not, so your belief that they are is in opposition to current research. This also underlines the fact that Christians do not agree on some major things. It seems that you did not read the versions of Paul’s story as I had asked. If you had you would have seen the differences. That is unfortunate. Paul makes contradictory claims. I am curious if you thought your denial would make them go away. Did Paul’s companions hear a voice or not? Did the people with Paul see a bright light or nothing at all? Who fell to the ground? It can’t be both that people saw/heard something and then they didn’t, that paul only fell and that everyone fell. Those facts are indeed contradictory e.g. Vel murdered Neil Armstrong vs. Vel didn’t murder Neil Armstrong or No one was allowed to touch Jesus in the garden vs. Mary touched Jesus in the garden. The story changes like a fish story, things get more dramatic and makes Paul more important. And now you have to explain why would someone change story, if your argument is to hold water. We can also go to the problem that Paul claims that JC was born of the seed of David, when wasn’t he magically put in place by this god? It seems that Paul doesn’t buy that virgin birth thing.

      It’s not too surprising that you ignore the point that JC says not to spread his gospels to anyone else but the Jews. Oh well. Yep, we do have what is said in Acts and what Peter claimed, and I agree with you. We have two people who need to spread their beliefs elsewhere.

      Where does Paul mention Jesus and his life, Mark? The parables? We get the resurrection and that’s it. Yes, he mentions Jesus Christ by name, and I mispoke. Paul doesn’t mention anything about what Jesus taught and in various cases, contradicts it as pointed out by other Christians (I’ll let you take their word for it: https://www.jesuswordsonly.com/books/175-pauls-contradictions-of-jesus.html, http://www.voiceofjesus.org/paulvsjesus.html ). As I pointed out earlier, Paul believes JC born of the seed of David. If there was a magical conception, Paul would know, yes? Why does Paul say my gospel rather than JC’s gospel? Why does Paul claim to be the leader when JC said there were to be no leaders? I have read a lot of apologetics about this and again, there are various explanations why this is an issue and how to get around it. Why isn’t there “As Jesus Christ, our savior, said, ……”?

      I have read the apologetics and again there is no evidene that prophecies have come true. Which ones do you think have and why? As for the mistranslation of young woman for virgin, which has led the the Christian myth of a virgin birth, the speakers of that language translated it not as “virgin” but as young woman. Well, because the people who speak Hebrew and know the langage say it is wrong. I’ll let Rabbi Singer explain: https://outreachjudaism.org/alma-virgin/ and cite the passage that Matthew screwed up here: ““Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which actually reads in Isaiah “14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” – NSRV And weirdly enough, Jesus was not named Immanuel at all. The Jews did not need a magically born messiah; but this was a common idea in other religions and appears to be sucked into Christianity.

      The evidence I have that the author of the Gospel of John invented the spear hit is that the other gospels writers don’t mention it at all, not even the author of Matthew with his need to refer, badly, to the OT. The gospel writers find they need to validate their story with references to the OT, but do it ineptly. We also have them ignoring the inconvenient parts like how this messiah is supposed to get world acclaim while he is alive. JC didn’t and well, funny how that prophecy doesn’t make it into the gospels. Myth – a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon:creation myths” merriam-webster.

      The flight into egypt is the same, it isn’t noted by the others, when they cite other attempts to validate their supposed messiah, and there is no evidence the flight ever took place, just like that ridiculous census story which did not occur either or the massacre of the innocents, etc. I know you will try to use the claim that authors pick and choose what to represent, which can be a valid point, but when this is supposed to be the inerrant word of god, there are problems with contradictions. The bible can’t even agree when JC was supposedly born, because December 25 sure ain’t it. I wouldn’t be suspicious of identical accounts at all *if* a god was involved. It was, wasn’t it? Christians often try to have their cake and eat it too with the attempts to excuse the screw ups in the gospels. They want to insist how well they agree, but when it is shown that they do not and directly contradict each other, they try to claim that identical accounts should be “suspicious”. Which is it, because you can’t claim both?

      Hmmm, what messianic prophecies are so vague that they mangled? Oh, let’s see, how about the one about piercing? We have the words in Zecharia 12, which has “me” being pierced, in context, this “me” is God, and then it refers to a “him”, which is different from this god, and the verse is misquoted by the author of the gospel of John.

      And nope, no prophecies claimed by Christians have any dates, any unique events cited to happen, to be able to say that they must happen by a certain time. We get to see the failure of many many Christians who claim that they know the certain time e.g. Harold Camping. Paul thought he knew and was wrong too. And the reason I think that JC’s prophecy of his return during the lives of his followers is because he didn’t. When your supposed messiah fails to come back, then what do you do? You make up that he “really” meant he would be back at some indeterminate time or you’ll lose your followers.

      Islam claims magical events and has no evidence. Hinduism claims magical events and has no evidence. Wicca claims magical events and has no evidence. Shall I go on? As for artifacts? Oh, let’s see. Knowing where your supposed messiah resurrected from is one. Christians don’t agree which tomb is the “right” one. That’s quite an artifact to misplace, rather like the ark of the covenant and the supposed holy grail. And then we have all of the artifacts that Christianity requires since it claims the myths of the Jews also are true. Now, if Christian claims of how important JC was are true, then why nothing? That is also another problem many Christians have, they want to claim that JC was so famous thousands of people would flock to him but when it is pointed out that there is no evidence of this at all, then they want to claim that there was no reason for people to know about Jesus. Again, you can’t have it both ways. WE should have records of thousands of men, plus others, gathering just outside of a Roman occupied city, a roman legion’s worth. Not a peep about this. We should have a earthquake fault dateable to the cruxifixtion, but Christians can’t agree on when that was. We should have people remarking on the sky getting dark when it was not expected (humans could predict eclipses at that time). We definitely should have the Jews recording that their patriarchs shows up after being dead. We shouild also have so many references to Jesus being around so much after he is dead that as the bible says, all of the books couldn’t contain the accounts. That claims fails too.

      The other religions have no artifacts either. No surprise there.

      I don’t have the time to read your entire blog, Mark, and unfortunately you don’t have a search function on your website and seem unwilling to show me these posts. I’m going to assume you believe the following: that since Christians are mentioned in texts, then this proves that your god exists, that since the universe exists, this means your god exists, that since humans survive on this planet, this means your god exists; that since a Christian claimed that he saw chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea, this means your god exist, and that since someone said that they saw Noah’s ark on some mountain, this means your god exists. You may also believe that since you can imagine a god, that means he must exist, and that since you think thinks look designed, that this proves your god exist. You think, as WLC does, that if there tomb, it has to be empty (problem is that the tomb is debated) and magic is the reasson. You think as Habermas does, that 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 is a confirmed fact, and that since paul claimed to have seen Jesus, that means he must have, and these unconfirmed claims are to be used as “evidence” to support the other unconfirmed claims e.g.. the bible says that the story that it tells is true, so it must be true. You can let me know if I’m correct.

      Sorry, not paying $33 for your book. I do agree that humans are afraid to die and they do a lot to avoid it, including convincing themselves that they are the special friends of a omnipotent being and that this being has a special place for them after they die. Variants of heaven are universal with religion. Chrisitanity with its gold and gem festooned city of heaven on earth reflects a human’s interests, not a god that supposedly said not to be worried about wealth in the NT. IT’s all about wealth in the OT, demanding tons of gold, silver, dyed skins in the most expensive colors, etc. Why would a god be so interested in the metals etc it created and ostensibly could create an infinite amount of?

      You claim that you have used the correct processes to know what is true and not true. Again, every Christian claims that, and Christians can’t agree. You have defined Christian, since the bible has various definitions on what a Christian is. It does not have one single definition. Does one just need to accept JC as savior as GoM says? Do you need to accept he is god as GoJ says? Do you need to accept he died and resurrected? Do you need to be sola fide, that only faith will save you? Or sola gratia where only this god’s whim saves you or do works save you as JC says when he points to the goats and sheep? Christians define Christianity by what they declare to be true in the bible, and they differ in that. You follow what you want the bible to say, just as every other Christian does.

      I know you don’t agree that Christianity makes unsupported claims. That does’t change the fact that it does. I have tested the claims of Christianity, and they fail. For example, the bible says that believers in Christ will be able to do better miracles than he did, that they will be immune to poisons, will be able to heal the sick, will speak in various languages, and will be able to pick up poisonous reptiles without harm. In that no Christian can do this, none of you have cleared a pediatric cancer ward, or a veterans’ hospital, we have a problem. Either your bible is lying or none of you are Christians per your own bible. The bible says that prayers will be answered quickly (the mountain moves), positively (a father would not give a child a snake if asked for a fish), and there are no exceptions. When I was a Christian I prayed for hostages to be rescued, for people to be healed (a young mother in my church died from cancer and left her family behind), for my own faith to be strengthened. All of those prayers failed. What answer will you give when you say your religion can be tested?

      My atheism can be tested. There is no evidence of a god in the world. With one miracle, one this god knows would satisfy me because it is omnipotent, my atheism would be gone. The promises of religions fail. When tested, they fail. There may be a god, but it is not the god claimed by humans. Show me, that you, as a Christian, can do what the bible says you can do.

      The Jews wanted a messiah so of course they would laim it would be a jew. Really, Mark? Now it would be great if they had said, our messiah will come from outside of us and know our ways and lead us. This is, if you aren’t familiar with it, the story line of the first Dune book. Why would I think that the jewish messiah would impress wordly leaders? The bible says so, and if you want to claim it is prophecy, you are stuck with it. The jewish messianic prophecies said that Elijah would come before the messiah. John the Baptist said he wasn’t Elijah, but Christ said he was. Which to believe? As for Isaiah and the messiah, many Christians claim that JC is the “suffering servant”. They cherry pick it, usually Isaiah 53 but they forget that the whole thing starts on Isaiah 52 “See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.14 Just as there were many who were astonished at him —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals—15 so he shall startle] many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see,
      and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.” Do you agree with some Christians who claim that this is prophecy about JC? Some Jews believed that JC was the messiah, and most did not. If you want to claim “many”, please support this.

      There is nothing that JC said that says he “met those standards” for people. JC says that everyone should follow his father’s laws until earth and heaven pass away. In that both are still here, to try to claim otherwise is rather silly. I am not surprised that you avoided the point about Christians picking and choosing OT laws. It is only after Acts that the law is claimed to have no more effect, claims by the authors of Acts, etc. In that this god gave humans the law to follow and said nothing about that it thought they couldn’t and fully expected them to do so, this makes your god looks less than omniscient. Why would a god give laws that it knew were pointless? Why not just send down JC to take care of things right at Mt. Ararat? I knew you would cite Paul. However, who should I believe, Paul or Jesus? Or in reality, neither? Which do you believe in, Mark, what JC said or what Paul said, because they contradict each other, the law or that the law no longer applies? If I were still a Christian, I know who I’d choose.

      Again, nothing in the bible where JC said that Jews and Gentiles were to be brought together. He never said that. Some Jews accepted him, as you have admitted, so it is not all of the Jews killing JC, as you seek to claim. This is again where Christians get tripped up in their claims. Paul claimed to have been told things by Jesus that contradicted Jesus. And acts was written far later so we have a story that may, or may not, have been invented to again validate what is Paulianity, to give Peter’s approval whether that is true or not.

      Mark, your presupposition that version of
      Christianty is the only right one very much colors your claims. The bible tells stories, but what the characters said and did, and if that is true, is completely unknown. You have no idea what JC’s intention was, and his words contradict you, if they are his words at all. As for the Samaritans, JC said no one was to visit the Samaritans to spread his supposed “good news” in GoM. But in GoJ, the story changes, and these are very close in the timeline. Why do GoJ and GoM disagree on how the Samaritans are to be treated? JC called a Canaanite woman a dog. Is this kind? If this god is objectively moral, why is it playing human games with xenophobia? You are using a typical Christian excuse “read the story again”. I have and yet again, I don’t agree with you, and do not agree that your interpretation is the right one.

    15. Hi, Vel!

      You wrote “this is very long. if there is anything yuo want to focus on, let me know. hopefully, it will fit”

      You spent a lot of time, thought and energy in your response and I wonder why. Why as an atheist would you spend your time talking with a theist about what we believe and why we believe it? The atheist worldview is based on a mindless, purposeless, reasonless, irrational accident that is the universe and the things in it. You will die, disappear and be forgotten by people who will die, disappear and be forgotten. Your life has no meaning, purpose or reason beyond what you try to give it and what meaning you give it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters because nothing matters. So, why do you want to spend the little time you have as a meaningless thing in a purposeless universe arguing with theists about the non-existence of a thing that doesn’t matter? What does it matter if atheism is true? Once I know the answer to that question, I’ll be able to address our conversation at a deeper level. It would seem that words exchanged in a meaningless existence have no meaning beyond the time we talk about it. If you think words have meaning, let’s talk about what gives them meaning.

      I will be as detailed in my responses to your comments and questions as I can, but it may take several days to do so. I’ll send you something every two or three days so we can continue our conversation.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    16. Mark,

      Your recent response is a variant of the “if you don’t believe in it, why write about it” question that a lot of Christians use in their attempts to discuss things with atheists. It ends up sounding like an attempt by you to try to convince me not to show you that your religion has many problems. Happily for me, I won’t do such a thing.

      I find religion fascinating and I also find it harmful. This is why I spend time discussion religion with believers, I want to know why you believe what you do and what evidence you have for believing it. I also want to bring to your attention information that you may not have ever considered. Most religion depends on willful ignorance. I was a Christian for a long time before I finally came upon the facts that blew it out of the water. I could have remained in that cozy place, but reality doesn’t care for comfortable myths. Many Christians depend on their ignorance to keep their religion and their religion often causes harm. For instance, if you believe that a god will heal you of a malignant cancer, you’ll depend on that rather than modern medicine and die. If you believe your child will be healed, they’ll die. If you believe that this god will take care of the sick, the poor, it’s easy to think you can sit back and nothing. And it’s very easy to think that, if my god wrote down commandments, why they must be true and good, and act on such things, when things like murdering people who work on the sabbath is neither. Your beliefs affect my world so of course I’ll discuss them.

      You also try the common Christian claim that all atheists must be nihilsts, and mustn’t care about anything. And this also seems to be no more than an attempt to convince me I shouldn’t discuss your claims and point out that the emperor has no clothes. There is no atheist worldview other than there are no gods. We each have our own, and those range from bleeding heart liberal, to, yep, nihilism. Repeating lies told to you by other Christians doesn’t make them true. There is nothing mindless, purposeless, reasonless or accidental about my life or the universe. You may want to claim so in order to believe you have the only right answer, because if I’m happy and have a purpose, the myths you claim true have no use. Christians try to claim that the universe is an “accident” if that is a bad thing, and it isn’t accurate if the laws of physics are just as omnipresent as you try to claim your god to be. In my experience, a contented atheist is the thing that many theists fear most. We show that your beliefs aren’t required.

      I have plenty of time to discuss things important to me. I give things meaning. I don’t need a god. And I’m not afraid of dying and being forgotten. I’m not now and I’ll have done my thing to change the universe.

      I look forward to your posts.

    17. Hi, Vel.

      You wrote – “Your recent response is a variant of the “if you don’t believe in it, why write about it” question that a lot of Christians use in their attempts to discuss things with atheists. It ends up sounding like an attempt by you to try to convince me not to show you that your religion has many problems. Happily for me, I won’t do such a thing.”

      My question is not a variant to anything. I’ve been asking atheists that question for decades. It comes from my own experience as an atheist. I had no interest in talking to theists outside of my job as a talk show host. When they called my radio show I talked with them and challenged their belief. Why you talk with theists is your business. I asked the question to find out what your primary motivation is in contacting me. I generally find it helpful to get to primary reasons for a discussion rather than talking at a surface level.

      You wrote – “I find religion fascinating and I also find it harmful. This is why I spend time discussion religion with believers, I want to know why you believe what you do and what evidence you have for believing it. I also want to bring to your attention information that you may not have ever considered. Most religion depends on willful ignorance. I was a Christian for a long time before I finally came upon the facts that blew it out of the water. I could have remained in that cozy place, but reality doesn’t care for comfortable myths. Many Christians depend on their ignorance to keep their religion and their religion often causes harm. For instance, if you believe that a god will heal you of a malignant cancer, you’ll depend on that rather than modern medicine and die. If you believe your child will be healed, they’ll die. If you believe that this god will take care of the sick, the poor, it’s easy to think you can sit back and nothing. And it’s very easy to think that, if my god wrote down commandments, why they must be true and good, and act on such things, when things like murdering people who work on the sabbath is neither. Your beliefs affect my world so of course I’ll discuss them.”

      I used to think of Christians as willfully ignorant, so understand your point about that. Many Christians are ignorant about why they believe what they believe and many are willfully so. Many Christians believe things that are not supported by God’s Word and that can be harmful.

      Most atheists answer my question with something that’s based on how religious people affect “their world,” as you wrote. Many atheists tell me that they don’t care what Christians do in private, as long as they don’t say anything about their beliefs in public and don’t impact the world around them in any way. They don’t want Christians involved in the public arena – whether it’s political, legal, social or otherwise. As long as we keep our beliefs to ourselves and don’t do anything to affect the world the atheist lives in – they don’t care what we think or believe. However, the fact that Christians are citizens and have rights to be involved in the public arena, we will continue to cause a problem for atheists. Some atheists have told me that they’ll be glad when I’m dead and others like me are dead so they can make the world what they want it to be without interference from religion. Others have said they are calling on their legislators to end the rights of religious people so we can’t vote or have any voice in the public arena. Others are calling for legislation to make “religion” a mental illness so authorities can take us into custody and use drugs and incarceration to keep us out of the public arena. Some atheists have even told me they hope the Christian “rapture” is true so we’ll all disappear and atheists can do what they want in the world. As I said, I’ve been asking the question for decades and these are the types of answers atheists have given me for decades. I like to know what atheists really think about Christians so we can have an honest discussion that might actually go somewhere.

      You wrote – “You also try the common Christian claim that all atheists must be nihilsts, and mustn’t care about anything. And this also seems to be no more than an attempt to convince me I shouldn’t discuss your claims and point out that the emperor has no clothes. There is no atheist worldview other than there are no gods. We each have our own, and those range from bleeding heart liberal, to, yep, nihilism.”

      Your view of atheism may be different that mine was when I was an atheist. I call it “mid-century” atheism – what atheists believed in the middle of the 20th century. I learned atheism from atheists I knew personally, atheists I interviewed on my talk shows, and atheist authors. We all had similar views about atheism and determined to make the best of what we had before us. Each of us chose causes that were important to us. Some became involved in legal causes, some in social causes, some in political causes, etc. I liked investigative journalism for the cause of getting temporary justice for people. As an atheist I knew there would be no permanent justice because once we die we’re dead and there’s nothing to be justice after that, but helping find truth and temporary justice was something important to me.

      You wrote.- “Repeating lies told to you by other Christians doesn’t make them true. There is nothing mindless, purposeless, reasonless or accidental about my life or the universe.”

      I don’t “repeat” things Christians tell me. I do my own research and my own thinking. If I happen to find something to be true that other Christians have also found to be true and I write about them, that doesn’t mean I am repeating what other Christians tell me. Are you repeating what other atheists say or do you do your own research and thinking? My guess is that you do your own thinking. I agree that there is nothing mindless, purposeless, reasonless or accidental about your life or the universe. That’s because you and the universe were created by God who gives us and the world we live in pure reason and purpose. God is the Mind behind the universe. He created us for His purpose.

      You wrote – “I have plenty of time to discuss things important to me. I give things meaning. I don’t need a god. And I’m not afraid of dying and being forgotten. I’m not now and I’ll have done my thing to change the universe.”

      How will anything you do “change the universe”? I mean that as a serious question. I never thought of anything I did as an atheist as possibly “changing” the universe. I might impact people’s lives a bit and make a very tiny mark in my little world, but certainly nothing that would change the universe. I believed that the universe was based on random, unguided, mindless, meaningless accidental occurrences that had no purpose, no goal, no direction. The universe just was. Nothing I did or anyone did in life changed what was going to happen to the universe. It started with a bang and would end in a puff. That’s the way we viewed it mid-century.

      Mark

    18. Mark,

      Your question is nothing new to what Christians have tried. If you read any forum where believers and atheist discuss things, what you have said is often what comes up when the believer has nothing to support their claims. It comes down to “why are you daring asking me such question when I can’t answer them.”. You might like to join in the fray at the forum for Why Won’t God Heal Amputees http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php and see that atheists aren’t quite what you claim they are. You say you were a talk show host, and evidently an atheist one. Where and how was your show broadcast? I am not sure why you suspected my reason for contacting you, so I find it hard to believe you were only asking to find out my reasons for discussion. Those should be pretty obvious.

      I don’t just think many Christians are willfully ignorant, I know they are. Creationists are some of the best examples. When they try to attack something that is painfully obvious that they haven’t the slightest awareness of, it shows. It’s even worse when they try to attack Darwin and show that they’ve not looked at one bit of science that is newer than 200 years old. As for Christians believing in things that aren’t supported by God’s word, again, you show that you think that only your version is the correct one, and again, they say the same things about you. That’s what comes from the picking and choosing of the bible and its innate contradictions.

      Christians can be involved in the public arena but as soon as they try to force their ideas on others, that’s where freedom stops and theocracy starts. You again try to claim that all atheists agree and we do not, just like Christians. Some Christians will indeed cause problems for atheists, agnostics and Christians they don’t agree with and non-Christians because they try to claim that they have some truth and the right to take away the rights of others based on what is no more than opinion. And who are these atheists who have said these things that you claim “Some atheists have told me that they’ll be glad when I’m dead and others like me are dead so they can make the world what they want it to be without interference from religion. Others have said they are calling on their legislators to end the rights of religious people so we can’t vote or have any voice in the public arena. Others are calling for legislation to make “religion” a mental illness so authorities can take us into custody and use drugs and incarceration to keep us out of the public arena. Some atheists have even told me they hope the Christian “rapture” is true so we’ll all disappear and atheists can do what they want in the world.” You see, Mark, in that you have made false statements about atheists before, I have trouble believing that you’ve been told these things. You very well may have been, but these things sound more like what a conservative Christian would make believe an atheist would say, a strawman to attack. This is why I’m asking for you to be specific.

      I do agree that I would wish the rapture would occur if that’s what Christians want and it seems to be what a lot of them want. They insist that they do not want to live in this world or be yoked to someone who doesn’t agree with them. They can have their world and I’m happy with this one. They also want the violence in revelation to come so that anyone not agreeing with them will be murdered. Atheists hear these threats of this supposedly soon to come violence a lot, and televangelists are some of the best sources of these threats. Unfortunately, you can’t have the rapture without a lot of death and destruction per your bible.

      What do I really think about Christians? I was one and my parents still are, and so are quite a few relatives. Christians are no better than anyone else, and they are good and bad. Their religion is made to their image as is their god. The belief in something that is imaginary doesn’t help them, and it often harms them and those that they care for. And if one can accept genocide by a god just because it is powerful, then they have nothing more than might equals right to defend their moral stance.

      The definition of atheism doesn’t agree with you either. It has never been that atheists were all nihilsts, not even in the mid-twentieth century. Who are these atheist authors you claim support your view of atheism? Who were these atheists you interviewed on your talk shows? And you now seem to contradict yourself when earlier you claimed that all atheists are nihilists and now you claim that these atheists weren’t. Which is it, Mark? Unfortunately, on my end, it seems that you wanted to make a claim, I showed you that it was false, and now you have to backpedal. I’m wondering what you really think about atheists, since I see these conflicting views from you.

      And justice is justice, humans don’t need a god for that. Especially a god that can’t make up its mind if it punishes people for the sins of others or not, and a god that murders children for the actions of their parents.

      You do repeat things Christians tell you and what you have read. That’s not a bad thing, unless you repeat them without checking those things out. I repeat things I’ve been told; but only if I check them out and know them to be true. You repeat the same old claims about how mindless, etc atheists’ lives are. Now, if you had thought about it, that isn’t true in the least, but it sure does make Christianity sounds like it is needed. You made a claim, and then when you were called on it, then you admit it wasn’t true, and now you have to try to claim that your god is actually responsible. What nonsense, Mark. Christians can’t agree on what this supposed “purpose” you claim is, and they sure can’t agree what it wants from humans. There is no evidence that your god did anything at all. You have the same claims and same lack of evidence for your god as any other theist does. Now, per your bible, my purpose must be to be damned without any action on my part. Why would I worship a being that was so petty to damn people for no reason but its whim?

      My existence changes the universe just that tiny bit e.g. the butterfly effect. I’m not hung up on being important or thinking a god has some special purpose for me. What you thought as an atheist doesn’t mean anything to the next atheist. Again, your words make me really wonder if you were ever an atheist at all since you have some really odd ideas that atheists are the same and that they all have to think the same as what appears to be an “atheist” created by someone who had no idea what atheists actually are. If you believed, as an atheist, that “random, unguided, mindless, meaningless accidental occurrences that had no purpose, no goal, no direction” then you were ignorant. No problem in that if you learn otherwise.

    19. Hi, Vel. Your reply has devolved into name-calling and fanciful facts about what I’ve written or what I mean by what I’ve written. That’s what happens so often in my discussions with atheists. Sorry we couldn’t have a better discussion.

      I have not backpedaled on anything and I am not a liar. I am who I say I am and a little investigation on your part would have shown that. I invited you to read previous posts that answer most if not all of your questions, but you apparently didn’t do that because you continue to ask the same questions that I already answered. You can question my truthfulness as much as you want, but you haven’t done anything yet to demonstrate that what I’ve said is not true.

      I’ve spoken and written about my conversion from atheism to Christianity for 47 years. What I say today is the same thing I said in the beginning. Many of the people who heard my conversion story in the first several years after I became a Christian had listened to me on radio and knew who and what I had been. But then, if you had read some of my posts, you would already know that.

      You wrote – “The definition of atheism doesn’t agree with you either. It has never been that atheists were all nihilsts, not even in the mid-twentieth century. Who are these atheist authors you claim support your view of atheism? Who were these atheists you interviewed on your talk shows? And you now seem to contradict yourself when earlier you claimed that all atheists are nihilists and now you claim that these atheists weren’t. Which is it, Mark? Unfortunately, on my end, it seems that you wanted to make a claim, I showed you that it was false, and now you have to backpedal. I’m wondering what you really think about atheists, since I see these conflicting views from you.”

      You seem to be questioning the truthfulness of my personal story. No need to ask it that way -“Who are these atheist authors you claim support your view of atheism?” A better way to ask the question without impugning my character would be something like this – “Who are the atheist authors who impacted you as an atheist?” See the difference? Same question but without being confrontational.

      I read many atheist authors when I was an atheist including Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Bertrand Russell, David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche.

      In Sartre’s book “Nasuea,” he wrote – ““Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance. He also wrote – ““Man is a useless passion. It is meaningless that we live and it is meaningless that we die.” (Being and Nothingness)

      In “The Birth of Tragedy” Nietzsche wrote- “In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.”

      In “On Suicide” Hume wrote – “The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.”

      I don’t remember writing that all atheists are nihilists, but I did find this quote from an earlier reply to you – “I learned atheism from atheists I knew personally, atheists I interviewed on my talk shows, and atheist authors. We all had similar views about atheism and determined to make the best of what we had before us.” That’s not saying all atheists are nihilists. The atheists I knew and talked to would have agreed with Sartre, Nietzsche and others. We discussed their writings.

      The most famous atheist I interviewed on radio was Madalyn Murray O’Hair. I also interviewed Marxists and Communists who espoused atheist views. Though most of my callers were religious people, an atheist would call from time to time and we’d enjoy making fun of the Christians. Not proud of that, but it’s what I did.

      I hope we can get back on track, but I’ve read through your blog and wonder if we can at this time. Your views about Christianity are hardened, as were mine many years ago. I wasn’t open to talking with any Christian until I became open to a serious investigation that was as objective and unbiased as I could make it. That’s where my training and experience as an investigative journalist helped me. I didn’t want to believe that God existed, but I did my best to put that bias aside as I looked at the evidence. Maybe we can continue our conversation in the future. Let me know when.

      Mark

    20. It’s been intersting to read your articles, Mark. The one about Morris is interesting because he was a civil engineer, not a geologist, a paleontologist, and that he could argue against you doesn’t mean he could argue against anyone who actually knew their subject. Christian creationists don’t agree and interpret the evidence you claim exists so very differently? And why would a Christian, so certain he was right, resort to lying and misquoting in his books?

    21. Hi, Vel. Your recent replies seem to focus on your belief that I am liar and that Dr. Morris was a liar. You haven’t presented any evidence to support it, but that’s your claim. Do you see a way forward to have a different kind of conversation or is calling me a liar your default position at this point?

    22. In that you have claimed that atheists are nihilists, and then you claimed you had not, though you have been shown otherwise by me quoting you, I am not sure what else to call you other than a liar. Do you admit that you have called all atheists nihilist or not? I can forgive a lie but if it is your intent to keep on with false statements, then there is little point in continuing.

      As for Dr. Morris, his claims are no supported by the facts, and he was aware of this, but continued to make his claims, even when countered by other Christians. This is why I call him a liar. To spread misinformation has consequences, one of those to be called a liar. You can find the instances where he has intentionally misquoted people and has made baseless claims claims about evolutionary theory causing everything from racism to a “decline in morality”. He makes false claims such as “Scientific evidence for biological evolution is very weak, at best. In all recorded history, there is no example of real evolution having occurred. The tremendous complexity of even the simplest forms of life is seemingly impossible to explain by evolution. Yet they believe it anyway.” which is nothing more than willful ignorance, when we have transitional forms, and the very modern food stuffs you consume are evidence. You may wish to read a Christian’s view on his claims: http://www.oldearth.org/bookreview/sc/scientific_creationism_c1_origins.htm

    23. Hi, Vel.

      You wrote – ” … I am not sure what else to call you other than a liar.”
      You wrote – “As for Dr. Morris, his claims are no supported by the facts, and he was aware of this, but continued to make his claims, even when countered by other Christians. This is why I call him a liar.”

      I am disappointed in your response. Calling someone a liar does not engender trust and good conversation. I’m surprised that you would insult me on my blog when you wouldn’t stand for that on your blog:

      “This is my place, where my opinion reigns and where the bouncers will show you the door if you intend on being a jerk(defined as not participating in discussion, trying to make others do your work for you by only posting links rather than what you think is valid about the link, doing the equivalent of throwing sh** at a wall and hoping some of it sticks by posting links and having no idea what is on them, lying and making baseless insults when you have nothing else, among other things. I have no problem in banning people and ridiculing them for the idiots they are. I also have no problem in posting the email addresses and names of people to make them responsible for their comments.)” (The Boss’s Office – Club Schadenfreude)

      You certainly have the right to manage and moderate your own blog any way you want. I would appreciate it if you would afford me a similar courtesy. You may certainly ask me to clarify something I’ve said or even correct where you believe I’m wrong. I will be glad to do that for you.

      If you continue to call me or other Christians “liars,” then I’ll know you don’t want to have a civil discourse.

      So, to a point of clarification. I was an atheist during my teen years through early 20’s. I had talk shows in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida and was open about my atheism with callers. I interviewed many people on those shows including atheists, agnostics, Satanists and other people who did not identify as Christians. I remember Madalyn Murray O’Hair well because she was the founder of American Atheists and served as its president during the years I and others at our station interviewed her. We had her on our shows several times and callers would jam the phone lines to talk to her. That was one of the reasons I had guests on my show – so people would listen and call.

      I believed at the time that atheism fit in well with what is also known as nihilism. My atheist friends and the atheists I talked to on radio also viewed atheism as basically nihilistic. We rejected all religious and moral principles as having no foundation in fact. We saw no purpose or meaning to life other than to live however we chose for the purpose of personal enjoyment and fulfillment. Not every atheist and author would have agreed with that viewpoint, but it’s what I believed based on my understanding of atheism.

      In the years since becoming a Christian I have stayed in contact with atheists and learned how new generations view atheism a bit differently than I did. Research by Christopher Silver, Thomas Coleman, David Williamson, George Yancey and others has demonstrated that atheists have a variety of perspectives on atheism today. Based on their research I think I would have fit into their Anti-Theist category when I was an atheist. I continue to believe that when atheism is followed to its logical conclusion the outcome will be the same as what I believed years ago. I understand if you disagree.

      I knew nothing about Dr. Morris except that he was going to speak at a Tampa church about an expedition to Mt. Ararat to search for Noah’s Ark. He didn’t ‘convince’ me of anything, but that was the beginning of my looking at what theists called evidence for the existence of God. I learned about Dr. Morris’ book and other activities later. Dr. Morris’ writings span many decades and what I have seen in his writings demonstrated a desire to stay current with scientific investigation. As for his not being a geologist or paleontologist, many of the people who worked with him, along with other creationist and intelligent design research groups, have geologists and paleontologists on their teams.

      I am quite familiar with the many views Christians have about origins, age of the earth, etc., and do my best to stay current with scientific investigation. I personally believe that the first verse of the Bible is true. If you believe me to be a liar because of that belief, then it is probably best we discontinue the conversation at this time.

      You contacted me, so it’s your call at this point. If you want to have a civil conversation, I’m good with that. If you don’t, that is fine as well. Maybe we can converse again in the future.

      Mark

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